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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Pittsburgh- Feb 12/17

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One shot can change a season. For the Canucks, that one shot could be the one Bo Horvat blocked in the last minute of Sunday's 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Now, their leading goal scorer is out, at least for tonight as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

4:00 AM PT - PPG Paints Arena- Pittsburgh, PA

TV: SNP - Radio: TSN 1040

It ended being probably the most entertaining game on the trip so far. We had a vintage Alex Burrows game (and a colossal over-reaction by giant red crybaby Trumpkin Robin Lehner), a 2 goal performance from Micheal Chaput and another goal from the power play. And none of that matters, because of what happened in the last minute. If Bo Horvat is seriously injured,  the ripple effect could impact what happens at the trade deadline. Right now they're calling him day to day, but considering how things have gone with players on the Canucks being injured, I am not treating that as gospel.

Canucks
CATEGORY
Penguins
25-25-6 SEASON RECORD 34-13-7
56 Points 75
6th Division Position 2nd
Won 1 Streak OT 1
2.34 (27)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
3.54 (1)
2.82 (18)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.83 (19)
15.6 (27) Power Play % 22.2 (4)
79.0 (23) Penalty Kill % 79.0 (24)
52.0 (6) Faceoff Win % 47.9 (25)
8.2 (24)
Shooting % 10.3 (5)
48.7 (22)
Corsi For % 50.4 (13)
99.2 (20)
PDO 101.5 (5)

Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com

THE OPPOSITION

Lots of attention tonight on Sidney Crosby, as he currently sits at 998 career points, and riding a 2 game pointless streak. It's like they wait for the Canucks to roll around so they can get their milestones against Vancouver, right? Add in that Evgeni Malkin could be returning to the Penguins lineup tonight, and it's not looking good for Vancouver's chances.

Pittsburgh's gotten points in their last 6 games, and are battling hard to finish 1st overall as they prepare to defend their title as Stanley Cup Champions. They'll be a team to watch at the deadline, as they may try and load up for the playoffs. I wonder if they'll try and move Marc-Andre Fleury now that Matt Martin has emerged as a better option for them?

THE CANUCKS

Okay, you're taking on the defending Champs. You have lost Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, and quite possibly Brandon Sutter for the game. That is 3 of your top scorers out of the lineup. And you're replacing Horvat with Brendan Gaunce, who has 0 goals this season. Yeah, it's looking pretty bleak. And if the injury to Horvat is long term, prepare for this team to blow things up. Horvat's loss isn't just the offense he brings, but his defensive side will be sorely missed by the Canucks. Sutter will be a game time decision for the Canucks.

Ryan Miller gets the start tonight, looking to rebound from what was not his best outing in Boston on Saturday. One thing that's gonna help him is the defense of the Canucks actually, you know, playing some defense. A win will move the Canucks within 2 points of the LA Kings and that last wild card slot. A loss moves them closer to some tough choices at the trade deadline.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Some new Overkill for ya today, off their latest album 'The Grinding Wheel', here's Goddamn Trouble!