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Martin projected to start for Canucks in contest against road-weary Capitals

It’s the third time in four games that Spencer Martin is set to start.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights
Spencer Martin #30 of the Vancouver Canucks takes a break during a stop in play in the second period of a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on November 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Who could have seen this coming?

Based on what transpired at the morning skate, it appears as though “backup” Spencer Martin will start once again for the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals.

Washington Capitals (9-11-3) vs. Vancouver Canucks (9-10-3)

Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC, 7:00 pm

TV: SN Pacific /// Radio: SN 650

Opposition Blog: Japers Rink

Reports from the morning skate confirmed that Martin was the first goalie off of the ice, a common indicator for who is going to start.

Now, Martin has been better than Demko, but he hasn’t been a saviour for the Canucks.

He’s currently rocking a 3.12 GAA and a .907 save percentage. Both numbers are around league average.

However, his record is a sparkling 6-1-1. That’s largely due to the fact that the Canucks have averaged 4.75 goals per game with Martin in the net. With Demko playing, the Canucks have scored almost two fewer goals per game (2.92).

Martin has given the Canucks four “quality starts” in his eight appearances. Demko, on the other hand, has three quality starts in 14 games.

So, it’s the de facto backup that gets the test against a Washington Capitals team that already beat Vancouver once this season. However, they’ve been a disaster away from home, going 2-7-2 in 11 road games this season.

Speaking of disasters, the Canucks are 3-8-1 against the Eastern Conference this season.

PROJECTED LINES

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Here were the lines at practice on Tuesday:

Ilya Mikheyev’s status is up in the air for tonight. This didn’t appear to be an optional skate, although The Athletic’s Thomas Drance also reported that Jack Studnicka was in a green jersey, which probably implies that he’s an extra skater tonight.

We’ll see.

Starting goalie: Spencer Martin

Backup: Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Riley Stillman

Injured: Tucker Poolman (LTIR), Travis Dermott (LTIR), Tanner Pearson (hand), Jack Studnicka (lower body)

It’s also worth noting that Rathbone and Podkolzin’s demotions mean there are only 21 healthy skaters on the Canucks roster. This paves the path for both Studnicka and Travis Dermott to rejoin the team sometime soon.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

(per Washington Post reporter Samantha Pell)

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary

Sonny Milano — Evgeny Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — Anthony Mantha

Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Defence

Erik Gustafsson — John Carlson

Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen

Matt Irwin — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Starting Goalie: Darcy Kuemper

Backup: Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: Nicholas Aube-Kubel, Alex Alexyeyev

Injured: Connor Brown (knee), Beck Malenstyn (finger), Carl Hagelin (LTIR), Nicklas Backstrom (hip, LTIR), Tom Wilson (knee), Dmitri Orlov (lower body)

The biggest problem with the Capitals right now?

They can’t score.

They’ve averaged 2.46 goals per game during the month of November, which is the fourth-worst mark in the NHL over that span.

The Canucks, on the other hand, rank third in the NHL during the month of November, averaging 3.92 goals per game.

While the Canucks power play is firing on all cylinders, the same can’t be said for Ovi and the Caps. Their PP is 20th overall and 21st in the NHL during November.

The Caps boast average defence and goaltending, but the lack of scoring has gotten them into trouble. Perhaps a date against the defensively weak Canucks is what the Capitals need.

Game Day Battle Hymn

With winter on the horizon in Vancouver, we turn to Edgar Winter himself and this classic for the game day battle hymn.

Here’s to the Canucks riding those riffs to victory.