VANCOUVER CANUCKS (2-4-0) vs MONTREAL CANADIENS (3-0-2))
ROGERS ARENA- VANCOUVER, BC
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.
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
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
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
“We weren’t just giving up scoring chances, we were giving up goals. We gift-wrapped four or five goals. In this league, if you give up chances that are gifts, you’re going to lose bad. We did that tonight.” - Coach Green following Vancouver’s 7-3 loss to Montreal. pic.twitter.com/qFT1enJyOv— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 22, 2021
“It wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to figure it out within our dressing room and buy-in. Everybody has to step up, including myself.” Bo Horvat said it like it is post-game. pic.twitter.com/j1A6OPeLwq— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 22, 2021
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!