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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 74: CANUCKS vs OTTAWA

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You think you got problems? You could be a Senators fan.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (31-32-9) vs Ottawa Senators (25-41-6)

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC

When: 7:00 pm PST

Where to Watch: Sportsnet Pacific, TSN5

SB Nation Opposition Blog: Silver Seven Sens

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: They’ve won two straight and now sit a mere 6 points back from the holder of the last Wild Card slot in the West. It’s absolutely ludicrous that we’re STILL at a point where you have to entertain the notion, however slight, that the Canucks could somehow defy logic, science and the Hockey Gods and squeak into the playoffs. Yet, here we are.

It’s a damning indictment of the artificial parity created by the Bettman Point, and needs to be changed for so many different reasons. And it’s because everyone knows it’s wrong that the NHL will never budge on it. They’re weird like that.

So, we’re just going to push all that stuff aside and just focus on what this game is: a mid-March matchup between two of the worst teams in the NHL. For all of the issues and mistakes the Canucks, their management and ownership have made over the years, nothing they’ve done compares with the Ottawa Senators. This is a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals a couple years ago. Now? There’s a literal handful of the players that got them there still remaining. And good lord, the owner? He makes Mr. Aqualini look far more like the Griffiths family in comparison.

But I don’t want to kick this team and their fans when they’re down. I genuinely feel bad for the Senators fans. I know a few, and they’re great, and honestly I don’t know how they haven’t either given up on the team or walked away from the game altogether. They come in tonight holders of the last spot in the standings, but it means absolutely nothing, because their first round pick belongs to the Colorado Avalanche. Yeah, a team that could make the playoffs and then get to draft Jack Hughes. Life is unfair, and no one knows it better than a Senators fan.

It’s a chance for us to say hello to a couple old friends tonight. Anders Nilsson has played extremely well for the Sens since the trade that brought Mike McKenna and Tom Pyatt for the Canucks backup and Utica fan favorite Darren Archibald. And the Sens actually come out as the winners on this one, as Pyatt will never get a callup from the Canucks, and McKenna, well... we remember what happened there.

It’s also the first time back for Head Coach Marc Crawford as the Senators’ bench boss. Crow was behind the bench for a lot of good times and some pretty dark ones as the coach of the Canucks, and there’s always a bit of a soft spot for him amongst the fan base. He has a hell of a mess to deal with in Ottawa, but some great young talent that, if they can draft well down the road and make some decent signings, work their way out of. But when you see what’s going on in Ottawa, would you sign there?

When I got home today to resume writing I saw that Quinn Hughes was trending on Twitter, and I may or may not have gotten a little excited. And then I saw this tweet from JPat and I got a little more excited.

And then I saw this and I wasn’t excited anymore.

So that means we’re gonna see the same group that rattled off two road wins. And here, via the Province is what that should look like:

CANUCKS’ LINES

LW – C – RW

Josh LeivoElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Tanner PearsonBo HorvatLoui Eriksson

Markus GranlundAdam GaudetteJake Virtanen

Tim SchallerJay BeagleTyler Motte

Defence pairings

Alex Edler — Alex Biega

Guillaume BriseboisTroy Stecher

Ashton SautnerLuke Schenn

Goalies: Jacob Markstrom, Thatcher Demko

SENATORS’ LINES

LW – C – RW

Brady Tkachuk — J-G Pageau — Max Veronneau

Rudolfs BalcersChris TierneyMagnus Paajarvi

Zack SmithOscar LindbergBobby Ryan

Anthony DuclairBrian GibbonsMikkel Boedker

Defence pairings

Ben HarpurDylan Demelo

Christian WolaninCody Ceci

Mark BorowieckiChristian Jaros

Goalies: Anders Nilsson, Craig Anderson

SICK BAY

Canucks: Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome), Brandon Sutter (hernia), Ben Hutton (foot), Antoine Roussel (knee), Quinn Hughes (ankle), Ryan Spooner (groin), Chris Tanev (foot).

Senators: Thomas Chabot (broken toe), Colin White (neck)

SPECIAL TEAMS

POWER PLAY

Canucks: 15.3% (27th)

Senators: 19.4% (15th)

PENALTY KILL

Canucks: 80.8% (14th)

Senators: 79.5% (22nd)

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Today’s another special anniversary for the Vancouver Canucks:

It may be one of the most lop-sided trades in NHL history. A swing-and a miss 1st rounder for a guy who couldn’t play his way onto the Penguins lineup. Seemed like at the most optimistic view, a wash for both teams. We all know how it turned out. So to celebrate, here’s a new band out of Sweden whose debut album ‘Remains’ came out on Prosthetic Records last month. The band is named after a small town in Central Sweden, decimated by the loss of it’s only employer, the local factory. It’s a fascinating tale, and backed with music that belies their ages. This is ‘Wasteland’ by HORNDAL. Enjoy the game!