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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Canadiens

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A solemn night in Montreal, as a day after his wake, the Canadiens take to the ice for the first time since the passing of Habs legend Jean Beliveau.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Time Tuesday 4:30 PM PST
TV Sportsnet Pacific
Season Series 1-0-0 Canucks
Last Meeting
3-2 OT Canucks Oct 30/14
The Enemy Eyes On The Prize Scoring Leaders D. Sedin: 7-19-26
M. Pacioretty 12-8-20

Canucks
CATEGORY
Canadiens
18-8-2 SEASON RECORD 17-10-2
38 Points 36
2nd Conference Position 5th
OT 1
Streak Lost 3
3.04 (7)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.41 (22)
2.75 (121)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.59 (14)
18.7 (16) Power Play % 14.5 (24)
85.4 (6) Penalty Kill % 83.8 (10)
49.0 (20) Faceoff Win % 55.0 (1)
10.7 (19) PIM / GP 11.7 (24)
50.7 (14) Corsi For % 48.5 (22)
99.9 (15) PDO 100.1 (14)

If there's one thing you can say about the Montreal Canadiens, it's that there isn't a team in sports who can touch them when it comes to pregame ceremonies. They just do things so right every single time, and tonight's farewell to one of the true greats of the game will be no exception. I highly recommend you spend some time over at our friends Eyes On The Prize today, they will be able to help you get a better appreciation for what Beliveau meant to the Habs and to the game of hockey.

After that, there's still a game to be played, and let's face it folks: this is not going to end well. Just like the Ottawa match, it will be the 3rd game in 4 nights for the Canucks, and facing a fired up (and well-rested) Habs squad, I can't see the Canucks getting out of this one with one point, let alone two. But let's chat about this weekend, shall we?

First off, it never ceases to amaze me how the fan base (spurred on by the media) seem to have such short-term memories when it comes to this team. Yes, they've had a season that so far has exceeded expectations, but when exactly did we stop viewing the team as one that's performing better than we thought, and instead perceiving them as one with the lofty goals from 3 or 4 years ago? To see people losing their minds over the way these weekend games went is frustrating as hell. They ran into a hot goalie in Toronto. Yes, there were some issues there. Ryan Miller wasn't sharp, and the Leafs were given some glorious opportunities that they made the most of. These kinds of games happen. The way some reacted, you'd think we'd never seen it before.

The next night in Ottawa? 3rd game in 4 nights, and lucky to be up 3-0, they ran out of gas killing penalties all night long thanks to an officiating crew that seemed hell-bent on ticky-tack calls. The fact they got a point in that game is a good thing, though you'd hardly know it. Also, let's just get this out there now: If you're using the words 'goalie controversy' and your tongue is not firmly planted in your cheek, you're a moron. Seriously, folks... the bar has been set so low for outrage at our own team it's embarrassing. This is a re-tooling season. There are adjustments being made that are all about the long term goals of the team. No amount of success in the moment changes that. Miller is working with a new goaltending coach, who is trying to make some adjustments in his style. You'd think the number of wins could buy him an ounce of slack, but in this Twitterized world where it's easier to spit out 140 character 'hot takes' that leave no room for logic, this is where we find ourselves. Team Miller? Team Lack? Grow the hell up. This isn't the same, where it took a couple years for the situation to develop. It's not business as usual in Vancouver, we knew that going in. Give the team, these coaches and management time to retool the identity of the team. The way they've played so far has earned that much.

We also need to talk about Shawn Matthias. I think the Canucks need to come clean about what horrible thing he's done to Stephane Quintal, because I cannot for the life of me determine any  other reason that the head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety gave a free pass to another head shot against him. Both the one from Stephane Robidas Saturday night, and one earlier in the year from Mike Ribeiro were blatant checks to the head. Though he escaped injury against Ribeiro, Matthias didn't return against the Leafs, didn't play Sunday, and seeing that he's on the ice alone this morning in Montreal, likely won't play again tonight. So how is it that Alex Burrows, a first time offender gets dinged for three games for a late hit, yet these two (who are both classified as repeat offenders) get off with no punishment? For all of the league's talk of taking dangerous, predatory hits out of the game, they've shown once again that the only thing they're consistent with, is inconsistency. These were slam dunks, but the Dept. of Player Safety chose to look the other way.

Finally, I personally pledge to you that I will not let Zandberg take the pregame post when the Leafs make their return visit to Vancouver in the new year. You're all really nice (for the most part) and don't deserve to have Leafs propaganda forced down your throats like that.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

It's hard to believe it's been ten years since the murder of Darrell 'Dimebag' Abbott, gunned down while on stage with Damageplan in a club in Columbus, OH. 10 years and it still hurts. Pantera, and Dime's guitar work forced the music world to have to deal with metal at a time when they were bending over backwards to shout gleefully of it's supposed death, pushing the latest flannel-wearing, just moved to Seattle, pre-emo poseurs and the swill known as 'grunge'. Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were the darlings of radio, but Pantera sold gold and platinum with a fact that remains true to this day: trends come and trends go, but there will always be a place for a solid, heavy riff. There were few ever who could shred like Dime, and I miss the hell out of him.

Impromptu Drinking Games Rules

drink

- 1 Drink: One for Mr. Beliveau.

- 1 Drink: If the Habs even get called for a penalty tonight.

- 2 Drinks: Weise instigates a fight with Dorsett.

- 2 Drinks: Weber keeps his goal scoring streak alive.

- 3 Drinks: Intermission panel shows they're just as lame as hockey twitter re: GC.

- 3 drinks: Burrows steps up and steals this game for us

Parting thoughts from Community