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Preview: Game Day #71, Canucks @ Kings

The UNDISPUTED MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE SEASON until April 6.

According to the caption, this was a bodycheck.
According to the caption, this was a bodycheck.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings (Staples Center)

Time: 1:00 PM PST

TV: Fox Sports West, SportsNet West

Enemy Reading: Nucks Misconduct

Projected Lineups:

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik–Kopitar–Brown
King–Carter–Toffoli
Clifford–Lewis–Williams
Nolan–Shore–Andreoff

Muzzin–Doughty
Regehr–Sekera
Martinez–Greene

Quick
(Jones)

Scratched: McBain, McNabb; Injured: Pearson, Stoll; Suspended: Voynov

Vancouver Canucks

Sedin–Sedin–Burrows
Matthias–Bonino–Vrbata
Higgins–Vey–Dorsett
Kenins–Horvat–Hansen

Edler–Tanev
Hamhuis–Weber
Sbisa–Bieksa

Lack
(Markstrom)

Scratched: McMillan, Clendening; Injured: Kassian, Bieksa, Richardson, Higgins, Weber, Miller


Obligatory Standings Update (as of March 20, 2015)


Pacific Division Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Anaheim P 73 46 20 7 99 38
2 Vancouver P 70 40
26 4 84 36
3 Calgary P 71 39 27 5 84 35
4 Los Angeles P 70
34 22 14 82
32
5 San Jose P 71
35 28 8 78 32

Wild Card Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Minnesota C 71 39 25 7 85 36
2 Winnipeg C 71
36 23 12 84 29
3 Los Angeles P 70
34 22 14 82
32
4 San Jose P 71 35 28 8 78 32
5 Colorado C 71 33 26 12 78 24
6 Dallas C 71 33 28 10 76 30

Game Notes:

  • Technically, at this point, a 95-point pace is no longer good enough to make the playoffs. (Calgary has the ninth-best point pace in the West; their current pace is 95.8 points over a full season.)
  • Of course, there are still enough games remaining in which potential playoff teams face each other that one of these five bubble teams will probably finish below 95. For instance, Winnipeg has two games against Vancouver and one each against Calgary and Minnesota in their final 11; if they don't fall off the pace, they'll knock someone else down a bit.
  • LA actually has the exact same scenario as Winnipeg's outlined above; two against Vancouver, one against Calgary, one against Minnesota.
  • Three Western Conference teams have 84 points in 71 games. That's where LA is if they win today.
  • Still waiting with bated breath for news on whether Alec Martinez will make his long-awaited return to the lineup today. If he does they might look like the above; if he doesn't, they'll probably be the same as last game's.
  • Since the teams' last matchup, Vancouver got Kevin Bieksa and Yannick Weber back on the blue line, but has lost First Line Zack Kassian (temporarily) to a back injury. I preferred not having Alex Burrows on the first line, though  Burrows has been quiet this season, with 28 points in 58 games, though he had two crucial goals in the Canucks' win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
  • That was followed by a 6-2 loss to Columbus, which has caused a lot of concern in Canucksland.
  • PREDICTION: Today's game causes more concern in Canucksland.