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Tale of the Tape: Pre-season Game 4

Monday, 23.09.2013 / 12:00 PM / Features
By Daniel Fung
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Tale of the Tape: Pre-season Game 4
The Vancouver Canucks (0-3-0) will try to bump their pre-season slump tonight when they host the Phoenix Coyotes (2-1-1) at Rogers Arena.

Tonight’s Game is presented by the Vancouver Sun Raise-a-Reader campaign. Proud partner of the Vancouver Canucks and Canucks for Education Centre.

Pre-season Record: 0-3-0
Last Game: 2-5 L at Edmonton (SEP.21.13)

2013 Season Series: 2-1-0
Last Meeting: 2-0 W (APR.08.13)
Pre-season Record: 2-1-1
Last Game: 2-3 OT/L at San Jose (SEP.21.13)

2013 Season Series: 1-2-0
Last Meeting: 0-2 L (APR.08.13)

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (0-3-0) will try to bump their pre-season slump tonight when they host the Phoenix Coyotes (2-1-1) at Rogers Arena.

What You Need to Know
  • Tonight marks the fourth of six pre-season games the Canucks will play this year. For Phoenix, it will be their fifth of seven pre-season contests.
  • The Canucks dropped their third straight game to begin the pre-season on Saturday night falling 5-2 to the Oilers. F Mike Santorelli and F Jannik Hansen scored in a losing effort.
  • The Coyotes suffered their second straight pre-season loss on Saturday night dropping a 3-2 decision in overtime to the Sharks. D Oliver Ekman-Larsson and F Andy Miele scored in the losing effort.
  • Judging by yesterday's practice, the Canucks appear they will go with a more experienced lineup tonight with the likes of the Sedin twins, F Alex Burrows and F Ryan Kesler all expected to play. One interesting name that appears likely to dress alongside the veterans tonight is 18-year-old F Hunter Shinkaruk.
  • The Canucks may be without the services of both F Zack Kassian and F Dale Weise tonight and possibly for the foreseeable future. Both are facing disciplinary hearings for separate incidents that occurred in Saturday's loss to the Oilers.
  • Coyotes F Gilbert Brule, former star with the Vancouver Giants, is attending Coyotes camp on a tryout basis. He has one goal in two games played so far but also carries a less-than-impressive minus-four rating. Brule played one season for Phoenix in 2011.12 but did not play in the NHL last season.
  • Coyotes' first round pick C Max Domi (12th overall) from this past summer's draft also remains in the hunt for a roster spot. The son of former NHL tough guy Tie Domi has one assist in two games played so far.
  • Despite having two goals and four points in two pre-season games, Guillaume Latendresse was released from his professional tryout by the Coyotes on Saturday.
  • G Roberto Luongo would be a good bet to be the starter tonight. He did not dress for Saturday's game in Edmonton and will be looking to bounce back after a tough pre-season opener that saw him surrender four goals over two periods of play last Wednesday.
  • F Kellan Lain, who suited up in two pre-season games for the Canucks registering zero points and a minus-two rating, was assigned to the AHL's Utica Comets on Sunday.
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on Sportsnet Pacific. 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 stay out of the box. Vancouver's penalty kill has been a bright spot so far in pre-season but, that being said, they can't expect to win if they're constantly playing a man short. They were short-handed eight times in Saturday's loss to Edmonton albeit they managed to hold the Oilers to just one power play goal.
  • The vets step up. After icing mostly inexperienced lineups for the first three pre-season games, the Canucks should have a much greater veteran presence tonight and with their roster a much better representation of what the opening night lineup might look like, they'll want to prove that they are a much tougher team than what their first three games would suggest.
  • Luongo bounces back. Assuming Vancouver's undisputed number one netminder gets the start tonight, he'll need to come out with much better effort than his first pre-season appearance that saw him surrender four goals - including several of the not-so-pretty variety - on just 14 shots last Wednesday against Edmonton.


The Coyotes Win If...

  • They keep taking advantage of the man-advantage. Phoenix's power play has been red hot to open the pre-season scoring six times on 19 opportunities over their first four outings (31.6 percent). They'll be licking their chops against a Vancouver team that can't seem to stay out of the box.
  • The bubble players make use of their opportunity. There are probably more than a handful of Coyotes forwards who were pleased to see Guillaume Latendresse released from his professional tryout with the club knowing that takes away one competitor for a roster spot. The fight's not quite over yet for the remaining Coyotes forwards, however, so they'll want to continue pushing tonight.
  • They get some early momentum. The Canucks, even though they have yet to ice a veteran-laden lineup, aren't exactly beaming with confidence having dropped all three of their pre-season games to date and a big reason for that is they're constantly playing catch up. If the Coyotes can get up a goal or two early, they could make it another long night for the Canucks.

Ones to Watch

HUNTER SHINKARUK

Hunter Shinkaruk might not have been strong candidate to crack the Canucks' roster at the outset of the pre-season but it seems the odds of him landing a spot on the opening night roster are getting better each day.

With the Canucks suddenly facing injuries in their forward ranks to the likes of Booth, Jensen and Schroeder - as well as having Weise and Kassian face potential suspensions - it appears they might have little choice other than to have the 18-year-old make his NHL debut in just over a week's time.

Shinkaruk has had plenty of opportunities to prove his abilities so far in pre-season suiting up in all three games the Canucks have played and it looks like he'll have a chance to make it four-for-four tonight. He has one goal and four shots in three pre-season outings so far.

CHRIS BROWN

After getting a quick cup of coffee at the NHL level last season, Chris Brown is hoping to stick around for a full meal this time around.

The 22-year-old native of Flower Mound, Texas, who was a second round pick of the Coyotes back in 2009 out of the University of Michigan, has had had a strong pre-season to date appearing in three games while netting a team-high five points (1-4-5). His solid numbers should give him a leg up on some of his competitors, namely the likes of fellow forwards Gilbert Brule and Max Domi who are also battling tooth and nail for a spot on the opening night lineup.

Brown's brief NHL cameo last season saw him suit up in five games while failing to register a point. With the AHL's Portland Pirates last season – his first year playing professional hockey – he recorded 29 goals and 47 points in 68 games played.

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.