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GAME DAY PREVIEW- Game 65: Canucks @ Columbus

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The Canucks go 0 for 2 in Ontario and oh joy, it’s a back to back game as they head to Ohio to take on Torts and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Vancouver Canucks v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

4:00PM PST NATIONWIDE ARENA, COLUMBUS, OH

TV: SPORTSNET. RADIO: SN650.

OPPOSITION BLOG: JACKETS CANNON

The month of February was not a particularly kind one to the Canucks, as they saw some key players go down with injuries, and the team managed to win just 5 of their 13 games in the month. The margin of error for this team to make the playoffs is so slim, and to see them lose the last two the way they have has me believing that we’re going to get another Markus Naslund-style apology speech at the end of the season.

And if you thought February was tough sledding, you probably don’t want to look at the schedule the NHL put together the rest of the way, friends. It’s got 3 back to backs, a pair of games against Arizona, Colorado and today’s opponents Columbus, a Cali road trip (yay! more injuries!), a stop in Vegas that is their 3rd game in 4 nights and visits from Tampa, the New York Islanders, the Winnipeg Jets and the Calgary Flames. This is all starting to look like the playoff dream is crumbling, and if some things don’t change, it’s gonna be a 5th straight year without playoff hockey for Ol’ Jimbo.

If there’s a shining light in all this mess, it’s that the team they face tonight is struggling to stay afloat themselves. The Blue Jackets have just one win in their last ten games. They have a winning record at home, though. They also go to OT and SO a lot. They have 8 OT wins this season, along with 10 OT losses and are 0-4 in the skills competition. And while the Canucks are 4-1 in their last 5 against the Jackets, the 1 was their last meeting just over a year ago, a 5-0 blowout that featured... Thatcher Demko in goal for the Canucks. So, it could very well be that we see Louis Domingue make his Canucks debut in goal tonight.

A loss today, combined with a Flames win and a Winnipeg win Tuesday, or wins Monday and Tuesday by Nashville will bump the Canucks out of a playoff spot. The bleeding has to stop now, or they could easily find themselves heading into a draft lottery where they hold no first round pick. That means their best players have to be better, team defence absolutely has to tighten up and stop allowing so many bloody shots, and Thatcher Demko has to be the best player on the ice. Easy, right? Hoo, boy...

LINEUPS:

Courtesy of nhl.com, here’s what we will likely see tonight from these teams:

CANUCKS (34-24-6) at BLUE JACKETS (31-21-14)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, FS-O, NHL.TV

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonBo HorvatLoui Eriksson

J.T. MillerElias PetterssonTyler Toffoli

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteJake Virtanen

Tyler Motte — Jay BeagleBrandon Sutter

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn HughesChristopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergTyler Myers

Louis Domingue

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Zack MacEwen

Injured: Micheal Ferland (concussion), Josh Leivo (knee), Tyler Graovac (lower body), Brock Boeser (rib), Jacob Markstrom (lower body)

Blue Jackets projected lines

Gustav NyquistBoone JennerNick Foligno

Stefan MatteauAlexander WennbergRiley Nash

Devin Shore — Pierre-Luc Dubois — Emil Bemstrom

Eric RobinsonKevin StenlundNathan Gerbe

Zach WerenskiDavid Savard

Ryan Murray — Markus Nutivaara

Vladislav GavrikovAndrew Peeke

Joonas Korpisalo

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Gabriel Carlsson, Scott Harrington, Jakob Lilja, Ryan MacInnis

Injured: Elvis Merzlikins (undisclosed), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Alexandre Texier (back), Dean Kukan (knee), Seth Jones (ankle), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Oliver Bjorkstrand (ankle)

GAME DAY CHATTER:

EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY! Everyone to get from rink!

So that’s a little over an hour from now, and we find out if someone’s ill, or there’s an injury (or two) that required an emergency call to the farm. You have to think that one of them is Jay Beagle, who seemed to be pulling up hurt every time he got in front of a shot last night. We will update as soon as we know.

And we find out it’s Beagle...with undisclosed injury.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:

A while back we showed you a track from IGORRR, the avant-garde French death metal act, and they’ve just released a new track off their upcoming ‘Spirituality And Distortion’ album, which comes out Mar 27 on Metal Blade Records. Check out ‘Parpaing’, featuring CANNIBAL CORPSE vocalist George Fisher.