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Game Day Preview #22, Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings

Guess who’s on a eight-game losing streak? (Hint: Not us!)

NHL: Preseason-Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 7:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Nucks Misconduct

Goalie Non-troversy

Can you even have a goalie controversy when you’re down to playing your number three and four goalies?

Cal Petersen got the hook on Wednesday after allowing six goals on 31 shots over the course of a little more than two periods. It’s clear he still has some work to do on speeding up reaction times, particularly with his glove hand, before he becomes a true NHL-level player.

With Petersen struggling, is the answer Peter Budaj? Probably not — Budaj allowed one goal on three shots in relief, and was in net during the team’s previous “is this what rock bottom looks like” outing against the Maple Leafs, where he allowed four goals on 19 shots.

By all accounts, Petersen is a player who can cope with the mental side of the game. He doesn’t seem to let bad losses weigh on him, so if the goal is to keep Petersen playing to get him used to the pace of the game at the NHL level, then he might as well keep playing. Budaj probably isn’t the better option, at this point.

The Kids Are Alright

Literally the only bright spot of Wednesday’s game was seeing Matt Luff and Austin Wagner get on the board. Willie Desjardins told Matt Luff that he wanted to see him work harder, whenever he was previously returned to Ontario, and Luff seems to have taken that message to heart. It’s easy to imagine Wagner getting a similar message, too.

Luff’s definitely been one of the hardest workers on the ice since he came back up. With the season already looking perilously lost, it’s probably about time to let the kids loose. See what they’ve got. If the veteran players aren’t going to lead the way, maybe it’s up to the kids to show what it looks like to play with pride for your team. All of these kids have something to prove, so why not now?

If there’s not going to be much else to look forward to about this season other than the prospect of a lottery ball at the end of it, then I say let the kids play. Maybe they’ll create a little havoc and a little chaos and at least make games interesting.

The Opposition

The best part about this game might be getting to watch what Canucks rookie phenom Elias Pettersson can do. In an ideal world, he wouldn’t get to do anything because the Kings would be able to prevent him from being an impact player. That is possibly not going to be the case tonight, with this version of the Kings, at this specific time, so just enjoy the ride of getting to see the potential Calder winner in action this early in the season.

Okay, but really, though.

The Canucks are in a bit of a free-fall at the moment; it wasn’t too long ago that they sat atop the Pacific standings, but they’re coming right on back to earth now. After their hot start to the season, the Canucks have lost nine of their last ten (they’re 1-7-2 in that span). They can still score — they’ve scored two or more goals in seven of the nine losses — but are having trouble keeping the puck out of their own net. It’s not that they’re giving up a wild number of shots, either. Over their last 10 games, the Canucks have taken 301 shots and allowed 326. They’re just not stopping the pucks from getting through.

The Canucks are going to come in tonight motivated to end their eight-game losing streak, and to try to right the ship after a 4-0 loss to San Jose last night. The Kings have done good work on putting away equally mediocre teams lately, so perhaps a win over the Canucks will help put them back on track. “Feel-good win over the Vancouver Canucks” certainly isn’t what we wanted for this season, but at this point, we’ll take it.

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