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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Sixteen- Canucks @ Toronto

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They’re going to remember not to trip over that same rock again, right?

Vancouver Canucks v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (6-9-0) vs TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (9-2-1)

SCOTIABANK ARENA- TORONTO, ON

4:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TVAS, SPORTSNET ONTARIO. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: PENSION PLAN PUPPETS

This might be the biggest game of Travis Green’s tenure as coach of the Vancouver Canucks. If his charges don’t come out of the gates tonight ready to battle and really take the game to what is arguably the best team in the NHL right now, he could very well find his time as the Canucks bench boss come to an abrupt and unglamourous end.

No pressure, right?

Since what was essentially their best performance of the year in the first game of this road trip in Winnipeg, the Canucks have rattled off 4 straight losses, each one more frustrating and embarrassing than the last.

We’ve put up with a lot in the last 10 years, and the promise was that things were going to get better after getting so close a decade ago. We bought in on a rebuild far earlier than the team did. We knew what they had was not good enough and they would need to rebuild a completely new core. We’ve been patient, watching as the team slowly drafted some players that they could genuinely craft something special around.

And we’ve tried to temper our frustration with a management team that has fumbled and bumbled their way through these 7 years, taking two steps back for every step forward, culminating in a summer that promised the issues that were facing this team were going to be addressed. Either we were blatantly lied to, or they really aren’t good at this, because the issues: defence and goaltending, have been so glaringly bad that the season is already in jeopardy.

So that leaves the Canucks in the situation of having to play a game with bigger stakes than the Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights a few months earlier. And somehow, the team that’s been getting their asses kicked on a nightly basis has to reverse course here.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what we should expect tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Loui Eriksson

Nils Hoglander — Brandon Sutter — Justin Bailey

Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Antoine Roussel

Quinn Hughes — Jordie Benn

Nate Schmidt — Tyler Myers

Alexander Edler — Olli Juolevi

Braden Holtby

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Zack MacEwen, Jake Virtanen, Adam Gaudette, Jalen Chatfield

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

Alexander Barabanov — Travis Boyd — Jason Spezza

Morgan Rielly — TJ Brodie

Jake Muzzin — Justin Holl

Mikko Lehtonen — Zach Bogosian

Rasmus Sandin

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Nic Petan, Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks

Injured: Nicholas Robertson (lower body), Joe Thornton (upper body), Jack Campbell (lower body), Travis Dermott (charley horse)

After a couple really bad nights in Toronto, Jalen Chatfield is out and Olli Juolevi returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for 6 straight games.

This sucks, because Motte’s been probably the best of the bottom 6 so far this year.

They’re also giving Braden Holtby the start tonight. Holtby was pissed off after Saturday’s game, and rightfully so. Giving him the chance to battle for a win may just get the Canucks motivated after being called out for another lackluster effort.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

With the release of Hell Unleashed, UK thrashers EVILE return to the scene with their first release since ‘Skull’ in 2013. The title track seems to promise what helped them become one of the leaders of the New Wave of Thrash Metal, tons of furious, speedy riffs to be found here. Try and enjoy the game, alright? Go Canucks Go.