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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game Twenty Six- Canucks @ Winnipeg

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A fantastic performance, but one that leaves us with the question: Are the Canucks better than they’ve shown, or are the Jets worse?

Vancouver Canucks v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (9-14-2) vs WINNIPEG JETS (13-7-1)

MTS CENTER- WINNIPEG, MB

5:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TSN3. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: ARCTIC ICE HOCKEY

Obviously we’re joking, because the answer is both. Okay, in all seriousness that was one heck of an effort by the Canucks defensively last night. It mirrored that earlier win in Winnipeg, only this time they had better goaltending than the previous outing. Thatcher Demko was full value last night for his first NHL shutout, but the team in front of him did make it easier for him, especially in the first 40 minutes, holding the Jets to just 12 shots.

That game had pretty much everything you wanted to see out of the Canucks: First goal of the game, a 2nd unit PP marker, goals from J.T. Miller and Nils Hoglander, and a Brandon Sutter assist. Hell, there was only way it could have been better, and Hoglander just about gave us that, as he bobbled an attempt at a lacrosse goal.

The real question is: how do they respond tonight? This will be their 5th back to back of the season, and they’ve won both games just once, when they swept Ottawa 3 straight in Vancouver at the end of January. A win tonight will be a huge confidence boost to a team desperate to find one.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what these two teams will offer up for us tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Jake Virtanen

Nils Hoglander — Brandon Sutter — Adam Gaudette

Antoine Roussel — Jay Beagle — Jayce Hawryluk

Alexander Edler — Nate Schmidt

Quinn Hughes — Travis Hamonic

Jordie Benn — Tyler Myers

Braden Holtby

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Jalen Chatfield, Zack MacEwen, Olli Juolevi

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

Jets projected lineup

Pierre-Luc Dubois — Mark Scheifele — Blake Wheeler

Kyle Connor — Paul Stastny — Nikolaj Ehlers

Andrew Copp — Adam Lowry — Mason Appleton

Mathieu Perreault — Nate Thompson — Trevor Lewis

Josh Morrissey — Tucker Poolman

Derek Forbort — Neal Pionk

Nathan Beaulieu — Dylan DeMelo

Laurent Brossoit

Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Anton Forsberg, Jansen Harkins, Sami Niku

Injured: None

So the Canucks have a bit of a conundrum in goal at the moment. Thatcher Demko has clearly established himself as the number one with his play of late, and though he’s started the last three, it makes perfect sense to go with the hot hand, especially considering the workload last night. On the other hand, you have a goalie in Braden Holtby who has not found his form even in the games he’s won this season, and could desperately use a solid outing and the kind of defensive support Demko got last night to get him into the groove. What to do, what to do? What they’ll do is roll with Holtby, and hope the players show up again tonight with another workman-like effort.

The only other change could see Zack MacEwan sit in place of Jayce Hawryluk, though MacEwan had a decent outing last night, and the physical presence he brings is never a bad thing. The Jets will get Tucker Poolman back tonight, which means Sami Niku is out. They’ll go with Laurent Brossoit, who is the World’s Greatest Goaltender when he plays the Vancouver Canucks.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Released on this day in 1987, New Jersey bangers OVERKILL unleashed their 2nd album ‘Taking Over’. The disc had a number of tracks that are staples in their live sets: Wrecking Crew, Power Surge, In Union We Stand and this one. A little Electro Violence to get ya going for this one. Enjoy the game, and Go Canucks Go!