Vancouver Canucks (16-17-4) vs St Louis Blues (13-15-4)
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
When: 7:00 pm PST
Where to Watch: Sportsnet Pacific
SB Nation Opposition Blog: St Louis Game Time
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Well, the DoPS and the NHL are pretty pathetic when it comes to things like justice, rule interpretation and consistency. We know this. We’ve known this for years and yet, every time this happens, we gather at the gates, eagerly awaiting the messenger from the Royal Palace who will ride in and tell us that our concerns have been heard and duly addressed. And each time, we’re told to go away. It’s almost comical, when it’s not embarrassing that we continually assume they’ll do what’s right. Let’s go back in time and look at a similar hit, shall we?
And now the hit by Danick Martel on Troy Stecher.
What the DoPS has said was that the head was not the primary point of contact, but the video certainly doesn’t jive with that. And even if the INITIAL point of contact is the shoulder, numerous past suspensions have outlined the PRIMARY point of contact as being the reason for discipline. The strangest thing about it all is that in this bit Ray Ferraro explains that you’re allowed to hit from the blindside. And it’s true there’s no rule about blindside hits in the rulebook by definition. Yet in the Edler suspension video, angle of attack is outlined as one of the reasons for discipline, and how many suspension videos have we seen over the years where the hit is determined to be illegal because it wasn’t a North/South hit? You know, like this one where Gabriel Landeskog got a two game suspension?
Anyway, we’ll await further updates and focus on the game at hand. The last time these two teams met, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser had themselves a game. A hat trick for The Flow and a 5 point afternoon from Dekey Pete in a 6-1 Canucks win on the road is quite likely still very fresh in the minds of this St Louis team who have won 3 of their last 4 since that game on Dec 9th, including wins over Colorado and most recently a 4-1 win over the Oilers in Edmonton.
If the Blues start getting their proverbial shit together, it won’t be a surprise to see them pass the Canucks in the standings, they currently hold 5 games in hand on the Canucks and will continue to do so into the Christmas break. Sitting 6 points back, they can easily catch them and keep pushing to try and get back into a Wild Card position after what’s been looking like a lost season for the Blues.
The Canucks will bring Alex Biega (probably) back into the lineup to replace Stecher. Biega’s likely the better option, as this game has the potential to be a feisty affair like Tuesday’s matchup against Tampa. When your last game against an opponent has your star player issuing an apology to the fans for how poorly you played, I am pretty sure there will be some kind of message-sending going on. Biega’s a better option should things get a little snarly than Michael Del Zotto in that respect. The Blues are without Alex Pietrangelo, which is a big loss for them. They still have a pretty solid D-core though, and are one of the better penalty killing teams in the NHL on a night where the Canucks will be looking to do some power play damage after going 0-6 against Tampa with the man advantage.
From The Province, here’s what the lines should look like tonight:
LW – C – RW
Antoine Roussel – Bo Horvat – Loui Eriksson
Josh Leivo – Elias Pettersson – Brock Boeser
Nikolay Goldobin – Adam Gaudette – Jake Virtanen
Markus Granlund – Jay Beagle – Tyler Motte
Alex Edler – Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton – Erik Gudbranson
Derrick Pouliot – Alex Biega
Goalies: Jacob Markstrom, Anders Nilsson
LW – C – RW
Jaden Schwartz – Brayden Schenn – Vladimir Tarasenko
Alex Steen – Ryan O’Reilly – David Perron
Patrick Maroon – Tyler Bozak — Robert Thomas
Jordan Nolan — Ivan Barbashev – Oskar Sundqvist
Joel Edmundson – Colton Parayko
Jay Bouwmeester – Robert Bortuzzo
Vince Dunn – Chris Butler
Goalies: Jake Allen, Jordan Binnington
Canucks: Sven Baertschi (concussion), Brandon Sutter (shoulder), Troy Stecher (concussion)
Blues: Robby Fabbri (shoulder), Erik Foley (concussion), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body), Alex Pietrangelo (hand)
Canucks: 18.2% (20th), Blues: 21.8% (13th)
Canucks: 77.4% (22nd), Blues: 83.0% (6th)
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Usually I give you a track, but this time it’s a whole album. For those of you who like the heavy stuff, Calgary’s KATAPLEXIS have dropped their new one and it’s freaking amazing. It’s available on all formats from their bandcamp page, so go support some awesome Canadian metal. Give it to Grandma for Christmas!