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Game 55: Canucks vs Maple Leafs (2.13.16)

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
History will be made tonight in more ways than one when the Canucks, for the first time in nearly 20 years, don the flying skate jersey to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When you couple the Canucks bringing back the flying skate jersey with the fact that, as is typical when the Maple Leafs come to town, a strong contingent of Toronto fans will be in the building, Rogers Arena will almost feel like a foreign rink. It's not a bad thing for the Canucks considering the familiarity and comfort of home ice hasn't worked to their advantage lately. The Canucks are coming off a sweep of their recent two-game road trip but are winless in their last three home outings.

The Canucks hope to mark the occasion of Henrik Sedin becoming the franchise's all-time games played leader tonight with their first three-game win streak of the season. They will also look to extend their long-standing home-ice dominance over the Leafs, who have not won in Vancouver since November 22, 2003. Ryan Miller is expected to get the start between the pipes, while the injury-depleted Leafs will likely go with James Reimer after Jonathan Bernier took the loss on Thursday in Edmonton.

Puck drop at 3:50 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.

Regular Season Record

22-20-12 19-25-9

2015.16 Season Series

0-1-0 1-0-0

All-Time Series

62-53-24 55-61-23

Last 10 games

5-3-2 3-5-2

Last 10 head-to-head

7-3-0 3-7-0
 

Keys to the Game

Clothes make the men. Let's be honest. Nearly all the hype tonight is attributed to the long-awaited return of the flying skate jerseys. There will be a big buzz in the building because of that and it will put a little extra jump in the players' step as well.

Don't let Hank down. The other big storyline of the night will centre on Henrik Sedin surpassing Trevor as the all-time games franchise games played leader. The last thing his teammates will want is for the celebration to be spoiled by a loss so they had better come out ready to take it to Toronto early.

Frankie steals the show. Playing your old team for the first time is always special, and perhaps even more so for young Frank Corrado who might have a case if he feels he never got his fair chance to crack the Canucks. Expect him to bring his A-game for his homecoming.


Canucks Game Preview


By the Numbers

-9

Goal-differential for the Leafs after 3 games on their 5-game trip (6 goals for, 15 against).

.200

Win percentage for the Canucks in Saturday games this season (2-5-3).

.267

Win percentage for the Leafs in Saturday games this season (4-8-3).

1

Win for the Canucks in their last four head-to-head games against the Leafs (1-3-0).

6

Straight games the Leafs have surrendered the opening goal.

1141

Games played by Henrik Sedin counting tonight. Congratulations Hank on becoming the franchise all-time games played leader!


Scouting Report

  • On January 6, coming off a 12-game stretch where they went 8-2-2, the Leafs went over .500 for the first time and suddenly the idea of making the playoffs didn't seem too far-fetched. Since then, however, they've gone 3-10-2 virtually kiboshing any thought of playing more than 82 games this season.
  • Love him or not, you can't argue that that recent trade of Dion Phaneuf leaves a sizable hole. At the time of his departure, despite having been moved down to a second pairing this season by Coach Mike Babcock, Phaneuf was the Leafs' points leader among defencemen and averaged over 22 minutes a game. Phaneuf leaving means even more responsibility will have to be shouldered by Morgan Reilly, the new face of the franchise who turns 22 next month.
  • Remember the 'Free Frankie' movement earlier in the season? It took a while but the ex-Canuck has finally been unleashed. Corrado has dressed in each of Toronto's last six games, and is coming off a season-high 18:04 of ice-time on Thursday against Edmonton where he saw plenty of power play time and had a career-high six shots.
  • For the majority of his tenure in Detroit, Mike Babcock was blessed with offensively-gifted teams. It must be a big shock to the system coming to Toronto where the Leafs are among the lowest scoring teams averaging just 2.30 per game. Their recent run might leave Babcock pining for the good ol' days with Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Toronto has scored just 23 goals over their last 15 outings.
  • A big reason for Toronto's offensive woes? Their dreadful power play. It's 15.0 percent overall this season, an even more awful 11.4 percent on the road, and in the last 15 outings has connected on just three of 49 opportunities (6.1 percent).
  • Three of Toronto's top-eight scorers from last season are currently on the injured list (van Riemsdyk, Bozak, Kadri). Four are no longer with the team (Kessel, Franson, Santorelli, Phaneuf). The only one that remains is defenceman Morgan Reilly.
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