Former Flyers Sam Gagner, Michael Del Zotto and the Canucks head into battle tonight against the somewhat floundering Flyers in game 1 of a crucial 6 game Eastern road swing for Vancouver. The Canucks need to come out on top more often than not if they hope to keep pace in the Pacific, and with word that Derek Dorsett has been sent back home with neck and back stiffness, that may be a tougher task. One thing is for sure, the Canucks are going to need Brandon Sutter to step the hell up and play like the ‘foundational’ player that management believe he is. Pretty timely that Beggsy wrote a post on this today, and I encourage you to check it out.
A number of eyes will be on Jake Virtanen, watching his performance and his ice time, and with Brendan Gaunce taking Dorsett’s spot, you would think that could free up a little more time for Jake.
Via our pals over at Broad Street Hockey, here’s tonight’s projected lineups:
Projected Flyers lineup:
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Weal - Patrick - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Konecny
Leier - Laughton - Lehtera
Provorov - Hagg
Manning - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - Alt
Projected Canucks lineup (via):
Baertschi - Horvat - Boeser
D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Virtanen
Vanek - Granlund - Eriksson
Gagner - Sutter - Gaunce
Edler - Pouliot
Del Zotto - Biega
Hutton - Gudbranson
And yes, we should see Jacob Markstrom back between the pipes tonight. It will be interesting to see if there’s some alternation going on during this trip, and that he’s getting the start tonight. That means we should see Anders Nilsson tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
The Flyers have lost 4 straight, the most recent a rather frustrating OT loss to the Calgary Flames (gross). Much like the Canucks, the Flyers are struggling to score, save of course for Jakob Voracek, Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. They’ll also be without Radko Gudas, who is sitting the 2nd of his ten game suspension for being a giant idiot.
The Flyers will also have Nolan Patrick in the lineup tonight. The much-heralded 2nd overall pick has been out for a bit with an injury but is good to go tonight.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Greek thrashers EXARSIS are back with a new album ‘NEW WAR ORDER’, and after their most recent one (The Human Project), which felt like a bit of a misstep compared to ‘The Brutal State’. Nice to see them back ripping it up.