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Game Day Preview: Dec 10/22- Canucks vs Minnesota

The Canucks Chaos Caravan continues rolling along as they host Minnesota tonight at Rogers Arena.

Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (12-12-3) vs MINNESOTA WILD (13-11-2)

7PM PST ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

TV: CBC, CITY, SPORTSNET RADIO: SN650

This team is so weird, man.

They’ve evolved from what looked like one of the worst teams in recent history to a simply bad team that doesn’t give a shit about narratives, statistical likelihoods or your feelings and somehow, despite still looking like a flaming garbage dumpster with skates, become one of the nhl’s hottest teams.

In the past two weeks they rattled off some impressive wins against Vegas and Colorado, and have adopted a new persona of simply refusing losses, winning three straight after an embarrassing loss at home to Florida.

I mean, let’s not kid ourselves, here. Very few of these wins could be placed in the ‘convincing’ category, let alone ‘deserved wins’. And yes, we’ve long been from the ‘style points don’t matter’ school of thought. A win is a win, right? Well, not in the modern Day NHL, with all the extra points being handed out of late. And while handing out these free points to teams beneath them in the standings, or Eastern Conference opponents isn’t particularly worrisome, they certainly won’t be doing themselves any favours should they go to OT tonight against Minnesota, a team they’re trying to catch in the standings.

And that means getting better performances from the team overall defensively, as well as Spencer Martin winning games that don’t see him giving up 4 or more. It makes for entertaining hockey, but it’s not sustainable. It’s been nice to see them rattling off some wins, but you truly should know better to get your hopes up when it comes to this team, for they’re only going to break your heart.

Not sure what the issue is in Minnesota, but this is a team that likely feels as though they’re capable of much better than they’ve shown thus far. After back to back shootout wins against Anaheim and Dallas last weekend, they’ve dropped games to Calgary and last night in Edmonton. A tired team against a well rested Canucks squad. Good sign or bad omen?

LINEUPS

The following lineup projections were discovered wedged into an old Hungarian cookbook I found at a thrift store in Revelstoke. Or maybe on nhl.com :

Wild projected lineup

Kirill KaprizovSam SteelMats Zuccarello

Jordan GreenwayJoel Eriksson EkMarcus Foligno

Samuel WalkerFrederick GaudreauMatt Boldy

Ryan ReavesConnor DewarMason Shaw

Jake MiddletonJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Jon MerrillAlex Goligoski

Filip Gustavsson

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Andrej Sustr, Calen Addison, Nic Petan

Injured: Ryan Hartman (upper body), Brandon Duhaime (upper body)

Canucks projected lineup

Nils HoglanderBo HorvatJ.T. Miller

Ilya MikheyevElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Andrei KuzmenkoJack StudnickaConor Garland

Dakota JoshuaNils AmanCurtis Lazar

Quinn HughesLuke Schenn

Oliver Ekman-LarssonEthan Bear

Riley StillmanTyler Myers

Spencer Martin

Collin Delia

Scratched: Kyle Burroughs, Sheldon Dries

Injured: Thatcher Demko (lower body), Tanner Pearson (hand), Travis Dermott (concussion), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed)

While I get the whole “Don’t mess with the lineup when you’ve been winning” mindset, I still struggle to see just what Riley Stillman is bringing on a nightly basis compared to Kyle Burroughs. If anything, he seems to be a catalyst for the Chaos Giraffe to do his thang. It is worth noting that with Marc-Andre Fleury having played in the loss to the Oilers last night, the Wild will go with Filip Gustavsson, and with the way the Canucks have been scoring lately, it’ll have to be pretty bad to see a goaltending change tonight.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

As some of you may have noticed, I took a leave of absence from NM for a bit, and handed the awesome responsibility of these game previews over to my fellow NM scribes. After this time off (and a short trip back to see family in Kamloops), I’m back. My apologies if you grew accustomed to, or even fond of, some of the musical offerings that the other guys served up, because it’s to get back to basics here.

With the year coming to an end, one of 2023’s most anticipated albums is just weeks away from its release. Florida death metal pioneers OBITUARY’s new one is called ‘Dying Of Everything” and it’s an absolute beast. It hits stores on January 13th, but til then you can check out the video for ‘The Wrong Time’ to tide you over til then.

It’s good to be back.

Enjoy the game, everyone. Go Canucks Go!