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GAME DAY PREVIEW- Game Thirty-Nine: Canucks vs Toronto

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With Edler suspended, an already hobbled back end is going to be the focus tonight. Also, they still shouldn’t be playing. A win Sunday doesn’t change that.

NHL: APR 18 Maple Leafs at Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (17-18-3) vs TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (28-12-5)

ROGERS ARENA- VANCOUVER, BC

6:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: PENSION PLAN PUPPETS

While that might have been the most meaningful win of Jim Benning’s tenure as Canucks GM, it certainly shouldn’t change your mind about the Canucks being forced to play out what will be a losing season. Yes, it was downright joyous to see the efforts of guys like Bo Horvat, as well as Tyler Myers and Braden Holtby with their best performances as Canucks, but winning a game against a team going through some late season hiccups, running on pure adrenaline is not even remotely sustainable.

As difficult as the task at hand was on Sunday, it’s even more so tonight. While Thatcher Demko is back skating today and should be in as backup tonight, the pressure is on Holtby to try and pull off back to back wins for the first time this season. They have to do it with a defensive core that will be missing Alex Edler, suspended two games by the NHL for his knee on knee hit on Zach Hyman Sunday night. So that leaves the Canucks with just four NHL regulars on the back end: Myers, Quinn Hughes and Travis Hamonic, and Nate Schmidt, who is ready to return after his bout with the virus. They’ll be joined by Jalen Chatfield and Olli Juolevi, who was taken off the COVID protocol list on Sunday.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of NHL.com, this is what we will probably get in terms of skaters tonight:

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Alex GalchenyukAuston MatthewsMitchell Marner

William NylanderJohn TavaresAlexander Kerfoot

Nicholas RobertsonAdam BrooksJason Spezza

Joe ThorntonPierre EngvallWayne Simmonds

Morgan RiellyJustin Holl

Jake MuzzinTJ Brodie

Rasmus SandinZach Bogosian

David Rittich

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Travis Dermott, Scott Sabourin, Martin Marincin

Injured: Ilya Mikheyev (undisclosed), Zach Hyman (knee), Frederik Andersen (lower body), Riley Nash (lower body)

COVID-19 protocol: Nick Foligno, Ben Hutton

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonBo HorvatNils Hoglander

Jimmy VeseyJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser

Antoine RousselBrandon SutterJayce Hawryluk

Matthew HighmoreTravis BoydJake Virtanen

Quinn HughesTravis Hamonic

Nate SchmidtTyler Myers

Olli JuoleviJalen Chatfield

Braden Holtby

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Ashton Sautner, Marc Michaelis, Michael DiPietro

Injured: Tyler Motte (illness), Zack MacEwen (undisclosed), Elias Pettersson (upper body), Jay Beagle (undisclosed), Justin Bailey (shoulder), Micheal Ferland (head)

COVID-19 protocol: Madison Bowey

Suspended: Alexander Edler

So tonight sees the Canucks get their lineup bolstered a bit (sort of) as Schmidt and Jake Virtanen are both ready to return to the lineup. We also see Jim Benning’s latest reclamation project in action as Matthew Highmore, forevermore known as the guy Chicago used to swindle Adam Gaudette from the Canucks, will make his Vancouver debut on a line with Virtanen and Travis Boyd.

GAME DAY CHATTER

That would be nice.

And to try and offer up something that resembles a glimmer of hope...

Also, you might wanna get in on this tonight:

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

LA Industrial metal legends FEAR FACTORY are back, and if the entire album is like this first sample, it’s gonna be a beast. From the upcoming ‘Aggression Continuum’, this is ‘Disruptor’, out soon on Nuclear Blast Records.

Enjoy the game. Go Canucks Go.