CAPITAL ONE ARENA, WASHINGTON, DC
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:
as evaluation of #Canucks continues, important to remember this is the kind of team they would face in *first* round of playoffs -- if they get there. The goal is to build a contender not just squeeze into postseason to run into this level of competition— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) January 15, 2022
The only one who benefits from the Canucks eeking their way in is Francesco Aquilini.
Canucks projected lineup
Capitals projected lineup
Injured: Anthony Mantha (shoulder)
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
"Guys showed up today and competed really hard ... I thought we played the game the right way today."— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 15, 2022
Head coach Peter Laviolette speaks with the media after this afternoon's win at UBS Arena.#CapsIsles | @socios pic.twitter.com/neooADiMT0
“It’s hard when your power play is struggling and you face the best penalty kill in the league...We’ll get back to the drawing board."— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 15, 2022
Coach Bruce Boudreau#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/Kh6wAEI99K
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Ageing hardcore kids always fall into one of two tropes - vintage barbers or hockey guys. Guess we’ve chosen a side. pic.twitter.com/pXBIwKslT6— Mastiff HCHC (@Mastiffhchc) January 16, 2022
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!