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GAME DAY PREVIEW (!): Game One- Canucks @ Edmonton

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Your 2021 Vancouver Canucks are ready to begin this shortened season in the new Scotia North Division with a 4 game Alberta road swing starting tonight in Edmonton.

Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (0-0-0) vs EDMONTON OILERS (0-0-0)

ROGERS PLACE- EDMONTON, AB

7:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET, SPORTSNET ONE RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: COPPER AND BLUE

Training camps are over, lineups are set, and now it’s a rather compacted 56 game season that’s going to look a lot different than what we’re used to. All 7 Canadian teams jammed into one division, playing against each other a lot. Like, 10 games against the Canucks first two opponents this season: The Calgary Flames and tonight’s test, the Edmonton Oilers.

It may not be the toughest division to win, but it might be the most competitive. Apart from the Ottawa Senators, 6 of these 7 could be a playoff team. The chances of the Canucks being one of those playoff teams isn’t looking stellar at the moment, about the same as they did last season. While the gap between 2nd and 6th is small, the Canucks are more likely to be that 6th place team than the 2nd place one. A lot of things will need to go right (not something we as Canucks fans are used to) if they hope to make a 2nd straight appearance in the playoffs. There’s no play in round this year. They have to actually earn the spot. We’ll see how things pan out, but like we try and tell you every damn year: Y’all need to lower your expectations and you might survive this season.

TONIGHT’S OPPONENT

The Edmonton Oilers find themselves in a similar situation to the Canucks, in the mix for one of the spots in the North Division, but a lot of things have to go right. Goaltending will once again be a question for this team, and with news yesterday that their 3rd string netminder Anton Forsberg when he was claimed off the waiver wire by the Carolina Hurricanes. This leaves the team in need of a 3rd option to Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen, and must be frustrating for them as the plan was to give Forsberg some starts this season.

Offensively, the story is the same for the Oilers: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are gonna score a buttload of goals, and if the Oilers can get some consistent output from everyone else, they might have a hope.

THE CANUCKS

When starting a new season, one wants to have all their weapons handy at their disposal, so the news that J.T. Miller is not available for the trip to Edmonton is not the kind of news that the Canucks were hoping for. What this could mean, is that the Nils Hoglander era could begin tonight. It also meant that this was the first power play unit at practice yesterday:

This is uh, a little exciting.

LINEUPS

From nhl.com, here’s what we’ll see from these two teams tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

Jake Virtanen — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Nils Hoglander

Antoine Roussel — Adam Gaudette — Zack MacEwen

Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Brandon Sutter

Alexander Edler — Nate Schmidt

Quinn Hughes — Travis Hamonic

Olli Juolevi — Tyler Myers

Braden Holtby

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Loui Eriksson, Jalen Chatfield

Injured: J.T. Miller (unfit to play), Jordie Benn (unfit to play)

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Connor McDavid — Zack Kassian

Dominik Kahun — Leon Draisaitl — Kailer Yamamoto

Josh Archibald — Kyle Turris — Jesse Puljujarvi

Tyler Ennis — Jujhar Khaira — Alex Chiasson

Darnell Nurse — Ethan Bear

Caleb Jones — Adam Larsson

Slater Koekkoek — Tyson Barrie

Mikko Koskinen

Mike Smith

Scratched: Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson

Injured: James Neal (unfit to play)

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Richmond, VA has been producing some incredible metal acts over the last couple decades: GWAR, Municipal Waste, Alabama Thunderpussy, Iron Reagan, Cannibis Corpse and Inter Arma to name a few. Add a new one to that list: ENFORCED. Crossover thrash that has the kind of riffs that make you wanna run through a brick wall. Their new album ‘Kill Grid’ is out March 21st on Century Media Records.

We hope you’re ready for another fun season of Canucks hockey and happy you’re here with us! Go Canucks Go!