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GAME DAY IN THE BUBBLE PREVIEW- CANUCKS VS GOLDEN KNIGHTS: GAME ONE

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Friday night the underdog Canucks knocked off the defending champions, but now they face an even tougher task in trying to take down the Vegas Golden Knights.

‘re VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

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

TV: SPORTSNET, CBC,NBCSN. RADIO: SN650.

OPPOSITION BLOG: KNIGHTS ON ICE

As far as playoff victories go, this one ranks right up there with the 1982 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the birth of Towel Power and the start of that incredible run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Maybe the Canucks don’t have the horses to get them there, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned so far in the bubble, it’s that underestimating the Vancouver Canucks could be a mistake.

They haven’t won these series against Minnesota and St Louis by outright domination, but by hard work, a commitment to defence unlike anything we saw out of this team during the regular season, and a complete and total buy in on what Travis Green and his staff are putting on the white board. They’re the lowest ranked team remaining in the postseason, yet they’re full value for their presence here. Underdogs? Absolutely. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

They’re up against a very good Vegas Golden Knights squad who haven’t had much of a challenge so far. They breezed through the Round Robin, then took on a Chicago Blackhawks team that knocked out a dysfunctional, one-dimensional Edmonton Oilers squad, but struggled to contain the Vegas attack. The Blues and Golden Knights are fairly similar in style, the difference being Vegas having more speed and some pretty dangerous weapons at their disposal. Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Mark Stone and Max Paccioretty are the big name players, but down the lineup this team can score, and it’s going to be another challenge for the Canucks as a team to limit chances and give Jacob Markstrom the space to do what he does best.

They’ve also, like the St Louis Blues before them, got a bit of a goaltending controversy brewing in the bubble. Heading in, it seemed like a no brainer that Marc-Andre Fleury would be the starter, but he’s lost his spot to Robin Lehner, and let’s just say that Fleury’s agent isn’t impressed.

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Ho. Ly. Shit.

And while yes, it is an agent sticking up for his client, he’s got a pretty good reason for being upset.

So all this has forced Vegas into damage control mode, and serves as a possible distraction heading into this series. Should the Canucks pull out a win tonight, the #VegasGoaltendingControversy will be in full swing. Ain’t it a delight to see this happen to other teams for a change? Downright refreshing!

LINEUPS:

Vegas Golden Knights

Max Pacioretty Chandler Stephenson Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault William Karlsson Reilly Smith

Alex Tuch Nicolas Roy Nick Cousins

William Carrier Patrick Brown Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabb Nate Schmidt

Alec Martinez Shea Theodore

Zach Whitecloud Nick Holden

Robin Lehner

Marc-Andre Fleury

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. MillerElias Pettersson - Jake Virtanen

Tanner PearsonBo Horvat - Brock Boeser

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteBrandon Sutter

Tyler MotteJay BeagleLoui Eriksson

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn HughesChristopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergJordie Benn

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Olli Juolevi, Justin Bailey, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Tyler Graovac, Brogan Rafferty

Unfit to play: Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo, Tyler Toffoli, Tyler Myers

We could see one change tonight, and that would be the return of Tyler Toffoli. Hard to say who might come out of the lineup to fit him back in, but the Canucks would love to have a healthy Toffoli back in. Tyler Myers will return at some point in this series, but it won’t be tonight.

PREGAME CHATTER:

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:

While we’re trying to fill this with BC based bands as much as possible on this run, we’re also gonna throw in some good new stuff that you should hear and today we’ve got the return of Bay Area thrash legends VIO-LENCE with an absolutely vicious cover of the DEAD KENNEDYS ‘California Uber Alles’. The new version of the band features former OVERKILL guitarist Bobby Gustafson, and ex-Fear Factory bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, who join Sean Killian, Phil Demmel and Perry Strickland. No word on when their new album will be out on Metal Blade Records, but this is a hell of a return to form.