VANCOUVER CANUCKS (13-15-2) vs SAN JOSE SHARKS (15-13-1)
SAP ARENA, SAN JOSE, CA
TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: FEAR THE FIN
You might want to record this game, because it could be the last one we see with normal attendance capacity for a while. With the Omicron variant spreading wildly across North America, provincial and state governments are scrambling to bring in measures to try and limit the rate of infection so as not to overwhelm already burdened healthcare systems. So we’ll just remind you that the basics still apply: Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, and while I know it’s the holiday season, the best gift you can give your loved ones is not infecting them with a virus that can lead to long term health complications or worse.
So maybe a little distraction is needed to keep our minds off how everything is just bloody awful, and the Canucks have been doing a hell of a job at that over the last week and a half with the way they’ve been playing. A win tonight will give them six straight and eight of their last nine, and more importantly, move them to within 1 point of their opponent tonight, the San Jose Sharks.
A lot of people had the Sharks residing a little lower down the pole, but a fantastic start to the season, despite the off-ice distractions provided by Evander Kane, saw them looking very much in the playoff hunt. They’ve cooled off a bit since then, going 5-5-0 over the last ten, the most recent a 4-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks are now just four points back of the last Wild Card spot in the West, but every team in front of them right now have games in hand on Vancouver.
Tonight is the first meeting between the Sharks and Canucks in a while, and that means our first up close look at Jonathan Dahlen. Another one that might really tarnish Jim Benning’s legacy, Dahlen is off to a great start for the Sharks, ringing up an impressive 8-6-14. We’ll also see Jonah Gadjovich, snagged by San Jose off the waiver wire when the Canucks tried to send him down to the AHL Abbotsford Canucks. Thank you, Jim.
There’s been no additional positive tests among Canucks players, but Assistant Coach Jason King was added to the COVID protocol list today, joining Tucker Poolman, Brad Hunt, Luke Schenn and Juho Lammikko.
One guy who’s been a big part of the Canucks’ recent success? Tyler Myers. With the defence core getting decimated by COVID and injuries, Myers has stepped up both in ice time and his overall play and while wisdom suggests we enjoy this while it lasts, it’s certainly nice to see a guy who’s an easy target getting well-deserved accolades instead.
Courtesy of nhl.com , you might see this if you watch the game tonight:
Canucks projected lineup
Tanner Pearson — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser
Jason Dickinson — Bo Horvat — Nils Hoglander
Vasily Podkolzin — Elias Pettersson — Conor Garland
Alex Chiasson — Justin Dowling — Tyler Motte
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Kyle Burroughs
Guillaume Brisebois — Noah Juulsen
Scratched: Phillip Di Giuseppe
Injured: Travis Hamonic (lower body), Matthew Highmore (upper body), Brandon Sutter (illness), Brady Keeper (leg)
COVID-19 protocol: Juho Lammikko, Luke Schenn, Tucker Poolman, Brad Hunt
Sharks projected lineup
Timo Meier — Logan Couture — Jonathan Dahlen
Jayden Halbgewachs — Tomas Hertl — Alexander Barabanov
Noah Gregor — Nick Bonino — Matt Nieto
Andrew Cogliano — Jasper Weatherby — Lane Pederson
Jacob Middleton — Erik Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Radim Simek
Scratched: Nicolas Meloche, Jonah Gadjovich
Injured: Kevin Labanc (upper body), Nikolai Knyzhov (upper body), Rudolfs Balcers (lower body)
The Canucks called up Guillaume Brisebois from Abbotsford to plug the latest hole on the D, but the good thing is that Oliver Ekman-Larsson should be back from the IR tonight, which will be a big boost for them.
GAME DAY CHATTER
"We went out and had a good pre-game skate, we're ready to play."— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2021
️ Head Coach Bruce Boudreau#Canucks | @TheProvince pic.twitter.com/SVD52B9rmx
Brock Boeser speaks to the media ahead of tonight's game in San Jose.#Canucks | @TheProvince pic.twitter.com/G8p5IBVxc6— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2021
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Here’s your damn Christmas music: Ronnie James Dio with his rendition of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’. Enjoy the game, stay safe. Go Canucks Go!