Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
When: 7:30 pm PST
Where to Watch: Sportsnet One
SB Nation Opposition Blog: Anaheim Calling
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: So, this has all just been a ton of fun, eh? The Canucks inaction on the organization’s goaltending depth came back to bite them on the ass hard Monday night when the worst case scenario reared its ugly head. And with the news that Jacob Markstrom might be a little more injured than they originally led us to believe means we may not know who’s going to play goal tonight until we see who’s in the crease. Is Jacob Markstrom ready to go? Will they have Marek Mazarek, acquired yesterday for a 7th round pick, ready to roll? Or will they start Michael DiPietro again after his baptism by fire Monday night? It could be any of these situations and none of it inspires confidence. Add in Brandon Sutter once again being hurt (and pretty much eliminating any chance of being able to move him at the trade deadline) and it feels, well... normal. This is how we roll.
And yet, it could be worse. Let’s take a moment to consider the situation in Anaheim. They’ve lost a jaw-dropping 19 of their last 21 games. They just fired their coach, and replaced him with the GM who is quite likely in over his head on this one. The team is like a cautionary tale about bad contracts, none more so than Ryan Kesler. He has a whopping 4 goals this season on a cap hit close to $7 Million. That makes Loui Eriksson ALMOST tolerable. Sure, the Ducks have had a ton of injuries, and are themselves running on their 3rd and 4th string goalies as John Gibson and Ryan Miller are both on the IR. The real problem is this team has a ton of bad contracts, aging players and guys who are just not living up to their potential. This was a team that was looked at as a contender not too long ago, and yet in spite of their ridiculous run of losses, sit a mere 6 points back of the Canucks. That’s a pretty damning statement of not just how bad this Conference is, but how bad the Canucks still are.
So these 3 games could pretty much make or break the Canucks fortunes. They play 4 straight against divisional opponents and if they don’t win 3 of those 4 they should pretty much forget about any post-season aspirations.
Adam Gaudette was recalled from the Utica Comets as the Canucks moved Sutter to the IR, but it’s unclear if he will be in the lineup tonight. There will have to be a decision made for someone to sit, and it’s a safe bet that even though he’s played better, this season’s whipping boy, Nikolay Goldobin will be the odd man out. There also needs to be something done on defence. Guillaume Brisebois has been with the team for a for over a week now and has yet to play a game. Considering the embarrassing display the Canucks put on defensively Monday night, you have to think that Derrick Pouliot or Alex Biega would sit to give Brisebois a chance.
We’ll keep you updated on lines and starting goaltenders through the day. In the meantime here’s a potential lineup (subject to change, via the Province)
LW – C – RW
Josh Leivo — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Antoine Roussel — Bo Horvat — Jake Virtanen
Loui Eriksson — Jay Beagle — Tyler Motte
Nikolay Goldobin — Markus Granlund — Zack MacEwen
Chris Tanev — Erik Gudbranson
Ben Hutton — Troy Stecher
Derrick Pouliot — Alex Biega
Goalies: Jacob Markstrom, Michael DiPietro
Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome), Thatcher Demko (knee), Alex Edler (concussion), Brandon Sutter (groin)
LW – C – RW
Rickard Rakell — Ryan Getzlaf — Corey Perry
Devin Shore — Ryan Kesler — Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie — Adam Henrique — Daniel Sprong
Brian Gibbons — Derek Grant — Carter Rowney
Cam Fowler — Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm — Brandon Montour
Jaycob Megna — Michael Del Zotto
Goalies: Chad Johnson, Kevin Boyle
Ondrej Kase (shoulder), Ryan Miller (knee), John Gibson (upper body), Patrick Eaves (flu).
Canucks: 16.1% (26th); Ducks: 14.9% (29th)
Canucks: 79.8% (18th); Ducks: 79.7% (20th)
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Saxaphone in a metal song? We live in crazy times, my friends. This track is amazing, and I think I need to do a deep dive into this band...