It could end up being the only series that goes the distance in this first round, naturally. It always seems like the Canucks manage to take the more difficult path in every thing they do, and this one is no exception. Yet despair is not necessary at the moment, because the Blues are the ones under the spotlight not to screw this up, and that’s a bit of an advantage.
And it’s not just because Canucks, either. In 2 of their 3 previous meetings against the Blues, the series went the distance. The Canucks won all 3 of those series, by the way. If they hope to make it 4, they’re going to have to have a couple things happen tonight.
First, they need to get some offensive input from the bottom 6. Yes, the big names have been great, but Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat cannot be expected to do it all. That means more from Jake Virtanen, Brandon Sutter, Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle. At least Sutter and Tyler Motte had a few hits in that game, but they need to do more, and if they don’t, this magical lil postseason run will be over early.
Secondly, they need to do something to disrupt Ryan O’Reilly’s dominance in this series, and while that’s easier said than done, there has to be a matchup that is going to work for this. Apart from David Perron, no one for the Blues has been consistently a threat the way O’Reilly has. That’s something Travis Green needs to figure out tonight.
LISTEN @FarhanLaljiTSN; #Canucks better off having O’Reilly in the position to defend Pettersson’s line— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) August 19, 2020
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Canucks projected lineup
J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Loui Eriksson
Antoine Roussel — Brandon Sutter — Jake Virtanen
Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Zack MacEwen
Alexander Edler — Troy Stecher
Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev
Oscar Fantenberg — Jordie Benn
Scratched: Olli Juolevi, Justin Bailey, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Adam Gaudette, Tyler Graovac, Brogan Rafferty
Unfit to play: Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo, Tyler Toffoli, Tyler Myers
Blues projected lineup
Jaden Schwartz — Ryan O’Reilly — David Perron
Jordan Kyrou — Brayden Schenn — Tyler Bozak
Zach Sanford — Robert Thomas — Sammy Blais
Oskar Sundqvist — Jacob de la Rose — Mackenzie MacEachern
Carl Gunnarsson — Alex Pietrangelo
Marco Scandella — Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn — Justin Faulk
Scratched: Troy Brouwer, Ivan Barbashev, Ville Husso, Robert Bortuzzo, Klim Kostin, Austin Poganski, Niko Mikkola, Derrick Pouliot, Jake Walman
Unfit to play: Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen
With Tarasenko leaving the bubble to get his shoulder examined by doctors in St Louis, we could see Ivan Barbashev, who left the bubble after the first round robin game for the Blues to be with his wife for the birth of his daughter. He’s cleared quarantine and could be in the lineup tonight.
Bottom line, the Canucks have to be better defensively, have to get more scoring from their bottom 6 and absolutely have to clamp it down on the penalty kill. Doing this can get them back in the drivers seat for a possible Game 6 elimination of the champs.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:
Another kickass Vancouver thrash band for you. Terrifier made waves in the scene when they released ‘Weapons Of Thrash Destruction’ 3 years ago. And win or lose, this song will describe a lot of Canucks Nation I’m sure... Go Canucks Go!!!