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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Fourteen- Canucks @ Toronto

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“The good thing, friends” the hero said, “Is that the worst is behind us.” NARRATOR: It wasn’t.

Vancouver Canucks v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (6-7-0) vs TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (7-2-1)

SCOTIABANK ARENA- TORONTO, ON

4:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TSN4. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: PENSION PLAN PUPPETS

This season has already felt unbearably long, hasn’t it? We’re 14 of the way through this truncated season, and despite being one game under the .500 mark, they’ve yet to win a game in anything remotely considered a dominant style. I don’t care how many goals you out score Ottawa by right now, it’s Ottawa and they’re really, really bad. These last two games should have been an opportunity for this club to send a statement to the Montreal Canadiens and the rest of the North Division to write them off at their own peril. Instead, we got just more of the same lackadaisical effort top to bottom from this lineup.

And now we find them having to take on the team many feel is the best in the North, the Toronto Maple Leafs. They did a lot of work in the offseason swapping out parts for parts, adding Zack Bogosian and TJ Brodie on the back end, as well as Wayne Simmonds and the currently injured Joe Thornton up front. They have some good young talent in Nic Petan and Ilya Mikheyev along with the guys you know: Austin Matthews, Mitchell Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and Morgan Reilly. They’re good, and deep and if they can get the goaltending this team could go on a long playoff run.

Given the way the Canucks struggled against the Habs over the last couple weeks, it’s hard to go into this game with any type of confidence. Apart from the opening night win over the Oilers and the coin-flip win over Montreal, they had a decent win in Winnipeg and three over the Senators. And now they’re going up against another team that can pick defences apart. They have three chances to get it right before returning home to start 4 straight against Jacob Markstrom and the Calgary Flames, and lets face it: if they don’t start racking up some wins here, their season is over. Yeah, I said it. It doesn’t get easier. These are the only teams they play and most of them have swatted the Canucks away easily. If they start with a win in Toronto tonight, maybe there’s hope. If not...

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is pretty much what we’re stuck with tonight in terms of lineups:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Nils Hoglander

Antoine Roussel — Brandon Sutter — Adam Gaudette

Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Jake Virtanen

Quinn Hughes — Jordie Benn

Nate Schmidt — Tyler Myers

Alexander Edler — Jalen Chatfield

Thatcher Demko

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Zack MacEwen, Loui Eriksson, Olli Juolevi

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

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman — Auston Matthews — Mitchell Marner

Wayne Simmonds — John Tavares — William Nylander

Jimmy Vesey — Alexander Kerfoot — Ilya Mikheyev

Nic Petan — Travis Boyd — Jason Spezza

Morgan Rielly — TJ Brodie

Jake Muzzin — Justin Holl

Travis Dermott — Zach Bogosian

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Rasmus Sandin, Mikko Lehtonen, Alexander Barabanov, Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks

Injured: Nicholas Robertson (lower body), Joe Thornton (upper body), Jack Campbell (lower body)

Jake Virtanen draws in tonight at the expense of Zack MacEwan tonight, after being a healthy scratch Tuesday night in Montreal. After a strong performance in a losing cause, Thatcher Demko will get the nod again tonight for the Canucks. Frederik Andersen is in the crease for the Leafs, and this will be Petan’s first game of the season.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Australian bashers ESCARION have released a new album this past weekend entitled ‘Pillars Of The Faith’ that’s been getting a lot of buzz in metal circles. The band features Burnaby native (and a buddy of mine) Tommy Lewko (Omega Crom, Tyrants Blood). If you like this, make sure and check them out on Bandcamp. Enjoy the game tonight, Go Canucks Go, etc.