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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME FIFTEEN: Canucks @ Vegas- Nov 13, 2021

The Canucks are coming off probably the worst loss of Jim Benning’s tenure as General Manager as they head into Vegas tonight. Anything less than a dominant win is simply not good enough.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (5-7-2) vs VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (8-6-0)

T MOBILE ARENA, LAS VEGAS, NV

7:00PM PST

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

OPPOSING BLOG: KNIGHTS ON ICE

It was one of the worst performances we’ve seen from this team in the last decade, and we’re fully aware of how high the bar is on the Canucks and bad performances. To a man, the team absolutely stunk up the joint, and no one should be spared criticism here, and to top it all off, an already short-handed defence crew gets kicked while they’re down thanks to a stupid, selfish penalty from Tucker Poolman, suspended for both remaining games on this road trip.

I wanted to give this team the benefit of the doubt this year, because there was an actual effort to shake things up. Some of the moves appeared at first to be what they were billed as, as the Canucks stumbled a bit, but have been close in the majority of the games they’ve lost. The effort was there, and it was identifiable things that, if fixed, should see this team right its course and progress.

And that’s what makes the loss Thursday in Colorado so damn frustrating. They deserved to win that game against Anaheim, stymied by a hot goalie and dumb bounces. There were positives to build on heading out on the road, finishing a not so great road trip with two solid outings, it seemed like momentum they could carry into that game.

That kind of effort, knowing they can literally see the season slipping from their grasp already, is inexcusable. And while it’s understandable that the coaching should be under fire here, and rightfully so, canning Travis Green because he was unable to turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse makes little sense. You really believe that there’s another coach out there who can make this defence play better? That can make their penalty kill actually prevent goals? This team is broken, and it was built that way.

And so they limp into Vegas, who are no doubt licking their chops as they see an utterly beatable mark walk into the casino. And while Vegas is a good team, when you look at who’s out of their lineup right now, this is a game most teams should be looking at and saying that this is an absolutely winnable game. And believe me, they know things could go sideways for them.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what we’re likely to see in tonight’s contest:

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonJ.T. MillerNils Hoglander

Vasily PodkolzinBo HorvatConor Garland

Jason DickinsonElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Justin BaileyJuho LammikkoAlex Chiasson

Quinn HughesTyler Myers

Oliver Ekman-LarssonKyle Burroughs

Brad HuntMadison Bowey

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Jack Rathbone, Justin Dowling

Injured: Matthew Highmore (upper body), Brady Keeper (leg), Tyler Motte (upper body), Luke Schenn (lower body), Brandon Sutter (illness)

Suspended: Tucker Poolman

Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan MarchessaultNicolas RoyReilly Smith

Evgenii DadonovChandler StephensonMark Stone

Mattias JanmarkJake LeschyshynKeegan Kolesar

Michael AmadioBrett Howden — Jonas Rondbjerg

Nicolas HagueAlex Pietrangelo

Alec MartinezShea Theodore

Brayden McNabbDylan Coghlan

Robin Lehner

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Ben Hutton

Injured: Jack Eichel (neck), Max Pacioretty (foot), William Karlsson (foot), William Carrier (undisclosed), Zach Whitecloud (hand)

Mark Stone is a game time decision and we’ll have to see but my guess is he returns tonight. Also, play Ben Hutton, you cowards! As you can see, there’s a seismic shift in the line combinations tonight. The most intriguing one is Jason Dickinson slotting in with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. Dickinson has to be the most disappointing of the new crop of Canucks brought in by Jim Benning this past summer, and you’ll pardon me if I have a hard time believing this line combo lasts beyond the halfway point in the game.

GAME DAY CHATTER

We’ll see what they’re made of, one way or the other. But the ownership of this team needs to wake up to the fact that the fans of this hockey club simply do not have the time for more excuses and the lack of accountability that will be Jim Benning’s legacy. We deserve better than to have our loyalty and intelligence insulted at every step by a management team that hasn’t shown it can fix the problem of its own making.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Canadian metal legends ANNIHILATOR have embarked on a massive project to re-release a huge chunk of their back catalog, and the first one up is 2007’s ‘METAL’. Entitled ‘METAL II’, it’s revamped with guest appearances like this track: A guest solo from the late Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM), vocals from INTO ETERNITY’s Stu Block, and drums by Dave Lombardo (ex-SLAYER, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, MR. BUNGLE). A band that’s never been as loved in their home country, but Canadian metalheads should show Jeff Waters some love!

Let’s hope there’s something to be happy about after this. We’ll have full post game coverage, plus our preview of the Canucks and Ducks tomorrow! Go Canucks Go!