VANCOUVER CANUCKS (16-16-3) vs TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (24-9-5)
AMALIE ARENA, TAMPA BAY, FL
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.
Canucks projected lineup
Vasily Podkolzin — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Nils Hoglander
Jason Dickinson — Bo Horvat — Conor Garland
Tyler Motte — Juho Lammikko — Matthew Highmore
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Tyler Myers
Scratched: Kyle Burroughs
COVID-19 protocol: Phillip Di Giuseppe, Justin Dowling, Alex Chiasson
Lightning projected lineup
Mathieu Joseph — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk — Ross Colton — Taylor Raddysh
Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak
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
“To play the Stanley Cup champions, it’s one of those games, it’s a playoff style game, everyone will be up for it.”— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 13, 2022
Brad Hunt talks to the media ahead of today's game against the Lightning#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/UDUGkyA6R3
And how about a little love for Hunt, who had a two point night Tuesday in his 100th career NHL game?
Also, this happened:
The Champion finally gets his ring pic.twitter.com/66le2jm7wM— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 13, 2022
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!