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.
#NHLJets PRACTICE LINES:— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) July 27, 2020
Group 2 includes Comrie, Bitetto, Gustafsson, Letestu, Dahlstrom, and Harkins.
Line rushes at #Canucks practice:— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) July 27, 2020
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
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.
Jacob Markstrom to start tomorrow for the #Canucks. Demko may get in to some of the game too.— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) July 28, 2020
Coach Green discusses life in the bubble and looks forward to tomorrow's exhibition game and what he hopes to get out of it. pic.twitter.com/l927h74iMV— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 29, 2020
"Coming here into the bubble and seeing all the other teams, we're excited and ready to play a game." Boeser and Edler are eager to get things going. pic.twitter.com/5NjuiewOAn— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 29, 2020
.@tannerjpearson wore a #HawerchukStrong decal on his helmet today to show support for his former Barrie Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk, who is once again battling cancer.#HawerchukStrong pic.twitter.com/1Ufpj5oCcf— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 29, 2020
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!