Canucks vs Blues Game Day Report: Trade Deadline Eve

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Canucks Game Day Blues

With a pseudo-successful east coast road swing in their rearview mirror, the Canucks find themselves in a pivotal matchup against the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues (40-18-4) sit 2nd in the Central Division, while the Canucks continue to defy all odds by currently holding down 2nd place in the Pacific Division.

Matchup

Game Time: 6:30 pm

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

The Canucks are coming off of a dud of a performance in a loss to the lowly Buffalo Sabres. The Canucks soured what looked to be an extremely successful east coast swing by losing to the worst team in the NHL on Thursday. The Canucks beat the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Boston Bruins, but failed to beat the New Jersey Devils and Sabres. Classic Canucks hockey!

Storylines

1. Trade Deadline

This is an uneasy time for all players in the NHL with the trade deadline set for noon on Monday. The Canucks will likely be very quiet on the trade-front, but should they?

Ryan is absolutely correct! It appears that the selling prices for useful players who have expiring contracts at the end of the year are surprisingly high. Our own Rob Williams summarized the Canucks deadline strategy along with some names that could be on the move. Linden and Co. would be wise to heed Ryan’s advice. The Canucks have an abundance of useful bottom-six forwards and would be smart to entertain any offers on Brad Richardson and Shawn Matthias. Richardson, in particular, would be a useful player for any team looking to make waves in the playoffs and is unlikely to re-sign with Vancouver.

2. Zack Kassian

Kassian Flex

 

Image:  www.canucks.nhl.com

Zack Kassian went el fuego on the east coast swing. Rumours are still circulating that the Canucks are still actively looking to trade him and his trade value is no longer at rock bottom after multiple games playing alongside the Sedins. Will this be Kassian’s last game in a Canucks jersey? It is entirely possible.

3. Eddie Lack

lack_water

Image: canucks.nhl.com

Twitter has been ablaze for most of the year with some extreme opinions on the Canucks goaltending situation. Most NHL cities would be happy to have two excellent goaltenders, but not in Vancouver. Canucks Nation has this sick fascination with backup goalies.

Well, #TeamLack had their wish come true when Ryan Miller went down with a knee injury in the Canucks game on Long Island. It is one thing to be an excellent backup, it is a completely different thing to carry the load as a starter. Most believe Lack has what it takes to be a consistently good starter in the NHL, but he hasn’t done it yet. It is one of those things where you don’t really know if he is capable until he gets an extended audition.

Lack is already in the midst of his first moment of adversity. After providing stellar relief against the Islanders and then following that up with an amazing performance against the Boston Bruins, Lack was average at best against the Sabres in Buffalo.

This is the pressure that exists for a starting goalie. There are many examples of very good backup goalies that could never transition to the starting role. Lack shows all signs that he can do it, but he hasn’t yet. Time will tell.

Lineup

The Canucks have a ridiculous amount of injuries, but there seems to be some good news on the horizon.

Based on line rushes at Saturday’s practice, the Canucks lineup will look like this:

D. Sedin H. Sedin Kassian
Dorsett Bonino Vrbata
Higgins Matthias Vey
Kenins Horvat Hansen
Hamhuis Weber
Sbisa Biega
Stanton Clendening
Lack

Prediction

The Canucks continue to be a team that is hard to predict. The Canucks have a history of playing very well against the Blues (even in the Tortorella era) and Eddie Lack seems to have their number. Bet on Lack and bet on the Canucks to take this one 4-3.

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Ian Lusher Canucks Contributor
@ianlusher

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