Canucks Game Facts
This afternoon: Vancouver Canucks at Buffalo Sabres
Where: KeyBank Center
When: 1 pm pacific
TV/Radio: Sportsnet / AM-650
Expected starting goalkeepers: Thatcher Demko for Vancouver, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for Buffalo.
Luukkonen has been splitting time with Devon Levi and they share almost identical records.
It’s the battle of the 1970 expansion brothers, the Canucks and the Sabres. Neither have won a Stanley Cup with Vancouver going to the Final three times and the Sabres twice.
The Canucks appear to be on their way to the playoffs for the third time in the last eleven seasons, while if the Sabres fail to make it this year it will be twelve straight misses, the longest drought in the NHL.
The Canucks core remains healthy with the top ‘Lotto-line’ on fire as of late, particularly centre Elias Pettersson. Vancouver is 5-and-1 so far in 2024 and 8-2-and-1 dating back to December 17th.
The Sabres lost forward Jeff Skinner to an upper body injury on Tuesday against the Seattle Kraken and then lost top line centre Tage Thompson to injury on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators. Skinner is definitely out; Thompson might try to play.
Who’s Hot? And Not …
Pettersson scored the game winning goal for the Canucks for the 4th consecutive match, something that’s only been done twice previously in NHL history (Daniel Alfredsson 4 straight and Newsy Lalonde 5).
‘Petey’ has 12 points over his last four games! He factored in on every goal (2 goals, 2 assists) in Thursday’s 4-3 OT win against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Linemate J.T. Miller had three assists while Brock Boeser tallied two goals. Defenceman Filip Hronek added two assists.
Miller is tied for 3rd in overall NHL scoring with 58 points. Pettersson is one point behind him, tied for 5th.
Winger Andrei Kuzmenko is pointless in his last six games.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, Skinner and Thompson had been two of their hottest players.
Dylan Cozens had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s win over the Senators after going four games without a point. D-man Rasmus Dahlin had two assists in the game and has five in his last four.
Center Casey Mittelstadt leads the club in scoring with 35 points. Winger Jordan Greenway is pointless in his last seven games.
The Canucks power play went 1-for-2 in Pittsburgh while the penalty kill held the Penguins to an 0-for-4 on their man advantage.
Vancouver touts an impressive 23.5% success rate on the PP for the season, but a less than adequate 78.2% on the penalty kill.
The Sabres power play hasn’t been much of a threat, clicking just 14.2% of the time, while the PK is similar to Vancouver’s at 78.5%.
Canucks: 28-11-and-3, 1st place in the Pacific Division, coming off a 4-3 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
Sabres: 18-20-4, tied for 6th place in the Metro Division, following a 5-3 road win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
— Simmer’s Sunday 9: Canucks, Kraken, Includes Bruce Boudreau Podcast Link