Bartkowski-Biega— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 7, 2016
The Canucks look to sweep their short two-game road trip with a win tonight at the Staples Center against the Los Angeles Kings.
Even if the Canucks find a way to sneak into the playoff picture, chances are it will be as a Wildcard entry instead of being in one of the three spots earmarked for a Pacific Division club. That being said, they have a role to play in how the division standings shape up. They took a bite out of the Sharks on Saturday to put a damper on San Jose's hopes of surging up top spot in the division. Tonight, they'll look to do both the Sharks and the Ducks a favour by handing the Kings their second straight loss.
If the Canucks are to beat the Kings, they'll need to do so without Henrik Sedin who suffered an upper-body injury in the win over San Jose. Sedin's roster spot is expected to be filled by the returning Radim Vrbata. Chris Tanev is also a question mark with an upper-body injury. Jacob Markstrom was a somewhat surprise starter on Saturday and helped the Canucks snap a three-game losing skid. Vancouver may turn to him again although the smart bet would be on Ryan Miller being back between the pipes. Look for Jonathan Quick to get the call for Los Angeles.
Puck drop at 7:30 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
Keys to the Game
Reheat the rivalry.There is no love lost between the Canucks and any of their Pacific Division rivals, but the Kings probably qualify as being at the top of the dislike list. A chance to contribute to Los Angeles' fall from the top of the Pacific Division is enough motivation to play their best.
Baer mode.After going five games without a point, Sven Baertschi has found his hot hand again with three points (1-2-3) in his last two outings. He'll be counted on to be an offensive leader especially in light of the fact the Canucks will be without Henrik Sedin. He hasn't had points in three straight since early January.
Think offence first.The Kings certainly have a talent-laden line-up and the Canucks know this first hand. Even though they've struggled to score lately, they'll want to try and run-and-gun with a Vancouver team that's missing some of their top point producers right now.
Canucks Gameday Road Report, Presented by Toyota
By the Numbers
Points for Kings' deadline day acquisition Kris Versteeg in two games. He suffered an injury in his last outing.
Win percentage for the Canucks without Henrik Sedin in the line-up this season (2-2-2).
Point needed by Dan Hamhuis to reach 300 for his NHL career. He has an active two-game point streak.
Straight games the Canucks have earned at least a point at the Staples Center (2-0-1).
Goals for Kings forward Tyler Toffoli in the last head-to-head meeting on December 28, first LAK hat trick vs VAN since April 1, 2010 (Dustin Brown).
Points for Kings forward Anze Kopitar in the season series to date, leading all players.
- It wasn't long ago that the Kings were considered run away leaders for the Pacific Division crown but a 4-7-1 stretch from January 21 to February 18 gave an opportunity for the likes of the Ducks and Sharks to gain some ground. The Kings were finally knocked off that top perch in their last outing on Saturday after dropping a 3-2 decision to Anaheim.
- The Kings have bounced back nicely since that aforementioned swoon winning five of their last seven games. However, their losses have been ill-timed as both have come against Anaheim allowing the Ducks to leap past them in the standings.
- The Kings may be getting back to their winning ways but they're overly relying on their defence and netminding to get the job done. They've scored just 17 combined goals over their last 10 outings and have managed more than three goals in a game just once in that span. Over that same stretch, they've allowed just 18 goals against.
- At 5-on-5, the Kings may seem nearly impenetrable. In fact, the 91 5-on-5 goals they've allowed this season is the fewest in the NHL.
- Where the Kings are vulnerable has been when shorthanded. Their 80.7 percent penalty kill rate hovers around middle of the pack. Nine of the 18 goals they've given up in their last 10 games have been while shorthanded (9 goals allowed on 35 times shorthanded).
- While the Kings have struggled on the penalty kill, they've made up for it with a very strong power play which is operating at 21.9 percent efficiency. However, at the Staples Center, that number falls drastically down to 18.4 percent making them one of the least efficient power play teams on home ice. Their power play is 2-for-12 in the season series (1-for-3 at home), while their penalty kill is 11-for-12 (4-for-4 at home).