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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Vancouver Canucks @ Anaheim Ducks - Nov. 9/17

Ryan Miller gets the start against his former team.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks
Nov 4, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller (30) catches the puck in the air against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. 
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks @ Anaheim Ducks

7:00 p.m. PST, Honda Center, Anaheim, CA

TV: Sportsnet Pacific, Radio: SN 650

Bo Horvat and the boys enjoyed some time at Newport Beach after a nice win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

Don’t get too mad about the boys biking along the beach while we wallow in the wettest month of the year. Even though the Canucks weren’t the better team against the Flames, they were able to sneak out the win after a strong goaltending performance from Jacob Markstrom, along with a strong third period.

Bo Horvat had the game winner in that matchup. As of late, he’s been earning every dollar of that new contract extension. You hope that Horvat’s line with Brock Boeser and Sven Baertschi is able to keep up their success. Horvat and Baertschi have been streaky in their Canuck careers, while Boeser is still an unknown entity.

The Canucks embark on their first California road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. They’re taking on a bruised and banged up Ducks team that has gotten off to a middling start. They’re missing their top two centres in Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler.

Watch out for Derek Grant though.

The Opponent

But seriously though, Derek Grant is putting up points in the absence of Getzlaf and Kesler.

The pride of Abbotsford came into the season with a grand total of seven assists in 86 career games. Now, he’s being fed top line minutes and he’s posted nine points in 15 games.

It’s not like teams are going to gameplan around Grant, but it’s a nice story nestled within that barrage of injuries that is plaguing the Ducks.

The Ducks are truly in a tough situation, and perhaps their streak of winning the division year after year is finally in jeopardy.

Getzlaf and Kesler are sidelined until late in December or early in 2018. Patrick Eaves is suffering from an illness called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Cam Fowler is out, and in the last game, the Ducks lost both Ondrej Kase and starting goaltender John Gibson to head injuries.

Since Reto Berra has been recalled from the AHL, Ryan Miller will get the start against his old team. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Miller got the ol’ 40-shot treatment against the team who hung him out to dry every night?

The Ducks are depleted and the Canucks could be tired with this being their third game in four nights. Something’s gotta give.

The Canucks

Their last game against the Flames wasn’t a masterpiece, but the Canucks were able to get the job done. It was a bit of a lucky game for the Canucks. They were outplayed, they scored on a power play that still looks abysmal, and they got some help from Matt Bartkowski.

Despite giving up three goals, Jacob Markstrom was the reason the Canucks won the game.

It sets up an interesting goaltending battle for tonight. Will Markstrom get to face off against his former teammate? This will be his third game in four nights, which is unfamiliar territory for a goalie who has never been a legitimate starter.

Or, could the Canucks young goaltending protege get his first career NHL start?

Speculation is running astray on Twitter after this tweet from Thatcher Demko’s dad. It would be pretty special for Demko to start his first career game in the arena closest to his home in San Diego.

Demko’s dad did say that he’s on a connecting flight home to San Diego. Do you buy it?

If your Travis Green, do you put Demko in the lineup? He’s sure deserved it with his AHL performance over the past few months dating back to last season. You know Demko is going back down when Anders Nilsson is back, so why not give him a start before his return to Utica?

There’s arguments to be made both ways, but surely most people will be rooting for Demko to get his first start tonight.

Markus Granlund missed the game on Tuesday with the always crystal clear ‘upper-body injury.’ In his place, Brendan Gaunce got his first game of the season in, and he logged a whopping 16:59. It’s clear that Green has lots of trust in Gaunce, so his usage will be interesting to watch moving forward.

Game Day Battle Hymn

Yeah, I’m going generic with everyone’s favourite California band today. It just feels like a Chili’s kind of day here on the West Coast.

I mean, the Canucks have been (halfway) around the world this season already. While everyone thought it would be affecting them, it doesn’t seem to be taking a toll on the team early in the season.

If anything, you wonder if Derek Dorsett brought back cases of that fancy Chinese Red Bull?

Enjoy the game everyone.