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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 58: CANUCKS @ ANAHEIM

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The Circus hits the road for 3 games in 4 nights down in California. This should all turn out fine, I’m sure...

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (25-25-7) vs Anaheim Ducks (21-26-9)

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)

CANUCKS’ LINES

LW – C – RW

Josh LeivoElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Antoine RousselBo HorvatJake Virtanen

Loui Eriksson — Jay BeagleTyler Motte

Nikolay GoldobinMarkus GranlundZack MacEwen

Defence pairings

Chris Tanev — Erik Gudbranson

Ben HuttonTroy Stecher

Derrick Pouliot — Alex Biega

Goalies: Jacob Markstrom, Michael DiPietro

SICK BAY

Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome), Thatcher Demko (knee), Alex Edler (concussion), Brandon Sutter (groin)

DUCKS’ LINES

LW – C – RW

Rickard RakellRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Devin ShoreRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

Nick RitchieAdam HenriqueDaniel Sprong

Brian GibbonsDerek GrantCarter Rowney

Defence pairings

Cam FowlerJosh Manson

Hampus LindholmBrandon Montour

Jaycob MegnaMichael Del Zotto

Goalies: Chad Johnson, Kevin Boyle

SICK BAY

Ondrej Kase (shoulder), Ryan Miller (knee), John Gibson (upper body), Patrick Eaves (flu).

SPECIAL TEAMS

Power play

Canucks: 16.1% (26th); Ducks: 14.9% (29th)

Penalty kill

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...