Game 23: Canucks vs. Panthers (11.19.13)
At some point you'd have to figure the Canucks are going to get back to their winning ways and the goals are going to come in bunches for them – at least that's if they continue playing the way they have in recent outings. On Sunday, despite out-shooting and out-chancing the Stars by a wide margin, the Canucks still wound up on the wrong end of the scoreboard dropping a 2-1 decision. The loss extended their winless streak to four straight games (0-3-1).
On paper, the Panthers appear to be the perfect tonic for a struggling Canucks squad. They sit near the bottom of the NHL standings, have a goal differential of minus-22 and look like they're ready to blow up their team and rebuild as evidenced by the recent dispatching of Kris Versteeg back to Chicago. However, two of the Panthers five wins this season have come in their last five games since they made a coaching change and the wins have come against very tough teams in the Ducks and, most recently, the Avalanche. Dale Weise is expected to return to the lineup for the Canucks tonight. If Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas get the start for their respective clubs between the pipes, it would be the first time they've gone head-to-head since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Bury their chances. The Canucks' inability to score lately hasn't been for a lack of chances. They just have to bear down and bury those opportunities tonight and opportunities should be abundant against a Panthers team that has averaged 3.19 goals against per game this season.
Garrison claws the Cats. Jason Garrison did a lot of scoring while he was with the Panthers. He's done a lot of scoring for the Canucks as well, just not in the last dozen games where he not found the scoresheet. There's no better time for him to snap out of his funk than against his former team who he'll face for the first time since becoming a Canuck.
Thomas goes back in time. The last time Tim Thomas was in Vancouver, he pitched a shutout then got to lift the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup. He won't repeat the latter two feats tonight, but he certainly has the ability to shut down an offensively-challenged Canucks squad.
By the Numbers
Scoring percentage for the Canucks during their current four-game winless streak (4 goals on 140 shots).
Win percentage for the Panthers since Peter Horachek took over from Kevin Dineen as head coach (2-3-0).
Assist needed for Ryan Kesler to reach 200 career helpers.
Straight games without a goal for Daniel Sedin. He has 24 shots over those six games.
Games played by Jason Garrison with the Panthers from 2008.09 to 2011.12. Tonight will be the first time he plays the Panthers since leaving as a free agent.
Games played by David Booth with the Panthers from 2006.07 to 2011.12. Tonight will be the first time he faces his former team since being traded away.