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GAME DAY PREVIEW / THREAD - GAME THIRTY-EIGHT: Canucks @ Washington- Jan 16, 2022

NHL: NOV 23 Canucks at Capitals Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (16-18-3) vs WASHINGTON CAPITALS (21-8-9)

CAPITAL ONE ARENA, WASHINGTON, DC

11:00AM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: JAPERS RINK

While it had been fairly enjoyable seeing the Canucks running wild for a few weeks, we’re back to the cold, bleak reality that is the true state of this hockey club. They’re not good enough, and this road trip against the league’s best shows us this, and there is no other way to interpret it. Moral victories be damned, when your season is hanging on the line, there’s only wins or losses. Being close carries zero weight right now.

And while we had looked at this game as being one the Canucks probably could walk away from with two points. the announcement that Jaroslav Halak has entered COVID protocol yesterday certainly presents a challenge to them. Instead of a rested Thatcher Demko starting today after Halak taking on Carolina, they have to go back to back with their All Star Game bound goaltender, with the other option being Spencer Martin.

Martin has been solid for Abbotsford this season, with a 5-0-2 record and sporting a 2.24 GAA and .921 sv %, but he hasn’t played an NHL game since the 2016-17 season, where he went 0-2-1 and a not flattering 4.35 GAA and .865 sv %. It’ll likely be Demko all the way here, unless they’re getting blown out or dog forbid, he gets injured.

The Caps were able to bump a four game losing skid last night as they shutout the Islanders 2-0. Vitek Vanacek got the clean sheet for Washington, who got goals from Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin. They’ll be without TJ Oshie, who left yesterday’s game with an upper body injury, and Conor Sheary (COVID protocol).

While it’s fine to still hold out hope that the Canucks can somehow squirm their way into the post-season, given that they sit just six points back of the San Jose Sharks and that last wild card slot, it’s best to look at it logically. And as always, Jeff Paterson is the voice of reason:

The only one who benefits from the Canucks eeking their way in is Francesco Aquilini.

LINEUPS

Canucks projected lineup

Elias PetterssonBo HorvatConor Garland

Tanner PearsonJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser

Vasily PodkolzinJason DickinsonNils Hoglander

Tyler MotteJuho LammikkoMatthew Highmore

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Quinn HughesTucker Poolman

Brad HuntLuke Schenn

Thatcher Demko

Spencer Martin

Scratched: Kyle Burroughs, Alex Chiasson

Injured: None

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

Capitals projected lineup

Alex OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovT.J. Oshie

Daniel SprongNicklas BackstromTom Wilson

Connor McMichaelLars EllerBrett Leason

Aliaksei ProtasNic DowdGarnet Hathaway

Martin FehervaryJohn Carlson

Trevor van RiemsdykNick Jensen

Matt IrwinJustin Schultz

Ilya Samsonov

Vitek Vanecek

Scratched: Dennis Cholowski, Michael Sgarbossa

Injured: Anthony Mantha (shoulder)

COVID-19 protocol: Dmitry Orlov, Carl Hagelin, Conor Sheary

Expect Brad Hunt to sit in place of Kyle Burroughs today, other than that there shouldn’t be any changes for the Canucks. Ilya Samsonov should get the start for Washington, while as mentioned we’ll likely see Demko for the Canucks.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

I loved seeing one of the UK’s best hardcore bands post this tweet today, so we’re gonna give them the Battle Hymn today. MASTIFF are out of Kingston upon Hull, and released their 3rd full length album last year called ‘Leave Me The Ashes Of The Earth’. Check em out and enjoy the game, folks!