JUST SAYING…. By Andrew Chernoff December 12, 2015
Vancouver faces a 6-game road trip against some stiff competition, over the next two weeks before their next home game on Boxing Day, December 26 against the Edmonton Oilers.
The road trip starts against Chicago tomorrow night, ending on Tuesday, December 22 against Tampa Bay.
In between they play, Minnesota on December 15; Philadelphia on December 17; Detroit on December 18; Florida on December 20.
Vancouver has infused the line up with some youth this season with the likes of rookies Ben Hutton, Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, and Brandon Sutter but clearly the Canucks have been led by seasoned veterans like the Sedins, Ryan Miller, along with defensemen Alexander Edler, and Dan Hamhuis.
The Canucks though will be without Dan Hamhuis who is expected to be out at least two months after surgery Friday to repair a facial fracture, coach Willie Desjardins told the Canucks website on Friday.
Vancouver continues to be without young center Brandon Sutter who has been sorely missed since November 10, 2015 and recently had sports hernia surgery on December 2 and is not expected in the line-up again until the latter part of January at the earliest.
Sutter has already missed 14 games, and could miss as much as 15 more games before returning; Hamhuis could miss as much as 28 games.
Vancouver is also without Luca Sbisa (hand injury) and Jake Virtanen (conditioning assignment with Utica Comets).
Hamhuis and Sutter are pivotal to the Canucks success and their experience, intensity, skills and leadership are hard to replace especially when Vancouver has to make up for a less than acceptable 30 game record, and take their game up a notch or two, and start now to make a run for a playoff position.
If Vancouver continues to demonstrate their inability to win against some of the top teams in the league on this road trip, the Canucks could be in last place in the Pacific division, when they face Edmonton on Boxing Day.
One of the other consequences of a poor showing on the road trip will be their inability to fully be masters of their own destiny in getting a playoff spot at the end of the season. They may have to pray for divine intervention.
Canucks are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games since the end of the 7-game road trip in November.
First 10 games of the season, Vancouver was 4-2-4. Next 10: 3-5-2.
The Blackhawks began a 4-game homestand with a 2-0 shutout of Winnipeg on Friday, in which Patrick Kane picked up a point for the 25th straight game, matching the longest streak among active players, set by Sidney Crosby in 2010-11.
The Blackhawks have lost 3 of their first 6 games of December to Minnesota, Ottawa and Nashville and are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. Chicago has at least one power-play goal in seven of its past 10 games.
As coach Willie Desjardins pointed out in his post-game interview after the 4-0 loss to Boston, no team is going to feel sorry for Vancouver.
Vancouver has to adopt the adage of ‘One For All, And All For One’. Simply put, each teammate should act for the benefit of his team, and the team should act for the benefit of each teammate.
Other teams have been written off at Christmas in previous seasons: Calgary, Minnesota, Los Angeles, San Jose, Winnipeg, Ottawa.
You have to go in convinced at what you’re doing and you have to go hard. That’s the only way you’ll be successful in this league. So, mentally, we have to accept where we’re at and we have to be prepared to play hard. We know what we’re doing. The guys know the systems,they just have to have confidence that if we play hard we’ll get our opportunities. Willie Desjardins after the Dallas loss.
“It’s like playoff hockey for us, and we need to recognize that. Our urgency level has to be higher. I think the guys know that, so I would expect us to be battling. Saying that, I do believe in the character of this group, and I don’t believe there are many nights that they haven’t given everything they have.” Willie Desjardins, prior to the Canucks taking on Minnesota in the first game of their last road trip.
The above comments by coach Willie Desjardins still ring true for Vancouver as they prepare for each team on their road trip. The players would be wise to heed the words and apply the expectation.
- The Sedin twins combined for nine points against Chicago in their first meeting of the season at Rogers Place on November 21—Daniel notched a hat trick, while Henrik posted a career-high five points, including four assists.
- Both Sedins have been point-per-game players for the Canucks this season
- Daniel Sedin has 22 points (9-13-22) in the last 15 games. He recently had a seven game point streak from Nov. 14-27; it was the longest point streak of any Canucks player this season and his longest since a seven game streak from Oct. 22 – Nov. 5/13. He currently leads the team in points (33), goals (13), assists (20), ppg (5) and ppp (13). He is 5th in NHL scoring.
- Henrik Sedin has 20 points (6-14-20) in the last 15 games. He recently had a six game point streak from Nov. 16-27. He also had a five game point streak earlier this season from Oct. 29 to Nov. 7. Last season, the Captain recorded points in three or more consecutive games on 10 different occasions. Henrik ranks second on the team in points (29), goals (9), assists (20), ppg (4), and ppp (12). He is 9th in NHL scoring.
- Chris Tanev leads the team and ranks 6th in the League in blocked shots with 74. His defence partner Alex Edler ranks 18th in the NHL with 59 blocked shots.
- Alex Edler, with his power play goal on December 9 surpassed Rick Lanz for sole possession of second place for most PPG by a Canucks defenseman, with 38.
- Rookie forward Jared McCann is t-14th in rookie scoring with 6-goals and 3-assist for 9-points. Among rookies, he ranks 8th in goals; 9th in shots-on-goal with 50; 9th in shooting percentage at 12%.
- Rookie defenseman Ben Hutton is t-14th in rookie scoring with 9-points on 9-assists. Among rookies, he ranks t-4th in assists; t-18th in shots-on-goal with 34; 3rd worst among rookies this season in plus/minus with a -8.
- Ryan Miller, has seen action in 24 of 30 possible games this season. His record is 9-9-6, with a .914 save percentage, his highest in three seasons.
- Miller stopped 64 of 67 shots over his last two starts to help Vancouver break out of their 5- game losing slump.
- Vancouver power play goals in a nutshell this season:
- 1 goal in 14games;
- 2 goals scored in 2 games;
- 3 goals scored in 1 game;
- no goals scored in 13 games (streaks of 5 in a row; 4 in a row).
- Streaks of games in a row with 1 or more: 8 games and 5 games.
- Power play opportunities in a nutshell this season:
- 1 opportunity: 3 games;
- 2 opportunities: 5 games;
- 3 opportunities: 7 games;
- 4 opportunities: 7 games;
- 5 opportunities: 2 games;
- 6 opportunities: 4 games;
- 5 opportunities: 2 games;
- 6 opportunities: 4 games;
- 7 opportunities: 1 game;
- 8 opportunities: 1 game.
- Power play summary:
- Of 4 or more opportunities: 15 for 77 in 15 games: 19.4%
- Of 3 or less opportunities: 6 for 34 in 15 games: 17.6%
- They wrapped up a four game home stand on December 9 with two straight wins. Canucks record: 11-11-8. The two wins helped Vancouver claim second place in the Pacific division, as they begin a 6-game road trip on December 13.
- The last time the Canucks won two straight games was when Vancouver defeated Arizona and Philadelphia, October 30 and November 2, respectively. The Canucks record: 6-2-4. Vancouver would lose their next game to Pittsburgh, ending their win streak at 2 games.
- Vancouver was tied with Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific division, as they embarked for their November 7-game road trip
- Canucks road trip in November started with a Vancouver power play that was 1 for 9 in three previous games
- The road trip this month starts with the Canuck power play 2 for 16 in its last 4 games.
- The Canucks penalty kill had only allowed 1 goal on 7 man advantages in three previous games prior to the November road trip.
- Vancouver’s penalty kill has killed all 11 man advantages in the last 4 games.
- Vancouver lost 6 of their 7 games on the November road trip.