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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME THIRTY-SIX: Canucks @ Tampa Bay- Jan 13, 2022

The Canucks look to rebound after a tough loss against the Panthers Tuesday night, but will have their hands full with the defending Cup Champion Lightning.

Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (16-16-3) vs TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (24-9-5)

AMALIE ARENA, TAMPA BAY, FL

4:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: RAW CHARGE

After having to face first place Florida in their last game, it seems a tad cruel that the rest of the road trip reads the way it does. The schedule is what it is though, and if the Canucks hope to keep their infinitesimal playoff hopes alive, then they need to, and this is probably going to sound weird, beat teams that are better than they are.

And let’s face it, if you want to make a statement game, knocking off the team that’s won the last two Stanley Cups is one that everyone will notice. The hole they’ve dug for themselves is deep, and if they hope to stay in the race, they need to not only win, but stop losing in regulation. A mere three Bettman points on the season so far for the Canucks, something else that could come back to haunt them in the waning days of the season.

Tampa’s looking very much like they could be the first actual dynasty since the late 70’s-early to mid 80’s, when just three teams won the Cup over almost a decade and a half. As someone who lived through the Habs, Islanders and Oilers runs, it sucks when you’re not a fan of one of those teams to have that kind of a dominant force to deal with.

At least there’s some competition for them this year, as Florida, Carolina, the Rangers, Leafs and Capitals will give Tampa a good push this time around. Much like the team they faced on Tuesday night, the Canucks opponents tonight don’t have a lot of flaws. Outstanding goaltending, solid defence, and pure fire power on offence.

The Canucks best will have to be their best tonight, and that starts with a bounce back game from Thatcher Demko. He was definitely off on Tuesday, but as we’ve seen this season, his actual bad games have been few and far between. We’ll also need to see a better showing from the Top 6 forwards tonight. All we can hope is that it doesn’t go the way their last meeting did. Despite opening the scoring, the Canucks dropped a 9-2 decision to the Bolts just over two years ago.

LINEUPS

Canucks projected lineup

Vasily Podkolzin — J.T. MillerBrock Boeser

Tanner PearsonElias PetterssonNils Hoglander

Jason DickinsonBo HorvatConor Garland

Tyler MotteJuho LammikkoMatthew Highmore

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Luke SchennQuinn Hughes

Brad HuntTucker Poolman

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Kyle Burroughs

Injured: None

COVID-19 protocol: Phillip Di Giuseppe, Justin Dowling, Alex Chiasson

Lightning projected lineup

Mathieu JosephBrayden PointNikita Kucherov

Alex KillornAnthony CirelliSteven Stamkos

Pat MaroonPierre-Edouard BellemareCorey Perry

Boris KatchoukRoss ColtonTaylor Raddysh

Victor HedmanJan Rutta

Mikhail SergachevErik Cernak

Cal FooteZach Bogosian

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Andrej Sustr

Injured: Ryan McDonagh (lower body), Ondrej Palat (undisclosed), Gemel Smith (hand)

No changes from Tuesday’s lineup for the Canucks.

GAME DAY CHATTER

And how about a little love for Hunt, who had a two point night Tuesday in his 100th career NHL game?

Also, this happened:

You shouldn’t need any motivation when you’re taking on the champs, but this couldn’t hurt, right?

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

The new album from Welsh death metal mavens VENOM PRISON hits stores in just over two weeks, and today they dropped a new video for ‘Nemesis’, another killer track from the upcoming ‘Erebos’ album on Century Media Records. Enjoy the game, and crank this one!

Go Canucks Go!