After a quick trip to California that saw the team manage one point over 2 games, the Canucks return home to face the 3-2-0 Ottawa Senators. Ottawa is coming off of a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday and will be well rested for the first night of their 3 game Western Canadian road trip.
The Bad Guys
Erik Karlsson is the leader on this team in all aspects: #1 defenseman, leading scorer, and Captain. He’s been the heart and soul of this team since the 2011-12 season where he put up 78 points in 81 games. He has 2 Norris Trophy awards (11-12, 14-15) and is considered to be one of the top offensive threats on the blueline that the NHL has ever seen.
This offseason, the Sens went about making an organizational change where they moved young winger Mika Zibanejad and a 2nd round pick in 2018 for veteran Center Derrick Brassard and a 7th round pick in 2018. In the early days of this deal, Brassard has 3 points in 5 games and Zibanejad has 6 points in 6 games… this is starting to look like someone made a big mistake. It’s early, and the trade was made to add depth at Center for Ottawa so we should keep an open mind to this trade… Although they DID go out and acquire Dion Phaneuf last year!
The Good Guys
It didn’t take long for the injury bug to catch up with us now did it? Alex Burrows, Derek Dorsett and now Chris Tanev find themselves on the shelf for varying lengths of time. As a result, Troy Stecher returns to the big club alongside 5th year pro Jayson Megna. It will be interesting to see how these Stecher gets used tonight with the announcement of his immediate infusion into the lineup coming almost immediately upon his promotion.
It appears as though Megna will also be stepping into the lineup and making his regular season Canucks debut. It’s a bet to expect a line of Megna-Gaunce-Virtanen to start the game, but given that Willie has become a man with a lineup blender (at least he’s been more willing to mix it up more than last year) all bets are off after the first few shifts!
Tonight’s game is on SportsNet Vancouver and broadcast on TSN 1040 for your listening pleasure!