REGULAR RECIPE OR EXTRA CRISPY?
The mallardies that have plagued the Anaheim Ducks this season have put them near the Western cellar.
I guess you can say 14th is the cellar; they just share it with Columbus.
You would think a team with the talent they have in Getzlaf, Perry, Bobby Ryan, Hiller and Selanne, would be doing much better, but alas they sit 15 points out of the playoff picture 35 games into the season.
In an ironic twist, both the Canucks and Ducks last game resulted in a 3-2 victory over the Sharks, who now wait in the wings of Rogers Arena for Vancouver to return home on January 2nd.
Without further ado, my FIVE KEYS to Thursday evening’s SoCal tilt:
As mentioned, the Ducks last played the Sharks, but that was on Monday. The Canucks will be in the 2nd half of a back to back, not to mention coming off a rough game Wednesday night. Bieksa did finish the game, literally, but did limp off to start OT.
So despite on paper Vancouver certainly having the upper hand in this one, Anaheim will benefit from 3 full days off.
2) CORY SCHNEIDER TO START
Cory Schneider (Schnu) is 1-1-0 lifetime versus Anaheim so you can’t read much into that besides the fact that we can’t expect anything but vintage Schneider. In fact, with the fatigue factor hampering the Canucks, Cory may have to be the Canucks best player for them to win this one.
Hiller, who should get the nod in net off that win in San Jose, is 2-2-1 in his last 5 and that’s saying something given the Ducks overall record. The poultry numbers put up by the players in front of him haven’t helped much either.
When a 41 year old is the leading scorer on the team, you know you’re screwed as a goalie.
3) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The Canucks did lose their last game in Anaheim; however, their overall record in California this season is 3-1-0. Maybe it’s the weather that rejuvenates and boosts the Canucks energy while in SoCal. If so, that’s a positive since it’s a forecasted 27 degrees Celsius there Thursday.
In addition, the Fowl ones are indeed foul at home so far this season with a record of 7-9-1. Can you tell I’m a stats guy? Yeah I know; “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”
The point is trends and what teams act like in certain situations over an extended but isolated period of time.
4) THE AGELESS ONE
Selanne always seems to ramp up his game whenever it’s against the Canucks and one should expect nothing less but a stellar, determined effort from the Finnish Flash. Sami Salo tried to claim that title once, but he slipped on a dubble bubble gum wrapper while changing his daughter’s diaper.
Believe it or not, Selanne actually leads the Ducks in scoring with 35 points in 35 games.
At 41 years of age, he is still the driving force for the Ducks. Maybe that’s why they are in the basement. Going back to the fatigue to be felt by the Canucks, Selanne should be able to find some open space to work a lot easier.
All due respect to Schneider, he can stop Selanne for a little while, but not forever.
5) THE WORLD JUNIORS
Thursday afternoon prior to the Canucks and Ducks facing off, Canada will battle Denmark at the World Juniors.
You may as well write Jannik Hansen off as injured because with the force Denmark is going to be killed by Canada, Hansen will be mourning the traumatized emotions of countrymen and Canucks 2011 1st Round draft pick Nicklas Jensen.
This will set off a chain reaction with the lines, sending COHO to the 2nd with Raymond and Kesler. The 3rd will be Ebbett, Manny and Weise, which no offense to them, but that sucks.
The 4th will then be Lapierre, Mancari and Rome.
Any line with Rome on it is doomed so really, the Canucks will have two lines tomorrow night. Crap!
I’m so tired, it’s not even punny. Get it?
BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver
Now allow me to explain, as I clearly scored the advantages as 3 for Anaheim to 2 for Vancouver. I’m a homer.
Just kidding; that’s not why.
The Nucks have been on such a roll as of late, it’s just hard to believe they would actually lose to a team in 14th place.
I knoooow…they lost to Columbus and Carolina and Calgary, but Anaheim doesn’t start with a “C.”
Ding dong, your ordered explanation has arrived.
Happy New Years.