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GAME DAY PREVIEW (!!!): Canucks vs Winnipeg Jets- July 29, 2020

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Pardon our language, but... Holy shit! There’s a Canucks game on tonight!

Vancouver Canucks v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs WINNIPEG JETS

7:30PM PDT THE BUBBLE @ ROGERS PLACE, EDMONTON, AB

TV: SPORTSNET NHL NETWORK (US ONLY). RADIO: SN650.

OPPOSITION BLOG: ARCTIC ICE HOCKEY

This might be the most anticipated exhibition game this team’s played since a couple red-headed Swedish twins made their way to Vancouver. And while it’s a mean-nothing game, it means everything to Canucks fans who have been waiting since March 10th and a nice win in Game 69 over the New York Islanders to see what happens next for this team. While a Best of 5 series against Minnesota begins Sunday, tonight they return to game action with a contest against a team with some growing expectations: the Winnipeg Jets.

After falling short in the Conference Finals a couple years ago, the Jets just might be primed for a long playoff run. They have outstanding goaltending in Connor Hellebuyck, and some serious offensive firepower with Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele. If there’s a weak spot, it’s with a somewhat inexperienced backend led by Dmitri Kulikov, but after a first round exit last year against the eventual champion St Louis Blues, the Jets are looking to make some noise this time around.

The Canucks head into the play-in tournament with the 5th least playoff experience of the 24 teams, a good chunk of that coming from the 3 current Canucks with Stanley Cup rings: Jay Beagle, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. Just Alexander Edler, Bo Horvat and Christopher Tanev were in the lineup the last time the Canucks played a playoff game back in 2015, so for a lot of these guys, these are uncharted waters.

After an unsurprisingly tough camp under head coach Travis Green, the Canucks look healthy, and are excited to get a chance to play for the Cup if they can get past the Wild, so look for this game to have a little more fire than your usual exhibition contest. And in a season where many had the Canucks missing the playoffs yet again, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes are going to get a shot at their first chance at the Stanley Cup. That is a victory in and of itself. This wasn’t supposed to be, so let’s just #EmbraceTheFake and see what happens. Why not the Canucks, indeed.

LINEUPS:

Yeah, the Jets look good by making this info public. The Canucks? Not so much. A little more transparency from inside the bubble, please. Here’s what we could see tonight, thanks to JPat’s game preview over at TSN 1040

POSSIBLE CANUCKS LINE-UP

Miller-Pettersson-Toffoli

Pearson-Horvat-Boeser

Roussel-Gaudette-Ferland

Motte-Beagle-Sutter

Virtanen

Hughes-Tanev

Edler-Myers

Fantenberg-Stecher

Chatfield

Markstrom

It looks like no Zack MacEwan, but you have to think that any poor play in that bottom 6 and he’ll get a look.

PREGAME CHATTER:

And over at our pals at Arctic Ice Hockey, they’ve got a good look at why this whole bubble thing may just be crazy enough to work.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:

It’s funny, I have been listening to JUDAS PRIEST’s legendary ‘British Steel’ album in the car this past week, and here come Polish death metal legends VADER with a cover of one that album’s best tracks. Check out “Steeler” from VADER’s new EP ‘Thy Messenger’. Absolutely ferocious and one hell of a pump up track for tonight! Hockey’s back! Go Canucks Go!