I'm going to go against the grain and say that the Kings prevail in this one. A gritty team that has a lot of guys trying to prove themselves. I think the Canucks will end up being frustrated by the goaltending of Cechmanek and start taking too many chances, eventually losing this one 4-2.
Canucks coming into this one riding high, have had a few problems holding leads, but I have a good feeling they'll remedy that this game against a team absolutely devastated by injuries. Cech will continue his abysmal play and be eaten alive by the top line who are simply too much for the Kings who are downtrodden after two losses and the amount of troubles they've been seeing (ie/ huge injuries, Palffy's legal issues, etc.)
Canuck goals: King (PP), Bertuzzi, Morrison (PP), Cooke
LA Goal: Klatt
With Sopel out of the lineup Slegr moves in and actually makes a pitch for his spot, Allen comes out as usual, his positives being his ability to stand rushes up at our blueline, physicality in the corners and that cannon of a shot we've seen. The rest of the d-core continues their high skill levels, with Ohlund throwing two huge hits and Jovo throwing an open ice bomb in the neutral zone. Salo and Malik are quiet, but improve their +/-. The big line comes out strong, Naslund pots two assists and has another strong defensive performance. Our defensive assault line (Arvy/Linden/Cooke) make life a living hell for the LA offense, who has trouble against Arvedsons speed and Cookes physicality --- look for Avery to go after Cooker IF he's playing and take a number of stupid penalties.
The Canucks go up 3-1 in this one by the end of the 2nd and never really look back, utilizing the strong defensive effort we've been seeing all season to basically shut down and LA team hurting for offense.
Cloutier gets the start and saves 20-25 shots, the one goal he lets in is a weak one at the end of the 2nd that makes all Canucks fans start ranting about doom and gloom, but as usual he salvages his game and stands on his head for the last part of the 3rd when LA presses hard.
I'm going to go conservative tonight, and predict a 9 to -2 win for the Canucks. Klatt, confused after being crunched by Ruutu, thinks he's back playing for the 'Nucks and scores twice on his own net. Daniel with the double hattrick wins me the million dollar safeway contest.
Well, seeing as how everything is going right for my fantasy hockey opponents this year, and they have both Ohlund and Bertuzzi named for tonight, look for those two to have huge games. (Last game, they had Nazzy named, and he got 2-2).
So, it doesn't look good for LA. I'll predict 4-2, with Klatt getting one of the goals.
Not to open up a proverbial can of worms, but three games??? I'd like to see the NHL come down on players harder for things like this:
Prosecutors argued Corvo grabbed a 34-year-old woman's buttocks last November in a restaurant. Corvo returned after initially leaving and punched the woman, who was later treated for bruises and swelling on her face, and then kicked her when she fell to the ground, prosecutors said.
Allen and Cooke will look outclassed, but a solid Canuck D and continued offensive balance will be the difference.
Canucks - Bertuzzi (2) (1 on PP), Salo (PP), H. Sedin, Linden (empty net)
Kings - Allison, Stumpel, Deadmarsh (lol) - well, at least Stumpel is probable for tonight, but he had a baby this morning and may not play. OK - Klatt, Ziggy, Belanger
Shots - Canucks 28 Kings 26
According to Hobo's calculations, if you apply all a player's salary only to time actually playing during regular season games, Todd Bertuzzi will be paid approximately $75 US, or a cool $100 cdn for every single second he is on the ice tonight. Total pay while serving a minor penalty: $12,000.00. If he spends the same 144 minutes in the box he did last season total compensation for serving penalties: $864,000.00 cdn. Sweet.