KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Archibald’s arrival
Darren Archibald’s signing and recall from the Utica Comets is important for a couple of reasons. One, the Canucks didn’t trade for a Derek Dorsett type, they signed the guy they had in the organization. Two, the team is soft. And it’s been in need of a player who can physically have an impact.
2. Vanek with the Sedins
Asked who has looked the best with the Sedins, head coach Travis Green didn’t have an answer. He’s cycled through multiple wingers and none have had sustained success. The Sedins have had a lot of evenstrength possession, but not a lot of even-strength goals. They could use a finisher. Maybe Thomas Vanek will be on his game.
3. Sutter assignment
The Lightning will get last change, so Tampa may look to pit its top line against the Canucks’, which is currently centred by Bo Horvat. With Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov on the same line, you know exactly what Green wants to do. He wants Brandon Sutter on the ice as much as possible against them.
4. Canucks defence
They signed Michael Del Zotto and traded for Derrick Pouliot, but this defence is worse than last year’s. And that’s with one of Alex Edler’s best seasons in some time. A healthy Erik Gudbranson hasn’t helped. Neither has Ben Hutton.
5. Goalie battle
No one is going to be surprised if Jacob Markstrom gets another start. Since Dec. 28, two goalies have started more games. Markstrom has a .913 save percentage in that span, which is good for him. Unfortunately, it ranks 39th in the NHL over that time frame.