Every Wednesday we take a look at The Week Ahead to see what storylines we’ll be following, because Wednesday is a day meant for looking ahead to the future. Around here we call Wednesday “Future Day” and we all wear silver jumpsuits and big bubble space helmets. Doesn’t everybody do that?
Wednesday, October 30th
At home vs the Detroit Red Wings
Now that Detroit is in the Eastern Conference, the Canucks will only be facing the Red Wings twice this season. This will be your only chance to see the Red Wings in Vancouver this season unless they both go to the Stanley Cup Final, which would be pretty neat.
The Red Wings are likely thrilled to be in the East, as their 6-4-2 record is good for fifth in their conference but would have them in ninth in the West. They’re still a dangerous team, however, with both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scoring a point per game and both Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson giving them solid goaltending.
The Wings have lost four straight, though two of them were after regulation. One of those losses came against the struggling New York Rangers, so they may come into Vancouver with something to prove.
Saturday, November 2nd
At home vs the Toronto Maple Leafs
This is a big one, as Mason Raymond will return to Vancouver for his first game against the team that drafted him. Oh, and the Canucks will be retiring Pavel Bure’s number. I guess that’s pretty important, too.
The Canucks will have to keep their focus despite the pre-game ceremony, as the Leafs keep on winning despite getting out-shot in all but two of their games this season, with Phil Kessel leading their quick-strike offence and both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer putting up a brick wall in net.
Raymond’s playing pretty well for the Leafs, with 10 points in 13 games, but the Leafs have also been outscored at even-strength with him on the ice and he has the second worst Corsi on the team, ahead of only Colton Orr. It will be interesting to see if Raymond can keep up the production throughout the season or if his underlying statistics will catch up to him.
Tuesday, November 5th
Away vs the Phoenix Coyotes
The Canucks will have their work cut out for them as they have to contend with Mike Smith the goaltender and goal scorer. Smith’s goal into an empty net against the Detroit Red Wings is only a tiny component of the Coyotes’ surprisingly high-powered offence, however.
Phoenix is currently tied for 3rd in the league in goals-per-game, led by Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal, and Mike Ribeiro, with both Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle providing offence from the blueline. Fans expecting a boring, defensive game in Phoenix may be in for a shock, as they’re also near the top of the league in shots and shots allowed.
This is also the first game of the Canucks’ annual California road trip, sort of, since it’s in Arizona and not California. After this game, the Canucks head west to play the Sharks on Thursday, then play the Kings and Ducks back-to-back on the weekend. The Canucks will also play the Kings and Ducks back-to-back on another weekend early in January, but this is the only time they’ll also face the Coyotes and Sharks on one road trip this season.Tags: Coyotes, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, The Week Ahead