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7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST7:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET0:00 BRT, February 25, 2019
Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia  Attendance: 18,542

Ducks, Canucks meet facing opposite issues

Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks

  1. The Ducks have won six of the last seven meetings with the Canucks including both games this season. Anaheim has held Vancouver to one goal or fewer in five of those seven games with three shutouts, including a 1-0 win on February 13 in Anaheim.
  2. The Ducks dropped back-to-back games, each by a 2-1 score line, on Friday in Calgary and Saturday in Edmonton. With 20 games remaining this season, the Ducks have scored just 136 goals, their second fewest through 62 games of a season all-time (135 in 2003-04; minimum 62 games played in season).
  3. The Canucks were shut out by the Islanders at home on Saturday, their NHL-worst eighth goose egg this season. Vancouver has been shut out eight or more times in each of the last four seasons and 35 times in total since 2015-16. The next closest team, Philadelphia, has been shut out 26 times.
  4. Rickard Rakell led the Ducks with 69 points in 77 games last season (0.90 points per game). He has 26 points in 49 games this season (0.53 points per game). His decline of 0.37 points per game is the sixth-largest drop in the NHL from last season (minimum 50% of team games played each season).
  5. Elias Pettersson has been held without a point in back-to-back player games for the first time since November 23. He has been held scoreless in two games against the Ducks this season.
  6. The Ducks have had a total of 46 different skaters play at least one game for them this season, the most in the NHL this season and already the most in a single season in team history. The Canucks have had 37 different skaters play at least one game this season, the fifth most in the league.

As Monday's NHL trade deadline looms, the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks are thinking about other things.

Neither team is expected to do much on the trade front. The Canucks are in the midst of a full rebuild, and the Ducks are just beginning one, so a deadline deal for someone to help late this season is unlikely in each case.

So as they prepare to face each other in Vancouver on Monday night, the Canucks and Ducks goals remain about ... goals, scoring and preventing them.

The Canucks, whose already slim playoff hopes are fading quickly, would like to score more. Vancouver has lost three straight and been shut out twice in its past five games.

"We're grinding right now," winger Tyler Motte told reporters. "It is hard to stay positive. Now's the time of the season when you have to get points regardless of how you play. That's the point of playing hockey right now. Whether it's the bounces or whatever, you can't make excuses. You've got to find a way to get points. You've got to find ways to win games.

Following Saturday's 4-0 home loss to the New York Islanders, the Canucks are 2-6-2 in their past eight games.

"We need to score important goals at this time of the year," Canucks center Bo Horvat told reporters. "I put that on myself and guys in here that do produce for your team. I've got to bury those pucks."

Meanwhile, the Ducks have been thinking more about preventing goals. They have renewed their dedication to defense in the six games since general manager Bob Murray took over behind the bench after firing coach Randy Carlyle.

Although the Ducks have lost two straight games, they are 3-3 under Murray and have allowed only nine goals in those six games. By comparison, they allowed 37 goals in the seven games (all losses) prior to Carlyle's dismissal.

"We've just tightened everything up," defenseman Josh Manson told The Orange County Register recently. "Everybody understands things a little better now. There's a little bit more clarity. It's funny. I've been thinking, Why has it changed so much? Why has it been so drastic?

"It's like Jan. 1 hits and people start going on diets like it's their resolution. Why weren't you just doing it before?"

According to Manson, the coaching change has also had an effect.

"A couple of things have changed in our system, so that has something to do with it, too," he told the Register. "That's a big part of it. We want to make sure we're not giving up easy chances around the net. We're making sure there's no opportunities."

But the Ducks also need to create more offense. They have been shut out six times and scored three goals or fewer in 37 games. Before he fixes things, Murray is evaluating players for next season.

Center Sam Steel, 21, is getting a chance to showcase his skills after being called up from San Diego of the AHL to replace captain Ryan Getzlaf, who has missed two games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Winger Max Jones, another 21-year-old who has spent most of this season with San Diego, is also looking to improve his full-time NHL employment hopes.

Murray is "looking for guys to stand out right now," Jones told the Register. "I think that's what I'm trying to do. Next year is a whole other year, a whole other season, I'm not worried about that right now."

Jones will likely not have to focus on the Canucks, though. He is expected to be returned to San Diego temporarily in order to meet a deadline to be eligible for the AHL playoffs.

But he should be back in the NHL again soon, when the trade deadline is over for another year.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 24, 2019

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