Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Kings (3.2.13)

Saturday, 02.03.2013 / 11:07 AM / Features
By Daniel Fung

Tonight’s game is presented by Budweiser

Team Record: 10-5-4
Last Game: 2-4 L vs Phoenix (FEB.26.13)

Season Series: 0-0-1
Last Meeting: 2-3 SO/L (JAN.28.13)
Team Record: 10-6-2
Last Game: 2-1 W vs Detroit (FEB.27.13)

Season Series: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 3-2 W (JAN.28.13)

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (10-5-4), minus injured forward Ryan Kesler, will try to avoid their third straight loss when they welcome the defending Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles Kings (10-6-2) to Rogers Arena for the first and only time this season.

What You Need to Know
  • The Canucks begin their second major stretch of the season tonight knowing they'll be without F Ryan Kesler long-term after learning on Wednesday he has a broken right foot that will keep him out for at least a month. Vancouver went 8-2-2 to start the season with Kesler sidelined before his recent short-lived return.
  • Newest Canucks F Tom Sestito is expected to make his debut tonight after being claimed on waivers from Philadelphia yesterday. The veteran of 34 career NHL games effectively replaces F Aaron Volpatti, who was lost on waivers to Washington on Thursdays. Sestito has two goals in seven games played this season with the Flyers.
  • Canucks D Kevin Bieksa could make his return tonight after missing two games with a groin injury. He re-joined the team in practice yesterday and will be a game-time decision. Vancouver has gone 0-2 this season with Bieksa out of the lineup.
  • Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Kings this season, and the first and only trip for the Kings to Rogers Arena this season. In their first match-up this season back on January 28 at the Staples Center, Vancouver squandered a 2-0 lead to drop a 3-2 shootout decision. Kassian and Burrows scored for Vancouver while Carter and Voynov replied for Los Angeles.
  • The Kings come into tonight's game riding a season-high five-game win streak. It's their longest win streak since they won eight in a row during last year's playoffs – a streak that stretched from Game 5 of their first round series against the Canucks all the way to Game 3 of their Conference Final series against the Coyotes.
  • This is the first trip back to Rogers Arena for the Kings since Game 5 of last year's opening round playoff series where they knocked off the Canucks by a 2-1 score in overtime to finish their stunning series win over Vancouver. The Kings won all three games played at Rogers Arena in that playoff series by a combined 10-5 score.
  • The Canucks come into this contest having lost consecutive regulation games for the first time this season. If they fail to win tonight, they would match their season-high winless streak at three games. Vancouver has not lost three straight regulation games since the start of their playoff series last April against the Kings.
  • For just the second time this season, Canucks G Cory Schneider will get a start despite coming off a loss in his previous outing. Tonight will be his first career regular season start against the Kings. He started the final three games in the playoff series against the Kings last season posting a 1-2 record with a 1.31 GAA and a .960 save percentage.
  • Kings F Jeff Carter brings a team-high five-game point streak into tonight's game (5-1-6). Other notable streaks for the Kings include F Mike Richards' four-game point streak (0-4-4) and F Dwight Kings' three-game point streak (0-3-3).
  • A big reason for the Kings' recent turnaround can be attributed to the play of their netminders. Number one goaltender Jonathan Quick has won three straight games giving up only four goals on 74 shots during that stretch while backup Jonathan Bernier has won four straight games surrendering only four goals on 95 shots during that stretch.
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. It is also available on the NHL Network in the United States and on RDS2. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.

Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.

Keys to the Game


The Canucks Win If...

  • They come out ready to battle the champs. There is something seriously wrong with your motivation level if you can't find a way to find to bring your 'A' game against the defending Stanley Cup champs in your own building.
  • They use adversity as a motivational tool. A little adversity can help bring a team together and, right now, the Canucks have more adversity to deal with than they need in light of their losing streak coupled with the news of Kesler's long-term injury.
  • They limit opponent scoring chances in prime scoring areas. It's easy to point fingers at the goaltending when you've given up 12 combined goals over two games but the defense hasn't exactly made things easier for their netminders either by giving up more than their fair share high-quality scoring chances especially in the slot.


The Kings Win If...

  • They take advantage of a team with some confidence issues. The Kings are on a roll but the same can't be said about the Canucks who have not only lost consecutive regulation games but one of the key pieces of their team in Ryan Kesler. They might still be a bit shell-shocked from everything that's happened the past week.
  • They throw their weight around. Los Angeles' physical play was one of the big reasons they walked away victorious in last year's playoff series and this season they are again once of the league's hit leaders. They're going up against a Canucks team that has not only been out-hit in five of their last six games but are without one of their most physical players in Aaron Volpatti who was claimed off waivers by Washington on Thursday.
  • They stay stingy in third periods. Only the Bruins (8) have given up fewer third period goals this season than the Kings' 10. What that means is if the Kings are tied or leading after two periods, they're more than likely going to come out on top. Vancouver, meanwhile, has been out-scored 5-1 in third periods over their last two games.

Ones to Watch

MASON RAYMOND

With Ryan Kesler out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, the Canucks look like they'll be hosting open auditions for that second line centre position and the first player invited to give it a go will be Mason Raymond.

Raymond, who is naturally a left winger, is the leading point producer this season for the Canucks among forwards behind only the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows but he's gone completely cold lately. He comes into tonight's contest with no points in five straight games since scoring against the Blues back on February 17.

Raymond will be hoping that getting a chance to play in the middle between Hansen and Higgins will help him bump that season-high slump. Tonight will mark his 20th career game against the Kings. He has three goals and four points in 19 previous meetings versus Los Angeles.

JEFF CARTER

Jeff Carter's streakiness has often been a source of frustration for coaches and fans alike but when the former Flyers first round pick is on his game he's easily one of the league's top offensive talents. Right now, Carter certainly appears to at the top of his game.

The 28-year-old not only brings a team-high five-game point streak into tonight's tilt but is also putting a five-game goal streak on the line. If he manages to find the back of the net tonight, he would equal a personal career-high for longest goal streak at six games – a streak he set from February 8 to March 3, 2010 while still with Philadelphia.

Carter has had little difficulty finding the net against the Canucks in his career. In 10 career games versus Vancouver, he's notched five goals and six points. In the first meeting this season between the Canucks and Kings, Carter scored once in regulation and also tallied the game-deciding marker in the shootout.

Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at dfung_sports@hotmail.com.