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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME FORTY: Canucks vs Florida- Jan 21, 2022

Part 7438 in our continuing series CURSED: The Vancouver Canucks Story.

Florida Panthers v Vancouver Canucks
This picture seems appropriate...

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (18-18-3) vs FLORIDA PANTHERS (27-8-5)

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

7:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: LITTER BOX CATS

Sometimes, you just gotta say ‘fuck it!’

I mean, what else can you say about a team that finds itself in the situation the Canucks are in. After coming off a shutdown where they hardly had anyone in COVID protocol, but the games were postponed because they would have to be played in an empty rink, to a 5 game swing through America’s petri dish, where they find themselves without both goaltenders and three of their top six forwards. If you ever had any doubt about the hockey gods complete and utter disdain for the Vancouver Canucks, this should pretty much settle it.

So just to be sure you’re perfectly clear, the Canucks will go into tonight’s contest against the NHL’s first place club with Thatcher Demko, Jaroslav Halak, JT Miller, Bo Horvat, and Conor Garland on the COVID Protocol list. So that means we’re looking at a mishmash of lines, with a whole lotta Abbotsford flavour as they play their first home game since Dec 14th when they beat Columbus 4-3.

What should have been a fun homecoming game and a chance to get some revenge after a tough loss in Florida 10 days ago, now becomes a game where we hold our breath, keep our fingers crossed no one gets injured to make a bad situation worse, and that they don’t get embarrassed as badly as the Oilers did last night.

LINEUPS

Panthers projected lineup

Carter VerhaegheAleksander BarkovSam Reinhart

Jonathan HuberdeauSam BennettAnthony Duclair

Maxim MaminAnton LundellOwen Tippett

Ryan LombergEetu LuostarinenJoe Thornton

MacKenzie WeegarAaron Ekblad

Lucas CarlssonRadko Gudas

Olli JuoleviBrandon Montour

Spencer Knight

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Frank Vatrano, Mason Marchment

Injured: Patric Hornqvist (upper body)

COVID-19 protocol: Gustav Forsling

Canucks projected lineup

Nils HoglanderElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Tanner PearsonJason DickinsonAlex Chiasson

Tyler MotteJuho LammikkoMatthew Highmore

Vasily PodkolzinSheldon DriesJustin Bailey

Quinn HughesTucker Poolman

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Kyle BurroughsLuke Schenn

Spencer Martin

Michael DiPietro

Scratched: Brad Hunt, Justin Dowling

Injured: Guillaume Brisebois (undisclosed), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Brady Keeper (leg), Brandon Sutter (illness)

COVID-19 protocol: Thatcher Demko, J.T. Miller, Jaroslav Halak, Conor Garland, Bo Horvat

Bright spots? Well, that first line could be fun to watch, though it sucks that they’re forced to break up the Pettersson/Hoglander/Podkolzin trio already after such a strong showing in Nashville. That second line is not a second line on any other team in the NHL except maybe Arizona, and we can only hope Justin Bailey and Sheldon Dries find some kind of chemistry with Podkolzin. And hey, we still have all our defencemen, right?

Tonight’s Spencer Martin’s big moment, his first NHL start since the 2016-17 season for the Colorado Avalanche. It’s hard to say right now who will get the start on Sunday against the St Louis Blues if Halak is still in protocol, but you get the feeling that barring a super human performance from Martin, they’ll give DiPietro a shot.

What a disaster.

GAME DAY CHATTER

Tonight is the 10th annual Hockey Talks game, as they honour the memory of Rick Rypien, and show their support for everyone suffering from mental health issues. It’s been amazing to see how it grew from the Canucks starting it, to a near-league wide event, and while they still have a lot of work to do, it’s great to see how much they’ve changed the way they look at mental health.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Old school Maiden for you today. From their 2nd album ‘Killers’. here’s ‘Wrathchild’ for ya. Try and enjoy the game, alright? Go Canucks Go. RIP Ryp.