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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Seven- Canucks vs Montreal

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The game on Thursday night was one of the worst in the Jim Benning era, and that’s really saying something. Injuries are mounting and last year’s playoff run is starting to look like a fever dream.

NHL: JAN 21 Canadiens at Canucks Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (2-4-0) vs MONTREAL CANADIENS (3-0-2))

ROGERS ARENA- VANCOUVER, BC

4:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET, CBC, CITY. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE

Alright, let’s get this part out of the way first. It is absolutely maddening that Tyler Myers was not given a suspension for his hit on Joel Armia late in Thursday night’s game. To overrule the on-ice officials, who after reviewing the video gave Myers a match penalty for a head shot, and then basically call them out through an overly thorough explanation of why the hit was “legal”, speaks volumes about the problems that this league and the sport in general have with player safety. The hit was absolute garbage, and not punishing Myers sends a bad message, and a bad vibe for tonight’s contest (but enough about Corey Perry).

That game was a microcosm of the issues facing the Vancouver Canucks. When the planets align, they look like contenders. On most nights, they need a little or a lot of help, depending on the opponent. And on nights like Thursday, every single weakness this team is laid bare, magnified, and exploited by the opposition. We’re well aware of how many games into the season the Canucks are at the moment, and yes there is plenty of time to turn things around. If you think that this team in its current makeup can do that, those are some Roussel coloured glasses you’re wearing.

And compounding these issues is the far too familiar refrain of multiple injuries. With Alexander Edler, Travis Hamonic and Jalen Chatfield all out, the Canucks defence is set to be exploited yet again. And it could have been worse, had Myers been suspended as he should have. Jordie Benn is expected to play his first game of the season tonight since returning from the COVID-19 Protocol List. We’ve already seen that Brogan Rafferty has been sent back to the taxi squad though, so we should expect either Jack Rathbone or Guillaume Brisebois to slot in if Edler is still a no-go.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, here’s a somewhat accurate guess of what these teams will ice tonight:

Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar — Phillip Danault — Brendan Gallagher

Jonathan Drouin — Nick Suzuki — Josh Anderson

Corey Perry — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Tyler Toffoli

Artturi Lehkonen — Jake Evans — Paul Byron

Ben Chiarot — Shea Weber

Joel Edmundson — Jeff Petry

Brett Kulak — Alexander Romanov

Carey Price

Jake Allen

Scratched: Victor Mete

Injured: Joel Armia (concussion)

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 — Tyler Myers

Jordie Benn — Nate Schmidt

Olli Juolevi — Brogan Rafferty

Braden Holtby

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Zack MacEwen, Loui Eriksson

Injured: Alexander Edler (upper body), Jalen Chatfield (upper body), Travis Hamonic (upper body), Jayce Hawryluk (undisclosed), Micheal Ferland (head)

“It can’t get much worse than Tyler Tofolli scoring 5 goals in 2 games against us” you probably said to yourself, to which Claude Julien replied “Hold my beer!” as he inserts Corey Perry into the lineup on Tofolli’s line. I expect this game to Corey Perry levels of stupid, and the Canucks have no one to blame but themselves (and especially Myers) for it being that way.

GAME DAY CHATTER

In order to win the rubber match tonight, this team must to a man be better defensively, get a lights out performance from Braden Holtby, and have Elias Pettersson bust out of the longest pointless streak of his NHL career. Easy peasy.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

One of the bright sides to the upheaval of everyday life caused by the pandemic is it’s given us a total goldrush of bands and musicians collaborating to cover all manner of songs. One of these musicians is ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, who’s been crossing genres and working with some of the music industry’s biggest and brightest to produce some really fun tunes. Gonna toss a couple up here for you. First up, Charlie’s joined by Canadians Danko Jones and members of SUM 41 for a great NWOBHM medley of Judas Priest, Motorhead and Iron Maiden. After that, it’s a RUN DMC medley with DMC, Ra Diaz (Suicidal Tendencies bassist) and Rob Caggiano (Volbeat, ex-Anthrax). Finally, we’ve got a Stormtroopers Of Death reunion, except they replaced racist Trump supporter Billy Milano with Faith No More/Mr Bungle vocalist Mike Patton, and reworked the lyrics (and I am sure Milano loved that haha) on “Speak Spanish Or Die”.

Charlie’s got a ton of these on his You Tube page (including a pretty great cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” with Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick), so go check it out, yo!