Quack, Quack, Quack!
The Vancouver Canucks face the Ducks Sunday and no, Ducks doesn’t imply a team made of up 20 Brad Marchands.
It’s been just over two weeks since the two sides last met. Since then, Anaheim has done pretty much nothing; still in 14th place in the West.
Vancouver on the other hand has been through hell and back.
By hell, I mean Boston; not the terrible hockey market that is Sunrise, Florida.
Alas, here we stand halfway through January 2012 and 8 days after Sunday night’s tilt will mark the Chinese New Year; the Lantern Festival; the 15th day of celebration.
That makes Sunday the 5th day of celebration; a day known for the heavy use of fireworks to attract the God of War’s attention in hopes of good fortune for the New Year.
BBQ Duck is a common delicacy during this time so in honour of it, this preview for Sunday’s game will highlight some of the different Chinese traditions partook in during the New Year celebrations that the Canucks or maybe both teams could use to help them in their quest for two points.
Let’s not forget one of the more common dishes consumed during this time: BBQ DUCK.
Score Early and Score Often
As mentioned, the 5th day involves the lighting of firecrackers and this is exactly how the Canucks need to come out of the gates. The Ducks have the 2nd most goals against in the West (136) and are very vulnerable to start games.
The Canucks lead 2-0 after the 1st last time they played and coming out banging and scoring is exactly what the doctor ordered.
They have, thank goodness, made a good habit of this, scoring first in all 4 games on the recent road trip. They have 24 wins in 31 games when they have scored first.
Religious Or Not – Pray
The 1st day of celebration is typically dedicated to welcoming the deities of the heavens and Earth to celebrate. Let’s be honest, there are some superstitious guys on the team and praying to the hockey gods could do them some good.
Maybe just put Luongod and Ginger Jesus in the middle of the room and bow down to them. They’re basically the holy hockey equivalent to “Santa’s Helpers.”
Then you can even employ Cody Godgson, Max Alapierre and Buddha Booth who will be returning. Welcoming David “Buddha” Booth back to the lineup will be a huge boost to the 2nd line which can hopefully regain some familiarity as the American Express line.
Combat Speed With Speed
On the 3rd day of celebration of the Chinese New Year, the God of Blazing Wrath is worshipped. When I think blazing wrath, I think Mason Raymond, who will become a key cog likely on the 3rd line.
This gives the Canucks a legit 3rdscoring line. In fact, it may be the best in the league with 27 goals between them.
With that being the 3rd and Higgy-Kes-Booth making up the 2nd, the speed of this team is definitely not something to be messed with.
On the flipside, this re-found speed will fare well against that of the Ducks stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf who combine on the PP so often because of said tempo.
Vancouver has played 12 of its last 18 games on the road, including its last four. That doesn’t give them a whole lot of family time and believe it or not, that can be a big boost to a guy’s morale.
The Nucks now play 9 of their next 13 at Rogers Arena, with Sunday night’s game the kick off or face off, if you will, of a 6 game home stand.
Family dinners are a huge part of Chinese New Year celebrations and obviously represent happy times. Not that Vancouver has been slumping per se, but the last few games have been slightly lack lustre.
Maybe some family time will do them some good.
I’m not sure if a big duck dinner would be ideal prior to a game, but here’s the obvious analogy of the Canucks eating BBQ duck Sunday night.
Be it duck breast with grilled veggies, duck legs, beer can duck, jerk duck or duck confit, it really should be a tasty victory at Rogers Arena. The Canucks are a much, much better team on paper than the Ducks and while it’s typical to the see them not show up against a sub-par team, they proved that they actually do last time these two played.
The Canucks won 5-2.
It can’t be said enough how much that will bolster the entire forward lineup.
It should be noted that Keith Ballard practiced as the 7th D-man Saturday, so who knows whether it’ll be him or Alexander Sulzer Sunday night?
My bet is on Sulzer, but only because I think AV is gonzo.
BEST BET TO WIN: VANCOUVER
Puck drop is 6pm on the S-pac.
Oh, and Gung Hay Fat Choy!