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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks vs Montreal Mar 7/17

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After losing in San Jose, the Canucks rattled off 2 straight wins in LA and Anaheim, and let's be honest: they didn't exactly look like world beaters in either of these games. So now they're 6 points back of the last playoff spot and Willie's goin' for it. It's not that he wants to win that's the problem, it's that he believes he can do it on the horse that got him here.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens

7:00 PM PT - Rogers Arena- Vancouver, BC

TV: SNP - Radio: TSN 1040

It's one of those awkward situations the Canucks seem to find themselves in a lot these days. You know in your heart this team has no business being near a playoff spot, and would be better off ensuring they get a solid draft pick to help the (insert whatever phrase to describe rebuilding that doesn't piss off ownership here), and yet when presented with the opportunity to ding the Ducks and especially the Kings as the playoffs draw near, you love that they're spoilers.

The Canucks basically need 7 points to get into the last playoff spot, because they don't win on any possible tiebreaker with any of the teams they're battling against. They're still fairly banged up, including Jacob Markstrom being out another week and Loui Eriksson out for a while now with a lower body injury suffered in the Ducks game. Their schedule is a daunting one for the rest of the month, with games against the likes of the Montreal Canadiens tonight, Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago, Minnesota, Edmonton, and they end the month with visits from... Anaheim and LA.

That is 12 games left in the month of March, and they need to make up 7 points. Look at that schedule and tell me where you see them notching 2 points. Now take Coach Willie Desjardins statement today on giving this team's youth movement, which pretty much stole the California weekend (along with a pretty damn heroic performance by Richard Bachman in Anaheim Sunday) some more ice time down the stretch:


The Canucks odds of making the playoffs are standing at 0.6%. So when Willie says that 'they're 6 out', it looks odd, to be sure. I mean, do I think he looks at sites like Sports Club Stats, that calculate all these odds? Probably not. So, in order to make the post season, they're going to have to finish with at least 85 points. They currently have 63. Therefore, they need to win 11 of their remaining 17 (and any loser points will help, certainly). So if they lose more than 6 regulation games the rest of the way, they're done. Tell me again why this is something to be optimistic about? Given the number of games remaining, the quality of competition they have to face and the ground they have to make up, it certainly seems like they're trying to sell you something they can't deliver. Again.

THE OPPOSITION

And tonight isn't going to help Willie's case much, as the Montreal Canadiens roll into town, looking absolutely dynamite since they fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with ex-Boston coach Claude Julien. Does every team respond to coaching changes like this? No, they do not. But both Montreal and Boston (who are here next week) are going like gangbusters since making their coaching changes. Just something to consider. Now, we're pretty sure that barring a total collapse, Willie is here til the end of the season, as Preznit Trev said as much on 1040 today.


Montreal will be without two pretty prominent members of their lineup tonight:


And BC boy Carey Price will start for the Habs, to the surprise of no one.

THE CANUCKS

Reid Boucher will be back in the lineup tonight, on the 4th line with Joseph Cramarossa and Michael Chaput. Also, check out Goldy on the second line!


Speaking of Nikolay Goldobin, he made an appearance on 1040 and is continuing to win people over with his enthusiasm on and off the ice.


GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

With the Montreal Canadiens in town, we need to pay homage to Quebec's rich metal legacy. From the early days and bands like Voivod, Sword, Aggression, Eudoxis, Dead Brain Cells and tons of great death and thrash bands to the modern day leaders Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Gorguts and others, Quebec's metal history is amazing. Here's some of my Quebec faves: