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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 48: Canucks vs Buffalo

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Is it caution or a setback? Canucks once again without Elias Pettersson as their expansion cousins come to town.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (21-21-6) vs Buffalo Sabres (24-17-6)

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC

When: 7:00 pm PST

Where to Watch: SNP

SB Nation Opposition Blog: Die By The Blade

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Gotta hand it to ol’ Jimbo. Sure, he’s made a number of questionable signings over his tenure, but he’s at least trying to clean up the mess. His most recent move was finding someone to take Michael Del Zotto for a player and a pick. And this is a decent move even if it never sees Luke Schenn sent up from Utica. He’ll definitely help the Comets as they head towards the AHL playoffs. And there’s an argument to be made that even though that a guy who has been in the AHL all season is a serviceable replacement for Erik Gudbranson or Derrick Pouliot. The Canucks retained a small portion of his cap hit, but heading into the trade deadline they’ve got some cap space to play with should they decide to get some help for a playoff run, or accumulate more in a sell off to ensure they can get Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko signed to deals that are going to keep them locked in for a good while.

Apart from Elias Pettersson not being ready to return again tonight (and the quashing of a Pettersson/Rasmus Dahlin head to head matchup) the Canucks also have Bo Horvat to think about. Horvat suffered a mild charley horse in the loss to the Oilers though he did finish the game. Having gone 10 games without a goal already, being banged up seems like a less than ideal situation for the future Captain to be in if he wishes to break this slump.

It also looks like Jacob Markstrom will start again tonight for the Canucks. It’s hard to argue with their logic, as Markstrom has been probably the most surprising story for the Canucks this season. They do have an afternoon game on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings, so maybe that will be what it takes to get Demko a start. In the meantime, the Canucks can at least feel confident that Markstrom continues to give them a chance to win every night.

Here’s some pregame reading for you: Ed Willes on the massive improvements to Markstrom’s game this season... While Horvat is good to go tonight, the Canucks are playing it cautious and calling up Tanner Kero from Utica... NM’ers who live in Victoria: you might wanna grab some Royals tickets for tonight’s game

Friend of the blog Ron MacLean said some nice stuff about us recently, but uh... really, Ron?

Dangerous as in a lot of times teams that sweep in the first round go on to regret it in the next one... This story from the Buffalo News is adorable, because they frame it as EP being Dahlen’s “competition” for the Calder Trophy... Some background on Tanner Kero, who’s been having himself a fine season for the Comets...

Here’s what we should see in terms of lineups (from The Province)

Canucks game day lines

Forwards

Sven Baertschi — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser

Antoine RousselBrandon SutterJake Virtanen

Tim SchallerMarkus GranlundJosh Leivo

Loui ErikssonJay BeagleTyler Motte

Defence

Alex Edler — Chris Tanev

Ben HuttonTroy Stecher

Derrick Pouliot — Erik Gudbranson

Goal

Jacob Markstrom — Thatcher Demko

Sabres game day lines

Forwards

Jeff SkinnerJack EichelSam Reinhart

Conor ShearyCasey MittelstadtTage Thompson

Vladimir SobotkaEvan RodriguesJason Pominville

Zemgus GirgensonsJohan LarssonKyle Okposo

Defence

Rasmus Dahlin — Zach Bogosian

Lawrence PilutRasmus Ristolainen

Marco ScandellaJake McCabe

Goal

Carter HuttonLinus Ullmark

Sick bay

Canucks: Elias Pettersson (MCL knee sprain, IR), day-to-day; Sabres: Casey Nelson (upper body IR)

Special teams

Power play

Canucks: 21st (17.3%); Sabres: 22nd (17.2%)

Penalty kill

Canucks: 23rd (78.3%); Sabres: 9th (82.1%)

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Upstate New York has one of the better underground metal scenes, with the area producing acts like Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Brutal Truth among others. Brutal Truth is the legendary grindcore act featuring Dan Lilker, a metal legend in his own right (Anthrax, S.O.D., Nuclear Assault being the most famous). Back in 2014 Lilker announced he was retiring from being a full time recording/touring musician, but it didn’t last long. Rochester’s BLURRING features Lilker alongside NAPALM DEATH touring guitarist Eric Burke. Here’s their 2017 EP ‘Cloud Burner’. Enjoy the game...