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GAME DAY PREVIEW- Game 44: Canucks @ Florida

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It honestly can’t get any worse than Tuesday night, so best to put the memories of that loss to Tampa behind them and focus on taking out their frustrations on the Panthers.

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs FLORIDA PANTHERS

4:00PM PST BB&T CENTER, SUNRISE, FL

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SN650.

OPPOSITION BLOG: LITTER BOX CATS

It was ugly, of that there is no doubt. That implosion that started in the second and continued in the 3rd was the Canucks having someone bring up that loss to the Penguins and say “Hold my beer!”. It’s also a reason I can’t go all in on this team being able to make the playoffs just yet.

The loss Tuesday saw the Canucks tumble out of a playoff position, and the only thing that can be considered fortunate about it all is that they have those games in hands on their Western Conference rivals. Yes, they’re only 4 points out of first, but with the way every team seems to be winning right now, losses are costly if you’re in this playoff chase. And with the Panthers also embroiled in a fight for a wild card spot in the East, don’t let anyone tell you this game is going to be easy. Pretty sure that the Panthers will be remembering the 7-2 pasting the Canucks laid on them back in October and will be looking to return the favour. Expect a bit of a nasty one tonight, either way.

LINEUPS:

Courtesy of nhl.com here’s what these teams should ice tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller -- Elias Pettersson -- Jake Virtanen

Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- Loui Eriksson

Antoine Roussel -- Adam Gaudette -- Brock Boeser

Tyler Motte -- Jay Beagle -- Tim Schaller

Quinn Hughes -- Christopher Tanev

Alexander Edler -- Tyler Myers

Jordie Benn -- Troy Stecher

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Oscar Fantenberg, Zack MacEwen

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

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano -- Dominic Toninato -- Mike Hoffman

Colton Sceviour -- Brian Boyle -- Denis Malgin

Mike Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Keith Yandle -- Mark Pysyk

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Sergei Bobrovsky

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Jayce Hawryluk, Josh Brown

Injured: MacKenzie Weegar (upper body)

Just one change for the Canucks tonight, and that’s Jordie Benn drawing back in at the expense of Oscar Fantenberg. I have to say I am pretty disappointed that someone off the 4th line isn’t sitting in place of Zack MacEwan if for no other reason than to send a message that their play over the last couple weeks has been mediocre at the very least. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some line shuffling tonight should things go south though, as they try to keep from getting into a streak in the opposite direction. Also, if anyone as much as breathes on Elias and there’s not a response, expect Canucks Nation to go a little off the rails.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:

Today we go to New Zealand to bring you Shepherds Reign. These brothers incorporate their Pacific, Maori and Asian roots with metal to bring you a pretty solid sound and it’s even more impressive when you realize they’re currently unsigned. This track dropped on Boxing Day, so check out the video for ‘La Manu’.