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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Thirty-One- Canucks vs Edmonton

After another putrid performance against Montreal, the Canucks host the Oilers before heading off to Ottawa and... Montreal.

NHL: FEB 25 Oilers at Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images



7:00PM PST



One step forward, two steps back. Every time the Canucks start to look like they’re getting things figured out, they get brought back to earth, and embarrassingly so. Unlike the last couple years, where a lot of Canucks losses were close, hard fought contests, this year’s version of the team doesn’t just lose games. They LOSE them. 12 of their 16 regulation losses are by 3 goals or more. That, more than anything else, highlights just how bad this team is. Day by day, the ability of fans to believe in blue is fading.

So with 25 games remaining after tonight, the Canucks odds of making the post-season continue to shrink, the pressure on management to repair the damage of their own doing grows exponentially. And with the news that we could be looking at flat caps for the next couple years at the absolute minimum, the Canucks are going to be forced to make tough decisions in order to ensure they can lock down players like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko. It’s gonna get ugly, and any forward progress the team has made will be nullified in the process. Be patient, he says.

If it seems like I keep hammering home on this, it’s because we’ve seen this before. The broken record that is Jim Benning and his crew, insisting everything is fine, and the ship is not taking on water. Just be patient, we shall arrive at our destination in a couple more years. I’m so tired of it. This team was one win away from a Stanley Cup a decade ago. Now, they don’t look like they could make the playoffs, let alone even repeat what they did last summer. It should make you angry that the ownership has given Jim Benning this long to fix a team that was headed in the wrong direction, and managed to make things so much worse, even with some impressive draft selections over the past few seasons.

Anyway, let’s get on with the misery. As if things weren’t bad enough, with the goal apparently to still somehow catch the teams in front of them, yesterday the Canucks were missing Brandon Sutter, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel all missed practice yesterday, and while I am sure we’re all hastily working on jokes about how that’s an improvement, losing that many guys in one shot requires a lot of guys who haven’t been playing to jump in and take their spots. They’re already fairly banged up as it is, and not in a situation where they can simply call Utica for reinforcements.

The Oilers meanwhile found the perfect tonic to revitalize themselves after getting swept by the Leafs: a couple games against the Ottawa Senators. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had their way with the Sens, and helped move the Oilers into 2nd place in the North Division. They’ve won 4 straight, and are 8-3-0 on the road this season.


Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl — Connor McDavid — Kailer Yamamoto

Tyler Ennis — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Jesse Puljujarvi

Devin Shore — Jujhar Khaira — Patrick Russell

James Neal — Gaetan Haas — Alex Chiasson

Darnell Nurse — Tyson Barrie

William Lagesson — Adam Larsson

Caleb Jones — Ethan Bear

Mikko Koskinen

Mike Smith

Scratched: Evan Bouchard, Dominik Kahun

Injured: Zack Kassian (upper body), Slater Koekkoek (collarbone), Josh Archibald (upper body), Kris Russell (lower body)

COVID-19 protocol: Kyle Turris

Canucks projected lineup

Nils Hoglander — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Jake Virtanen

Marc Michaelis — Brandon Sutter — Adam Gaudette

Antoine Roussel — Jay Beagle — Jayce Hawryluk

Alexander Edler — Nate Schmidt

Quinn Hughes — Travis Hamonic

Jordie Benn — Tyler Myers

Thatcher Demko

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Jalen Chatfield, Zack MacEwen, Loui Eriksson

Injured: Elias Pettersson (upper body), Justin Bailey (upper body), Tyler Motte (undisclosed), Micheal Ferland (head)

What we know is that Thatcher Demko will start again. Demko’s the only reason the Canucks even have a sniff at catching the pack, and has firmly established his role as the #1 goalie for the team. What we don’t know is which of the three Canucks who missed practice yesterday will be available tonight. I suppose it’s nice to have something to look forward to for a change?



Back to Japan, this time for a band called NEMOPHILIA. They’ve gotten some buzz on youtube with covers of IRON MAIDEN and AC/DC classics, but their original material is pretty damn solid.