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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME THIRTY-ONE: Canucks @ San Jose- Dec 16, 2021

The Canucks head to the Bay Area looking to extend this improbable win streak to six games as they take on the Sharks tonight.

NHL: JAN 29 Canucks at Sharks Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (13-15-2) vs SAN JOSE SHARKS (15-13-1)

SAP ARENA, SAN JOSE, CA

7:30PM PST

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.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com , you might see this if you watch the game tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser

Jason DickinsonBo HorvatNils Hoglander

Vasily PodkolzinElias PetterssonConor Garland

Alex ChiassonJustin DowlingTyler Motte

Quinn HughesTyler Myers

Oliver Ekman-LarssonKyle Burroughs

Guillaume BriseboisNoah Juulsen

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

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 MeierLogan CoutureJonathan Dahlen

Jayden HalbgewachsTomas HertlAlexander Barabanov

Noah GregorNick BoninoMatt Nieto

Andrew CoglianoJasper WeatherbyLane Pederson

Mario FerraroBrent Burns

Jacob MiddletonErik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard VlasicRadim Simek

Adin Hill

James Reimer

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

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!