Scouting Report: Vancouver Canucks
CALGARY, AB -- Over the past 10 games, only one team in the National Hockey League -- the Anaheim Ducks -- has been hotter than the John Tortorella-led Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks have taken 17 of a possible 20 points over that span, have eight wins to show for their efforts and enter Sunday’s game against the Calgary Flames winners of their past two.
It’s helped Vancouver gain some traction in an ultra-competitive Western Conference, bumping the team up to sixth, though the team still remains as a wild card as the fourth-best team in the Pacific Division.
This Season: 22-11-6, 50 points (6th in West)
Last Season: 26-15-7, 59 points (3rd in West)
Flames Season Series Record: 0-0-1
Though he’s only collected nine points in 33 games this season, two of Kassian’s points have come in his past two games -- including an assist on Christopher Tanev’s game-winner over the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 22nd. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound winger had just one point, an assist, in his past 12 games before getting on the score sheet in back-to-back outings.
Though he paces the Canucks with 15 goals and is third on the team with 26 points, Kesler has failed to register on the score sheet in his past four games. His last point, an assist, came on Dec. 14th against the Boston Bruins while the 29-year-old hasn’t found the back of the net since Dec. 8th.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Lack is expected to get the crease call for the Canucks with Roberto Luongo battling injury. In 11 games this season, the 6-foot-4 stopper is 6-2-1 with a 1.93 goals against average and .928 save percentage. He’s won his last four decisions, too.
With just two goals in 38 games this year, offence isn’t Sestito’s game. The 26-year-old’s role is clearly defined on the Canucks, as evident in his NHL-leading 10 fighting majors. The 6-foot-5, 228-pound Sestito could make it 11 if he’s willing to go Brian McGrattan on Sunday.
Santorelli’s offensive production has been a pleasant surprise for the Canucks this season. The 28-year-old is well on his way to eclipsing his 41-point career high established with the Florida Panthers in 2010-11. Santorelli has eight goals (two against the Flames) and 26 points in 39 games.