Miller Knights

The Vancouver Canucks will play their first road game since March 7th and their first road game in over three weeks will be against the same opponent, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Vegas currently holds onto the third spot in the Pacific Division with a 41-25-8 record. The Canucks are 10 points up and maintain their grasp on first place in the division with a 46-20-8 record.

The Knights are playing some of their best hockey of the season and have reeled off a 5-0-1 record over their last six games. They went 3-0-1 on their most recent road trip and now return home for one game before hitting the road for one final time this season.

Forwards Jack Eichel and Ivan Barbashev have been hot over the Knights’ last six games, each of them has four goals in that stretch. William Karlsson has the most points over their last six games as he picked up a goal and five assists.

Trade deadline acquisition Anthony Mantha has also found his touch in the last half-dozen games. Mantha has five assists over their last six games.

The Knights were without goaltender Adin Hill for the past week but with Vegas reassigning Jiri Patera to the AHL, it appears that Hill will be ready to get back into a rotation with Logan Thompson.

Hill has started 32 games this season while Thompson has 37. Thompson’s record is 22-12-5 and Hill sits at 18-10-2 on the year. Both goalies have an impressive save percentage, but Hill’s .914% rides a bit higher than Thompson’s .911% so far this season.

Noah Hanifan has been eating up a ton of minutes since the Knights picked him up a couple of days before the deadline. Hanifan has averaged 22:41 in his 12 games since joining the Knights. The 27-year-old left-shot defenceman has been playing on a pairing with Nicolas Hague and seeing time on the second power play unit as well as time on the penalty kill.

Quick Hits on the Competition (VGK):

  • The Golden Knights possess the 21st-ranked power play in the league and are running at 18.3% on the season. Their leading power play scorer is Jack Eichel with eight power play markers and Jonathan Marchessault is right behind him with seven man-advantage tucks of his own.
  • Their penalty kill is the 13th-ranked shorthanded unit in the league and have killed off 80.6% of their penalties this season. Brayden McNabb and Alex Pietrangelo are the two horses on the penalty kill and will eat up a ton of minutes.
  • Jack Eichel is the only forward who is averaging more than 20 minutes per game. He sits at 20:33 ATOI though 55 games played.
  • William Karlsson is the Knights’ best faceoff man. He has won 55.4% of his draws.
  • The Knights have two players with 200+ hits. Keegan Kolesar has 247 and Paul Cotter has 213.

Following the Knights game, the Canucks will fly over to Arizona for their second game in as many nights.

The Arizona Coyotes were on a slide but have picked up some big wins lately, including a big 8-4 win against the red-hot Nashville Predators this past Thursday.

Over their last eight games, the Yotes are 5-3-0 and have outscored their opponents 33-26 as the team that many coaches around the league are calling ‘well-coached’ is figuring out some secret sauce late in the season.

The Yotes are currently in the middle of a seven-game homestand, and the Canucks will be the second-last game of the Yotes’ run of games at Mullett Arena.

Clayton Keller continues to have a strong season and has now scored 32 goals and added 36 assists for 68 points through 70 games.

23-year-old Matias Maccelli has been solid in his second full season as an NHLer. He has scored 14 goals and added 37 assists for 51 points.

Maccelli is joined by Logan Cooley and Alex Kerfoot as the only three Coyotes to have played in all 74 of their games so far this season.

Quick Hits on the Competition (ARI):

  • Nick Schmaltz leads the Yotes in power play goals with 10. The Coyotes have a strong power play unit and are tied with the Canucks for 12th in the league with a 22.3% conversion percentage.
  • On the penalty kill, the Yotes have struggled and sit 27th in the league, killing off 75.8% of their penalties this season.
  • Sean Durzi leads the Yotes in ice time per game with 22:40 on average. Durzi will see time on the top pairing alongside J.J. Moser. He will also play on the first power play unit and pair up with Juuso Valimaki on the top penalty kill unit.
  • Travis Boyd and Barrett Hayton are both out with injuries.

The Canucks are coming off a win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. They are now embarking on a three-game road trip that sees them go through Vegas and Arizona for back-to-back games, and then off to Los Angeles for a Saturday night matchup.

Dakota Joshua jumped right back into the lineup and has been impactful in his two games after recovering from an upper-body injury. Joshua buried a pair of goals in Sunday’s win against the Ducks.

The 27-year-old has set a new career-high in goals this season after scoring his 14th and 15th goals of the year on Sunday. 14 of his goals have come at even-strength this year with his first power play goal of the season coming on Sunday with a highlight-reel goal that saw him go through the legs with the puck before roofing it.

Head Coach Rick Tocchet experimented with some lines and liked what his newly assembled trio of Joshua, Conor Garland, and J.T. Miller were able to do as a line on Sunday. 

The coach was looking for a bit more offence with Miller between Garland and Joshua and he found it on Sunday. Having some flexibility is important for the Canucks as they continue to tread closer to the playoffs.

The movement of Miller to the CoDak line meant that Brock Boeser slid onto Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander’s line.  

The power play struck for a pair of goals on Sunday after going a couple of games without a goal on the man-advantage. The Canucks now rank 12th in the NHL with a 22.3% power play efficiency.

As for the penalty kill, they have only allowed power play goals against in two of their last 12 games. They rank 16th in the league with a 79.7% penalty kill rate. 

Arturs Silovs got the start for the Canucks on Sunday and picked up his first win of the season. It looks like Casey DeSmith will get the nod on Tuesday against the Knights but with back-to-back games, Silovs likely will see some more action in the coming days.

Tuesday’s game against the Knights is a 7:00 pm PT start time and can be viewed on Sportsnet or listened to on Sportsnet 650. 

Wednesday’s game against the Coyotes is also a 7:00 pm PT start time and you know it can be viewed on Sportsnet or listened to with Brendan Batchelor on the call with Sportsnet 650.