VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs CAROLINA HURRICANES
11:00 AM PST PNC ARENA, RALEIGH, NC
TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, WEST, SN360. RADIO: SN650.
OPPOSITION BLOG: CANES COUNTRY
You have to hand it to the Carolina Hurricanes. When they embraced this whole ‘Bunch Of Jerks’ thing, they went whole hog, as is evidenced by losing to the Vegas Golden Knights yesterday, like a bunch of jerks. So the Canucks will need to keep this rather improbable run going in order to try and get some separation between themselves and the hellhounds on their trail that are Vegas, the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes.
The Canucks did their part yesterday in a big 4-3 OT win over the Islanders, in the latest episode of the Quinn Hughes Variety Hour. Hughes scored twice, including the OT dagger, and was instrumental in the game’s opening goal by J.T. Miller, and was hands down the best player on the ice. It shows the evolution of the Canucks and why they’re so hard to play against right now. They have three lines that can score and even if you do a good job of shutting those down, the Canucks got a goal from Tim Schaller (!) and Hughes looking like he could single handedly will them to victory. It still feels like Canucks fans aren’t quite comprehending what this team has in Quinn Hughes, and it’s because there’s no comparable for him in team history. They’ve never had a defenceman like him, even at this stage in his career. I am being cautious because this isn’t a direct comparison, but the only thing I can think of is looking back to Pavel Bure’s rookie season, and the adrenalyne rush Canucks fans got everytime he touched the puck. There was a legit chance something magical could happen, and Hughes is starting to develop into a player like that. Oh, and he also managed to overtake Cale Makar in the rookie scoring race, so be prepared for a lot of salty Avs fans complaining about Makar playing less games etc. The gap is getting wider with every game as Hughes breaks away in a quest for the Canucks to have back to back Calder trophy winners.
Today’s opponent are likely kicking themselves after yesterday’s loss, because for all the talk about the log jam in the Pacific, there’s not a lot being said about the battle for the Wild Card slots in the East. The Canes and the Panthers sit just 2 points back of Philadelphia and Columbus. The Canucks meanwhile sit 2nd in the West, just 6 points back of St Louis, and 7th overall in the NHL.
Canucks projected lineup
Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev
Hurricanes projected lineup
Scratched: Ryan Dzingel
Injured: Dougie Hamilton (fractured left leg)
No changes for the Canucks other than Thatcher Demko getting the start in the back to back, though given the way the Tyler Myers/Oscar Fantenberg pairing played yesterday we’re almost at a point where we’d like to see Jordie Benn get back into the lineup. No new injuries to report from yesterday, thankfully. The Canes are pretty healthy right now, apart from the giant hole left by the absence of Dougie Hamilton, who was having himself a season before suffering that gruesome broken leg a couple weeks ago. They’re definitely enjoying having Justin Williams back in what could be his farewell tour.
GAME DAY CHATTER:
"Our team is starting to expect to win and they are understanding when they are not playing well and why." -Head Coach Travis Green on the #Canucks 4-3 OT win against the Islanders. pic.twitter.com/uuIwvHlKQS— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 1, 2020
"I've been trying to get the puck on net a bit more and it's been going good for me." Quinn Hughes comments on his current scoring streak. pic.twitter.com/OUMjqTLCog— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 1, 2020
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:
Today we’ve got a lovely little ditty from Polish death metal legends VADER. ‘Shock And Awe’ is the first track off their upcoming album ‘Solitude In Madness’, which comes out in May on Nuclear Blast Records.