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GAME DAY IN THE BUBBLE PREVIEW- CANUCKS VS BLUES: GAME ONE

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Everything that happens from this moment on is gravy time, so don’t fret it. Enjoy the ride...

St Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs ST LOUIS BLUES

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

TV: SPORTSNET, NBCSN, CBC, FS-MW. RADIO: SN650.

OPPOSITION BLOG: ST LOUIS GAME TIME

I was pretty close to being able to say “I am over what happened in 2011, and ready to move on” with a straight face. And then these bastards go and do the thing against Minnesota. I was prepared for them to lose, because it could be they’re just not there yet and I am fine with that. But now they’re hours away from dropping the puck against the St Louis Blues and that rush is back. The pregame butterflies. Welcome back, meaningful hockey. We missed you.

And that’s the beauty of this whole trip into the bubble. They did something that this team hasn’t been able to do since 2011: Win a playoff series. I don’t care what kind of asterisk you think you need to put beside that. To this team, these players and this fan base, this is MASSIVE, because the one thing we’ve been dying for is a sign of hope. And in these young guys, we finally have it.

This could end in a sweep for the Blues and I would still come away happy, because after years of spinning their wheels, there is positive forward progress that you can look to with this team.

And if they’re going to move forward, they have to do it by taking down the defending champions: the St Louis Blues. The Blues struggled a bit in the Round Robin portion of the play-in, and as we saw this year the Canucks are more than able to hang with these guys. Yes, the playoffs are a different beast, and the kind of experience they have from winning the Cup is far greater than what most of the Canucks have, Yet this is a series that is winnable by the Canucks if hey just do those little things that worked for them this year.

Two guys that will need to come up big for Vancouver? J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes. Miller scored 3 goals in the season series, and Hughes had a goal and 5 assists as the Canucks took two of three meetings over the Blues. They’ll need to keep the power play rolling, and continue killing penalties off at an above average clip. Do this and there’s hope of hockey in September.

LINEUPS

Courtesy nhl.com here’s what we should see tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. MillerElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Tanner PearsonBo HorvatLoui Eriksson

Antoine RousselBrandon SutterJake Virtanen

Tyler MotteJay BeagleZack MacEwen

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev

Olli JuoleviTyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Justin Bailey, Jordie Benn, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Adam Gaudette, Tyler Graovac, Brogan Rafferty

Unfit to play: Oscar Fantenberg, Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo, Tyler Toffoli

Blues projected lineup

Jaden SchwartzBrayden SchennVladimir Tarasenko

Zach SanfordRyan O’ReillyDavid Perron

Jordan Kyrou — Robert Thomas — Tyler Bozak

Alexander SteenOskar SundqvistTroy Brouwer

Carl GunnarssonAlex Pietrangelo

Marco ScandellaColton Parayko

Vince DunnJustin Faulk

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Ivan Barbashev, Ville Husso, Jacob de la Rose, Robert Bortuzzo, Klim Kostin, Mackenzie MacEachern , Austin Poganski, Niko Mikkola, Derrick Pouliot, Jake Walman, Ville Husso

Unfit to play: Sammy Blais

It looks like Olli Juolevi will be in the lineup again tonight. He was pretty good in Game 4 against the Wild, and it’s great to see him getting a shot after all of the setbacks with injuries. Tyler Toffoli is out for Game One, but could be getting ready to return soon. Also, play Derrick Pouliot, you cowards!

PREGAME CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Gonna stick with homegrown bands for the rest of this run, so today here’s a track from a Vancouver band that’s making big waves overseas: UNLEASH THE ARCHERS. Originally from Victoria, this traditional/power metal act led by the awesome vocals of Brittney Slayes, and an awesome double axe attack, this is the perfect track to start the march to the Cup. Tonight We Ride! Go Canucks Go!