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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Six- Canucks vs Montreal

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Last night’s 6-5 SO win was exciting to watch, apart from a couple of absolutely rotten goaltending performances on both sides. And with the Canucks now looking seriously banged up, trying to repeat that process could be even harder.

Montreal Canadiens v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (1-3-0) vs MONTREAL CANADIENS (2-0-1))

ROGERS ARENA- VANCOUVER, BC

6:30PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TSN2, NBCSN. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE

I am sure you’re saying to yourself “A win is a win, why the hell are you complaining?” and to that I say, welcome to Nucks Misconduct. Yes, it was a win, and there were a lot of positive takeaways from the game last night, and at the same time a lot of continuing issues that are giant flashing red lights with air raid sirens kind of bad.

They’re still giving up way too many shots, and what happens when you give up a ton of shots? You have players blocking a ton of shots. And when you block a ton of shots, you end up with players getting injured on those shot blocks. And that’s how you end up in a situation the Canucks find themselves in tonight, as they might need to replace Alexander Edler, Travis Hamonic, Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle.

As entertaining as games like this are, we’re still waiting to see the Canucks go out and actually dominate a game for 60 minutes, something that for all the ups and downs they had last year, you can say they actually did. The win did manage to get them out of last place in the division, but they’re going to need to string some wins together or that gap between playoff teams and also rans is going to widen fast.

What was good last night was to see J.T. Miller getting closer and closer to last season’s form. He’s really become such a vital piece of the success of this organization in a very short time, and the Canucks are so much better when he’s in the lineup. Also good, the power play actually looking like it did last year: as a threat to teams who don’t worry about taking penalties against the Canucks. A good power play can be a real game changer, and when you’re worried about giving your opponent a chance on the power play it can get you off your game. Going 3 for 6 last night and looking dangerous on most of their opportunities, you can bet the Habs will be wary of getting themselves in these situations again, something that the Canucks should exploit with their speed and forecheck.

Still, they’re going to have to find an answer for Tyler Tofolli, because he was the best player on the ice last night, and pretty unlucky to come out of that with just the single point.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, here’s sort of kind of what we might see tonight from these teams:

Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar — Phillip Danault — Brendan Gallagher

Jonathan Drouin — Nick Suzuki — Josh Anderson

Joel Armia — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Tyler Toffoli

Artturi Lehkonen — Jake Evans — Paul Byron

Ben Chiarot — Shea Weber

Joel Edmundson — Jeff Petry

Brett Kulak — Alexander Romanov

Jake Allen

Carey Price

Scratched: Victor Mete

Injured: None

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Nils Hoglander

Antoine Roussel — Adam Gaudette — Jake Virtanen

Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Brandon Sutter

Quinn Hughes — Travis Hamonic

Nate Schmidt — Tyler Myers

Jordie Benn — Jalen Chatfield

Thatcher Demko

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Zack MacEwen, Olli Juolevi, Loui Eriksson

Injured: Alexander Edler (upper body), Jayce Hawryluk (undisclosed), Micheal Ferland (head)

So Edler is pretty much a done deal as far as not playing tonight, but we’ll still need to figure out the status of Hamonic, Beagle and Sutter. It likely means we see Jordie Benn getting his first game of the season after returning from COVID-19 Protocol. He’s skated once with the team so far, so maaaayyyybe they might want to consider putting Juolevi back in the lineup, or looking to the taxi squad for some help. Guillaume Brisebois is the most experienced of the three defenders, but they may want to have a look at Brogan Rafferty, who was outstanding in his rookie season in the AHL last year, or getting Jack Rathbone his first NHL game. If Beagle and Sutter can’t go, it likely means bringing Loui Eriksson back in for a night, and then Zack MacEwan or maybe Justin Bailey from the taxi squad. They have options, the question is: are any of them going to help them win tonight?

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

While looking for a track for today’s post I stumbled across this one from Ohio based thrashers VINDICATOR. If you can get past the ridiculously stereotypical album art there’s a ton of kickass riffs here on a track called ‘Hockey Stick Vengeance’. Not a lot of metal songs about hockey, but I am always on the hunt for more.

Don’t forget the early start time, and try and enjoy the game! Go Canucks Go!