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GAME DAY PREVIEW- Game 51: Canucks @ San Jose

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If the Canucks want to make some noise if and when they make the playoffs, they’re going to have to be better on the road. They’ll get a chance to test this as they start a 5 game road swing in San Jose tonight.

Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs SAN JOSE SHARKS

7:30 PM PST SAP CENTER, SAN JOSE, CA

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SN650.

OPPOSITION BLOG: FEAR THE FIN

There was a time not too long ago when a trip to the SAP Center was a guaranteed 2 points for the home team. That was then, and this is now, and while the Sharks window seems to be slamming shut, the Canucks are a team on the rise. They won’t be going anywhere unless they can start making their road record look a little more like their home record, though, and what better way to start it than against the Sharks tonight.

These teams met in the last game before the All Star break and the Canucks skated away with a 4-1 win at Rogers Arena, a game that had a lot of feeling to it, though most of the feeling seemed to be the Sharks paying tribute to Joe Thornton by collectively acting like a bunch of grumpy old dicks tonight. Watch for him to try and stir it up again tonight.

A win tonight will give the Canucks an 8-3-0 record for the month of January, and set them up pretty good for what is going to be an extremely difficult road trip. After tonight, they have a back to back weekend daytime set (seriously, NHL this is ridiculous) against the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes. Then it’s on to Boston, and then Minnesota before returning home and playing the Calgary Flames in their 5th game in 8 nights. If they can come out of this road trip 3-2, it will be a bit of a surprise. And maybe it’s that optimistic part of me coming out, but it actually is starting to feel like in spite of the injuries and the terrible defensive play that this team might be developing into something a little sooner than we thought. Maybe. The month of February will show if we should start thinking of them as contenders or pretenders.

LINEUPS:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. MillerElias PetterssonJake Virtanen

Tanner PearsonBo HorvatLoui Eriksson

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteBrock Boeser

Tyler MotteJay BeagleBrandon Sutter

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn HughesChristopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergTyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Tim Schaller

Injured: Micheal Ferland (upper body), Josh Leivo (fractured kneecap), Tyler Graovac (lower body)

Sharks projected lineup

Evander KaneTomas Hertl - Timo Meier

Barclay GoodrowJoe ThorntonKevin Labanc

Marcus SorensenDylan GambrellPatrick Marleau

Melker KarlssonJoel KellmanStefan Noesen

Marc-Edouard VlasicErik Karlsson

Brenden DillonBrent Burns

Radim SimekMario Ferraro

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Antti Suomela, Tim Heed

Injured: Logan Couture (fractured ankle), Dalton Prout (upper body)

No changes to the Canucks lineup apart from Jacob Markstrom getting the start after a stellar performance from Thatcher Demko on Monday night against St Louis.

GAME DAY CHATTER:

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:

Today’s GDBH is sadly another obituary, as the metal gods have called home another legendary drummer. Reed Mullin of Corrosion of Conformity died earlier this week, and much like the passing of Sean Reinert, this one hurts a whole lot. COC started out as a hardcore band, and were hugely influential on that scene with albums like Technocracy, but it was their crossover to a more groove based sound on ‘Blind’ that put them into the upper echelons in the early 90s. They went on to even greater commercial success, and Mullin’s drumming was a huge part of that. He’d suffered from a number of health issues, and had left the band because of his alcohol issues, but this shouldn’t tarnish his legacy. Mullin’s style was simplistic yet creative, straightforward yet showed an artistic flair if that makes sense. And he was a heavy hitter, as you’ll hear on these tracks. RIP.