After nine full days without Vancouver Canucks hockey, the boys get back to action on Tuesday with a road battle against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Tuesday’s tilt will be the debut of the newly acquired Elias Lindholm. The 29-year-old All-Star looks to be sliding right into the Canucks’ top-six and will be an added boost of both offence and defence on a line with Elias Pettersson.
Lindholm can play both centre and wing, and he scored 42 goals in the 2021-22 season with the Calgary Flames. Lindholm holds a 55.5% win percentage in the faceoff dot this season and will boost both special teams' units. His right-handedness is something that Head Coach Rick Tocchet has been wanting for his lineup, and after General Manager Patrik Allvin pulled the trigger, Tocchet got his guy.
This will be game one of a five-game road trip that sees the Canucks go through Carolina, Boston, Detroit, Washington, and Chicago. It’s the last long road trip of the season. Only three three-game road trips are remaining and a pair of one-game stops at the end of the year.
In case you completely checked out over the past nine days, the Canucks were on a heater heading into the break. The team has not lost in regulation since January 4th and is riding a 9-0-2 stretch over their last 11 games.
Their opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes have consistently been near the top of the NHL standings over the past few seasons and this year is no different. They are currently sitting second in the Metropolitan Division with a 28-15-5 record – much to do with their strong play over the past five weeks. The Hurricanes are 11-2-1 over their last 14 games and the vibes are high in Raleigh, North Carolina.
One thing we know about the Hurricanes is that they love to shoot the puck, and they will do it from anywhere on the ice. The Canes are number one in the league when it comes to shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five. The Canes also average the least shot attempts against per 60 minutes. The overall control of the shot attempts is in a 60% control to the Hurricanes.
That last paragraph is basically a simple way of talking about the stat: Corsi. The Canes have a 60% control of the Corsi. They have taken 2723 shots this season and allowed 1815.
To simplify, the Canes are all about controlling the shot share.
Leading the way offensively for the Hurricanes is 26-year-old Sebastian Aho. The top-line centre is the only Canes player who is over a point-per-game – he's got 17 goals and 37 assists for 54 points through 45 games.
On the backend, the Canes are led by their top-pairing of Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin. The pairing is one of the NHL’s best in terms of controlling the goal share. The only pairing that has been on the ice for more goals-for than Burns and Slavin (41GF) is the Canucks’ pairing of Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek (53GF).
Between the pipes, projected starter Frederik Andersen has battled injuries throughout the season, and the Canes are currently running a three-man group with Pyotr Kochetkov, Antti Raanta, and former Canuck Spencer Martin. Raanta has a .870% save percentage while Kochetkov sits at .900% and Martin has only made one start for the Canes but he was excellent in the game and stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced.
Quick Hits on the Competition:
- Brent Burns continues to be a horse on the backend, even at the age of 38. He’s eating up an average of 21:35 per night and will be seen on the top power play unit as well as getting time on the penalty kill.
- The Hurricanes have the second-best power play in the league and their man-advantage units are clicking at 28% on the season. The scoring has been spread out on their top unit but Seth Jarvis (8PPG) and Teuvo Teravainen (7PPG) are leading the way while Andrei Svechnikov and Michael Bunting have five power play markers.
- The special teams strength doesn’t stop there for the Canes. They have the fourth-best penalty kill in the league and are killing off 84.2% of their penalties this season. The biggest minute-munchers for the Canes on the PK include Jaccob Slavin (125:58), Brent Burns (111:40), Brady Skjei (104:40), Jordan Staal (97:52), Seth Jarvis (91:48), and Brett Pesce (90:25).
- Andrei Svechnikov has been battling an upper-body injury and we will have to see if the All-Star break was enough time for him to get back to playing shape. Svechnikov, the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, was in a non-contact jersey at Monday’s practice in Carolina but was called day-to-day by Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour on Sunday.
The Canucks are surely antsy to get back into game action after the way they finished up before the break. They take their 9-0-2 record into hostile territory and will look to shake off the rust and get back to playing their brand of hockey.
We’ve seen some incredible performances over the 11-game stretch where the Canucks are without a regulation loss. Elias Pettersson has picked up 12 goals and seven assists through those 11 games, Quinn Hughes has a pair of goals to go along with 14 assists, and Thatcher Demko has a .925% save percentage.
There’s going to be a nice boost to both the special teams units with Lindholm in the mix. He looks to be skating with the first power play unit and his right-shot will fit in nicely in multiple positions. The first unit has been fluid with their positioning and Lindholm’s ability to shoot the puck as well as be a playmaker should help him slot into the power play unit smoothly.
Canucks’ Top Performers over the Last Five:
Quinn Hughes: 1g-9a-10p
J.T. Miller: 1g-6a-7p
Elias Pettersson: 4g-2a-6p
Pius Suter: 4g-2a-6p
Brock Boeser: 3g-3a-6p
Tuesday’s game to kick off the road trip will be a 4:00 pm PT start time and you can view the game on Sportsnet. The radio broadcast will be available on Sportsnet 650 with Brendan Batchelor on the call.