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

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A huge win, followed by a seismic pause to take a stand for an end to racial injustice. It’s been an eventful 72 hours, and while the work with the HDA will continue, it’s time to get back to business.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Two Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

6:45 PM PDT THE BUBBLE @ ROGERS PLACE, EDMONTON, AB

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

OPPOSITION BLOG: KNIGHTS ON ICE

It’s been a fairly tumultuous 72 hours for the Vancouver Canucks and their fans. A huge win over the Vegas Golden Knights to even the series at one game a piece was followed by the news of wildcat strikes in the NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS. And after an embarrassing misstep by the league, the players decided they had to add their voices to the growing clamour for racial justice in the United States and Canada. The NHL players effort was spearheaded in part by the Canucks, and to say we’re proud of them is an understatement.

Then yesterday, the sobering news of the autopsy report on Jason Botchford, a statement released by his family: Jason died of an accidental overdose of Fentanyl-laced Cocaine. It’s a gut punch to the family, his friends and anyone who ever read his work. It also sheds some much needed light on the need for the provincial and federal governments to stop dragging their feet and do something about the overdose crisis. Yes, Covid is a very real situation that needs attention, but there are more people dying every day across this country because of a drug supply that is not safe, something that decriminalization could solve. As someone who lost a family member to this, it is heartbreaking to try and wrap my head around this. From all of us at Nucks Misconduct, we send our love and deepest condolences to Jason’s family.

I know there are some of you who think we should ‘stick to sports’. I am here, as Managing Editor to tell you that no, we will not. You say nothing about anthems before games. You say nothing about military sponsorship. You say nothing about nights honouring the police, or local and state governments giving tax breaks and outright unloading the costs of new stadiums on taxpayers. Yet you want us to keep politics out of sports on this? How utterly hypocritical. This is not political. It is about human rights, and these athletes, one with a platform due to their position, are behind the radical thought that every man, woman in child in this world should have the right to live without fear of being killed simply for the colour of their skin. That is what this is all about. So to those of you who say you can’t get behind this, think about what you are getting behind by default. There’s no discussion. There’s no middle ground. Either you support equality or you don’t. We’re thankful to all of you for your support over the years, but we’re moving forward along with the majority of society. We hope you’ll do the same.

And while we will continue to support this movement, we do have a game to discuss, so let’s get at that.

After getting stomped in Game One, there was a lot of discussion about how the Canucks were out of their league against the Golden Knights. I can’t say I blame anyone for thinking that, as that was probably the worst performance we’d seen from the team this post-season, along with Game 1 against Minnesota. But just like they did after that series opening loss, and the two straight they dropped to the Blues, the Canucks and Travis Green made adjustments. They got Tyler Toffoli back in the lineup. And they got a performance from Elias Pettersson that we’d not yet seen in the playoffs (which is pretty remarkable when you consider how many points he’s put up in that time). They got a stereotypical bounceback game out of Jacob Markstrom, and they were back to being the tenacious, hard forechecking team that makes other teams pay for making mistakes.

And while we’re sure Vegas will be eager to counter tonight, through all this don’t for a moment think that Green and his staff haven’t been preparing for this very thing. TG has done a masterful job behind the bench so far, and we’re really starting to see, in his first opportunity to take a Canucks squad into the post season just how good a coach he is.

LINEUPS:

Courtesy of nhl.com here is what we expect to see tonight:

Golden Knights projected lineup

Max PaciorettyWilliam KarlssonMark Stone

Reilly Smith — Paul Stastny — Jonathan Marchessault

Nick CousinsNicolas Roy — Alex Tuch

William CarrierChandler StephensonRyan Reaves

Shea TheodoreAlec Martinez

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt

Zach WhitecloudNick Holden

Robin Lehner

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Dylan Coghlan, Oscar Dansk, Reid Duke, Deryk Engelland, Nicolas Hague, Keegan Kolesar, Peyton Krebs, Jon Merrill, Gage Quinney, Patrick Brown

Unfit to play: Tomas Nosek

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Tyler Toffoli

J.T. MillerBo HorvatBrock Boeser

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteBrandon Sutter

Tyler MotteJay BeagleJake Virtanen

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, Loui Eriksson

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

No apparent changes for either side, but keep an eye on the Vegas crease. After all the controversy with Fleury not starting, is there really a #VegasGoaltendingControversy?

PREGAME CHATTER:

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN:

The metal world lost a massive voice this week, with the news of the passing of POWER TRIP frontman Riley Gale. The Texas thrash band had made a huge impact on the scene in a very short time, not just due to some incredible albums, but by bringing the same attitude and energy whether they were playing an arena show or someone’s basement, and Gale was a massive reason for this. Regarded as one of the most genuine, likable guys in the scene, his death at the age of 34 is just devastating. I have grown to be a huge fan of this band, and this news really sucks. Going to throw down two pieces here: The first one is for lack of a better term, their hit song. ‘Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)’ has been described as a ‘perfect metal song’ by many. Insane riffs, a memorable chorus and hooks, all without sacrificing heaviness. The other video is one I posted earlier this year, when the band played in George Stromboulopolos’ living room for an edition of his CBC Radio show. If you’re a fan, crack one for him and if you’re not, you’re still gonna get fired up for tonight by this. RIP Riley. RIP Botch. Go Canucks Go!