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GAME DAY PREVIEW- Game 18: Canucks vs New Jersey

Episode 2 of the Battle Of The Hughes Brothers, as the Canucks look to make amends for both the last meeting between these two teams and a pretty awful week in general.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports





To say last week was a jolt back to reality for the Canucks and their fans is a mild understatement. The underlying numbers are still pretty good, but as the strength of their schedule increases, we’re starting to see some familiar and worrying trends showing up in their game.

The defence has been fairly solid all season, but cracks in the armour are appearing, and injuries to Christopher Tanev two games in a row saw the Canucks playing shorthanded on the back end, and when that happens, that means Alexander Edler gets overloaded on minutes. Anyone who’s followed the team for a while knows this leads to problems, and we saw those this week. Add in the scoring and power play sputtering, Jacob Markstrom having his first bad game of the season and just some incredibly bad luck, and that’s the Canucks week for you.

It’s not going to get any easier for them either. 4 games this week, including two against Western powerhouses Nashville and Colorado, before a road trip that takes them right into December. If they don’t get back on track here, with how tight things are in the West in general and the Pacific in particular, the dreams of a playoff spot could fizzle out early, or certainly become far more difficult than they need to be.

LINEUPS (courtesy

Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Jesper Boqvist -- Jack Hughes -- Jesper Bratt

Blake Coleman -- Pavel Zacha -- Nikita Gusev

Miles Wood -- Travis Zajac -- Wayne Simmonds

Damon Severson -- P.K. Subban

Andy Greene -- Matt Tennyson

Will Butcher -- Mirco Mueller

Mackenzie Blackwood

Cory Schneider

Scratched: John Hayden, Kevin Rooney

Injured: Sami Vatanen (undisclosed), Connor Carrick (finger)

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Tanner Pearson

Josh Leivo -- Brandon Sutter -- Jake Virtanen

Tim Schaller -- Jay Beagle -- Loui Eriksson

Alexander Edler -- Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes -- Christopher Tanev

Jordie Benn -- Troy Stecher

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Adam Gaudette, Oscar Fantenberg

Injured: Tyler Motte (foot), Antoine Roussel (knee), Micheal Ferland (concussion protocol)

Sven Baertschi looked pretty good in his first game of the season for the Canucks, and the numbers seem to back that up.

The Devils got off to a bad start, but seemed to turn things around a bit after that 1-0 win over the Canucks. They’re at least playing around .500 hockey right now and that’s a start, anyway. The Canucks are going to have to find a way to figure out MacKenzie Blackwood, who like Connor Hellebuyck on Friday night seems to have some magical power over the Canucks.

It’s also Hockey Fights Cancer day for the Canucks. We’d love it if you could let us know in the comments who you’re thinking of today. As for myself, I’m thinking of my Dad, a prostate cancer survivor (along with two of his brothers), my grandfather, who lost his battle to the disease, and Ian Cooper. You know him as @1Cooop on Twitter, and if you do, you are probably familiar with his battle against colon cancer. Last week he announced the disease has come back, and the prognosis is not good. There’s a Go Fund Me that’s still active, and his family is going to need the help, so if you can, please donate.


Last night on Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry went above and beyond his usual idiocy and straight into unabashed racist and xenophobic garbage in a nonsensical rant about the lack of people wearing poppies for Rememberance Day. We’re not going to post it, it’s out there if you haven’t seen it. but I am adding my voice to those calling on Sportsnet and CBC to take Don Cherry off the air for good. And since we know he reads this blog, to let Ron MacLean know that his lack of pushback to such a disgusting display of racism is extremely disappointing, and something he should apologize for. Even the official Twitter account of Canada’s military tweeted a response throwing some serious shade at Cherry. His outdated, ignorant attitude towards the game, and the people who aren’t white in this country shouldn’t have a platform, let alone one on the nation’s public broadcaster. If hockey’s truly for everyone, then those who resist this need to be called out, and put out to pasture. Times are changing, and there’s no place for people like Don Cherry in the game any longer. So we’ll end this on a perfect note from Propaghandi. Enjoy the game.

And while there’s at least a positive sign, this is far from a good enough response from Sportsnet. We will await further news on this.