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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Eight- Canucks vs Ottawa

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After giving up 5 of 6 possible points to the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks prepare for the first of 3 games in 4 nights against the Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa Senators v Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (2-5-0) vs OTTAWA SENATORS (1-3-1))

ROGERS ARENA- VANCOUVER, BC

7:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TSN5, NHL NETWORK. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: SILVER SEVEN SENS

It’s really starting to feel like letting the Canucks into the playoffs last year was the worst thing that could have happened. No one really expected them to even get past Minnesota, let alone take down the defending champion St Louis Blues and then push the Vegas Golden Knights to a winner take all 7th game. Sure, it was a heck of a run, and it was so damn good to get that rush that only comes from playoff hockey, something we’ve really missed. But a couple things have become pretty clear as we head into the 8th game of the season. First, if we’re to believe that this team is as good as they were last year, that all of the departures were replaced by players of equal skill and value. Whether you’re a firm believer in analytics, or swear by the eye test, there’s no possible way this team is as good as last year. And so if they’re not as good, and the moves that were made, and not made over the summer that find this team quite arguably the worst in the NHL right now, shouldn’t someone be held accountable for this?

We’re in Year 7 of the Jim Benning era with the Vancouver Canucks, and if they can’t run the table against the Ottawa Senators over these next three games, we can pretty much kiss the thought of another post season appearance goodbye. You shouldn’t be shocked at this, though. We, and others have tried to tell you that the Canucks perilous cap situation, and the free agent failures of Benning were going to come back to haunt this team. Now we have to live with the potential nightmare of losing 10 games to Jacob Markstrom and the Calgary Flames in a single season. The problem is that there’s not a general manager that can simply step in and fix this mess. It’s going to take years, and those are going to be wasted years of players like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Nils Hoglander. Would I love to see these guys dig down, and gut out some wins and make things fun again? Of course I would. But we haven’t seen even the slightest glimmer of the team that made things fun again last season.

So after getting fed their lunch by a Montreal team who looks like the team to beat in the North Division so far, the Canucks are up against an Ottawa team that is slowly starting to compile some young talent that should give that long suffering fan base some hope for the future, with guys like Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot and Tim Stutzle.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is probably what we’re gonna see lineup-wise tonight:

Senators projected lineup

Brady Tkachuk — Josh Norris — Drake Batherson

Nick Paul — Artem Anisimov — Evgenii Dadonov

Tim Stützle — Chris Tierney — Connor Brown

Alex Galchenyuk — Derek Stepan — Austin Watson

Thomas Chabot — Nikita Zaitsev

Mike Reilly — Erik Gudbranson

Christian Wolanin — Josh Brown

Matt Murray

Marcus Hogberg

Scratched: Artem Zub, Braydon Coburn, Colin White

Injured: Cedric Paquette (lower body)

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Nils Hoglander

Zack MacEwen — Brandon Sutter — Jake Virtanen

Antoine Roussel — Jay Beagle — Tyler Motte

Alexander Edler — Nate Schmidt

Quinn Hughes — Jordie Benn

Olli Juolevi — Tyler Myers

Braden Holtby

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Adam Gaudette, Loui Eriksson

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

Braden Holtby was the first goaltender off the ice tonight, indicating that he will likely be the starter as the Canucks move away from alternating starts between Holtby and Thatcher Demko for the first time this season. Other than that, we’re not expecting any changes to the Canucks lineup tonight. For Ottawa, it looks like they’ll be getting their highly touted rookie Tim Stutzle back in tonight.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

BOLT THROWER may have called it a day, but their legacy is carried on by their former vocalist Karl Willets in MEMORIAM. With that definite BT vibe, but still sounding more like their own entity than a flat out tribute act, the band are set to release their latest album ‘To The End’ on Nuclear Blast Records March 26th.

Enjoy the game, Go Canucks Go!