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THE ROUNDUP- Oct 22/18: A Visit From The Champs, Elias’ Brain, (Tampa) Florida Men Go Crazy, and More...

Is he ready to go? Still a lot of questions about Elias Pettersson’s recovery process as the Canucks prepare to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals tonight.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Edited to include Elias Pettersson update and trying not to be too excited!

CANUCKS NEWS: It’s still pretty remarkable when you look back at the Caps run last spring. The fact that Alex Ovechkin and Co. were able to kill off one of the 200 Hockey Men’s favorite narratives once and for all still makes me laugh. And with that long awaited victory, comes the pressure. Heavy crowns and all that, right? When you’re the defending champs, every game is a special one for the other 31 teams. They all want to knock you off, and it’s not surprising to see teams get up for these games a little more than say, a home game on a Tuesday night against Arizona (sorry ‘Yotes, but you’re not in the same category here).

The Canucks head into this game feeling pretty good, and they should be. Winners of 4 of their last 5 contests, including a pretty emotional OT win over the Bruins Saturday night (aren’t they all?), they’ve done pretty well without the player who was definitely stirring the drink in games 1 through 5. A couple notes about that game. When Bo Horvat is named Captain next season, you can pretty much look back to this game as the reason why. From his fight against Noel Acciari (which for a guy with 3 career fights dating back to his junior career), to the OT winner on that brilliant feed from Brock Boeser, that was Horvat channeling Trevor Linden in his prime. And for those of us who actually witnessed Linden in the first part of his career, he was very much the kind of player Horvat is developing into. He’s not gonna drop the gloves every night, and lord knows we don’t want him to. But he showed everyone on that bench, at a time where there are questions about this team and their willingness to stand up for themselves and each other, that he will answer the bell. I’m still not a big fan of fighting, but he was challenged on a clean but hard hit and made Acciari regret that. Getting the winner in extra time was just a storybook ending on a memorable game for Bo.

Now I don’t want to freak anyone out, but I would like to say I thought Brandon Sutter had a hell of a game Saturday night, maybe one of his best as a Canuck. While I am not going to buy his jersey or start humming the words to his (ahem) goal song, the job he did on arguably the best center in the NHL Saturday night, limiting that line’s shots and keeping them off the score sheet. Brad Marchand was a non-factor in the game, and that’s not something that gets said often, especially against the Canucks.

Here’s what you need to know heading into tonight’s tilt:

We’re going to get an update from Elias Pettersson later today, but he is on the ice with the team this morning:

In the meantime, he says he feels good. K.

Yes, the Canucks are off to a great start. And yes, I do think it’s all going to fall apart at some point because the defence is terrible

The Utica Comets sellout streak is now the longest in AHL history. The Georgia Straight took a deeper look into what it means for the parent club... A great look at Nikolay Goldobin’s season so far from a statistical viewpoint by Canucks Army’s Darryl Keeping... In Travis Green’s 2nd season as Canucks head coach, it’s important that he gets the right reads on players in his lineup... Coming off a good run from Anders Nilsson and a great bounce back game from Jacob Markstrom, TSN’s Jamie McLennan on new goalie coach Ian Clark’s role... And here’s the pregame links from our pals over at Japers Rink...

AROUND THE NHL: If you can get at least 33 shots on goal in a game, you might win more of them than you lose. If you get 33 in a period? You might win because of the other team’s goalie dying of exhaustion. The Tampa Bay Lightning set an NHL record last night with 33 shots in the 2nd period on Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks. Just to put this in perspective: The Hawks had 36 shots for the game. The current average per game is 28.4 shots. And Tampa only beat Crawford 3 times in the second! Amazing... The New York Rangers continue to be pretty bad, dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Calgary Flames. Johnny Gaudreau and Garnet Hathaway each scored twice for the Flames, and David Rittich stopped 44 Rangers shots for the win... The Buffalo Sabres came back from a 2-0 deficit against the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks and walked out with a 4-2 win. Jeff Skinner had his 5th of the season in that one, as the Sabres moved back above the .500 mark.