Game 10: Canucks @ Blue Jackets (10.20.13)
It's safe to say if the Canucks turn in performances like the one they had yesterday against the Penguins more often than not, then they will win more than their fair share of games. The trick for them is to find a way to bring that effort level on a consistent basis even against teams such as the Blue Jackets who aren't necessarily considered a marquee opponent even though they boast the reigning Vezina Trophy winner on their roster in goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Canucks, however, likely won't have to go up against Bobrovsky tonight unless the Blue Jackets change their plans after dropping a 4-1 decision last night to the Washington Capitals. Curtis McElhinney is scheduled to make his Blue Jackets debut tonight and will be tasked with trying to help them halt their four-game losing streak. Eddie Lack will likely get the call for Vancouver, who will be without forward Jordan Schroeder who left yesterday's loss in Pittsburgh with a lower-body injury. Jeremy Welsh was recalled from Utica (AHL) and could make his Vancouver debut tonight.
Puck drop at 3 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Overcome fatigue. Both the Canucks and Blue Jackets played yesterday but Vancouver does have a few hours of additional rest time. They'll want to put that advantage to good use by coming out with energy and taking the play to Columbus early on.
Give McElhinney a rude welcoming. If the Blue Jackets do go with their backup netminder tonight, the Canucks need to remind him just how tough a league the NHL is. The journeyman goalie has yet to play this season and only saw action in two games at the NHL level last season.
Make use of the power play. The man-advantage has been one of the bright spots for the Blue Jackets and that needs to continue tonight. Columbus has converted on 24 percent of their opportunities this season (6-for-25) and have only failed to connect in two of seven games played this season – one of those games being yesterday's loss in Washington.
By the Numbers
Games played by Blue Jackets back-up goalie Curtis McElhinney this season.
Wins for the Canucks over the Blue Jackets last season, finishing 2-0-1 in three games played.
Game point streak for Henrik Sedin coming into today's game (1-4-5).
Career NHL games played by Jeremy Welsh, who was recalled yesterday by the Canucks.
Combined goals scored between the Canucks and Blue Jackets in their three-game season series last year.
Consecutive regulation periods the Canucks have scored at least one goal in heading into today's game.