PPG PAINTS ARENA, PITTSBURGH, PA
TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, NHL NETWORK (US). RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: PENSBURGH
In an interesting scenario to kick off this five game Eastern road swing, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves playing the two teams currently holding the Wild Card spots in the East, followed by one of the teams nipping at their heels. With games against Pittsburgh, Columbus and Boston coming up, this Canucks team, desperate to try and reverse course to prevent another lost season, will have their work cut out for them. Hope of some miraculous turn around that would see them make the playoffs is held only by a delusional few, as they would literally have to be the best team in the NHL just to make it into a Wild Card spot.
Tonight they take on a team that’s giving the Canucks a run for their money in the injury department, the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve won three straight, due in part to getting some outstanding goaltending of late, and the return of Sidney Crosby to their lineup probably hasn’t hurt, either. They’re down to just missing Evgeni Malkin now, and while that’s still an important guy to have out of your lineup, the Penguins appear to be moving in the right direction after a tough start to the season.
Just a reminder, that teams that aren’t in a playoff spot by US Thanksgiving (which is tomorrow) do not make it. For the Western Conference, the average is seven of the eight teams currently occupying slots will be there in April. Tell me again how you think that this Canucks team is not only going to hurdle all the teams in front of them, but do it with just 62 more games after this one tonight.
Courtesy of nhl.com, this is a somewhat accurate guess of what lines we’ll see tonight:
Canucks projected lineup
Scratched: Justin Dowling
Penguins projected lineup
Injured: Evgeni Malkin (knee)
Alex Chaisson is Travis Green’s Jayson Megna, it would seem. JT Miller skated this morning, and will likely be a game time decision. It’s gonna be hard enough to win this one as it is, let alone without their top scorer.
It should be noted Vasily Podkolzin was getting some rotation in Hoglander’s spot this morning. Something to watch for. Thatcher Demko will get the start, and I would expect Tristan Jarry to go again for the Pens.
GAME DAY CHATTER
“Just with Petey on the other side, we know the plays we are looking for. Just our whole unit, we move it well, creating some chances.”— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) November 24, 2021
Brock Boeser on his power play unit ahead of today's game vs. the Penguins#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/57xOzPsFAp
"When you’re all moving around, cutting seams, and working to get open for one another...Those two guys are really good shooters and I like to find guys in open spots."— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) November 24, 2021
Garland on Pettersson and Podkolzin#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/7wW6cXPhT5
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
I love me a good cover tune, especially when you get a band branching out and taking on something out of their realm, like a heavy band reworking a pop song, or in this case, British thrashers EVILE doing a jaw-dropping rendition of an ENTOMBED classic, ‘Drowned’. Does the original proud, that’s for damn sure.
Enjoy the game. Go Canucks Go.