The Canucks host the surprising New York Islanders in their final game before the 2019 NHL trade deadline.NEXT GAME: SATURDAYNew York Islanders at Vancouver Canucks7 p.m., Rogers Arena, TV: CBC, Sportsnet; Radio: Sportsnet 650 AMTHE BIG MATCHUPMathew Barzal vs. Brock BoeserIf Brock Boeser didn’t get hurt last year, he might have had a chance to pry the Calder Memorial Trophy away from Mathew Barzal in the late going. One season later, Boeser’s on a point-per-game pace and Barzal’s close behind.FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME1. Those shotsThe Canucks have been looking to only fire shots from prime scoring areas this season. That’s a good plan, since they don’t get a lot of shots in general. The Isles, on the other hand, get a lot of shots off — and most of them are from prime scoring areas.2. The big DNo team has given up fewer goals this season than the Islanders. With all the talk about how the Islanders are succeeding despite the loss of John Tavares, the real story has nothing to do with offence — the Isles have scored only two more goals than the Canucks — and everything to do with defence.New York has given up just 106 goals against at even strength. The Canucks have yielded 141.3. GoaltendingThe performance of Jacob Markstrom has given the Canucks a chance to win every night. That’s a big part of why they remain in the turtle derby mix that is the Western Conference playoff chase.But the Islanders have far and away the league’s best goaltending — a .924 save percentage — which isn’t a surprise given how few goals they conceded and how good they are at keeping shooters out of the prime scoring areas.4. Sputtering PPThe power play has been discussed plenty this week. Last week, too. The Canucks’ power play is not working. Even Elias Pettersson was lacking for shooting opportunities Thursday as the visiting Arizona Coyotes kept the Canucks’ five-man unit under pressure all night.Penalty killing is one chink in the Isles’ armour, so the home team has a shot to get back on track.5. Home cookingHometown boy Barzal is having a nice sophomore season — he has 50 points in 60 games. And he’ll surely be looking forward to performing in front of friends and family. When the Canucks visited Brooklyn in November, he posted two assists, matching his tally from last season in Vancouver.
New Canuck Ryan Spooner looks to get rolling in his second game with Vancouver on a top line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. But points will be at a premium against a solid Isles defence.
Gerry Kahrmann /
CANUCKS’ LINESLW – C – RWRyan Spooner — Elias Pettersson — Brock BoeserJosh Leivo — Bo Horvat — Tyler MotteAntoine Roussel — Adam Gaudette — Markus GranlundLoui Eriksson — Jay Beagle — Tim SchallerDefence pairingsBen Hutton — Troy StecherDerrick Pouliot — Alex BiegaAshton Sautner — Erik GudbransonGoalies: Jacob Markstrom, Marek MazanecISLANDERS’ LINESLW – C – RWAnders Lee — Brock Nelson — Jordan EberleTom Kuhnhackl — Mathew Barzal — Josh BaileyAnthony Beauvillier — Valtteri Filppula — Leo KomarovMatt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal ClutterbuckDefence pairingsNick Leddy — Johnny BoychukAdam Pelech — Ryan PulockDevon Toews — Scott MayfieldGoalies: Robin Lehner, Thomas GreissSICK BAYCanucks: Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome), Thatcher Demko (knee), Alex Edler (concussion), Brandon Sutter (groin), Chris Tanev (ankle), Jake Virtanen (ribs)Islanders: NoneSPECIAL TEAMSPower playCanucks: 15.5% (26th)Islanders: 17% (24th)Penalty killCanucks: 80% (18th)Islanders: 79.9% (20th)email@example.com/risingactionCLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org