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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME FIFTY-NINE: Canucks vs Washington- Mar 11, 2022

The Canucks keep pushing towards a playoff spot, and hopefully can keep Ovechkin from hitting a milestone tonight.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (29-23-6) vs WASHINGTON CAPITALS (31-18-10)

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

7:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TSN2, TNT. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: JAPERS RINK

The Canucks can pull to within a single point of the Dallas Stars with a win over the Washington Capitals tonight, as they look to win their fourth in a row. They face a Caps team that, barring a massive losing streak, isn’t likely to get caught by the Columbus Blue Jackets for that last playoff spot in the East, but need to be playing better than they have been, having won five of their last ten games.

The Canucks are 8-2-0 in their last ten, and with every win are not only moving closer to a potential playoff spot, but also altering what they do at the trade deadline, which is now just ten days away. We know they’ll be making moves, and it’s going to be about clearing cap space regardless of what happens, but the nature of the moves will be directly affected by this home stand. It’s a pretty hectic stretch, with a game every second night into next week, wrapping up with games Saturday against Calgary and Buffalo Sunday.

The Capitals are coming off a 4-3 OT loss against the Oilers where they salvaged a point by notching the tying goal with less than two seconds remaining. They missed the opportunity to have two players hit major milestones in the same game, as Niklas Backstrom notched his 1000th career point, but Alex Ovechkin was held off the score sheet. A goal would move him past Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all time NHL goal scorers list. So that gives the Canucks the unenviable situation of trying to keep a guy who is now getting booed every time he touches the puck thanks to his close reputation to Vladimir Putin, from achieving a milestone against them. The win is the most important obviously, and it’s not like the game plan isn’t always to neutralize Ovechkin if possible. But he clearly wants it to be tonight against former Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, and that’s gonna be awkward at best.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is how tonight’s disasterpiece should play out. We think, anyway.

Capitals projected lineup

Alex OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovConor Sheary

Anthony ManthaNicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie

Connor McMichaelLars EllerTom Wilson

Axel Jonsson-FjallbyNic DowdGarnet Hathaway

Martin FehervaryJohn Carlson

Dmitry OrlovNick Jensen

Trevor van RiemsdykJustin Schultz

Vitek Vanecek

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Matt Irwin, Michal Kempny, Daniel Sprong

Injured: Joe Snively (upper body), Carl Hagelin (eye)

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonJ.T. MillerConor Garland

Vasily PodkolzinBo HorvatBrock Boeser

Nils HoglanderElias PetterssonAlex Chiasson

Tyler MotteJuho LammikkoMatthew Highmore

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Quinn HughesLuke Schenn

Brad HuntTravis Hamonic

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Madison Bowey, Sheldon Rempal

Injured: Jason Dickinson (lower body), Kyle Burroughs (upper body), Tucker Poolman (headaches)

It’s Thatcher Demko vs Vitek Vanacek in goal in this one, and it doesn’t look like there will be any changes from the same lineup they’ve been rolling with of late.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

It’s Pride Night, so we’re going to go with the man who started the process of the heavy metal scene dealing with its homophobia issues. Rob Halford isn’t the only 2SLGBTQIA+ member of the metal scene, but he was the first to come out, and help lead the path for all metalheads to remember that metal is supposed to be a place where anyone can belong if you love the music. Halford coming out helped pave the way for others, as we’ve seen members of CYNIC, LIFE OF AGONY, FAITH NO MORE, VILE CREATURE, and many more.

Enjoy the game, everyone! Go Canucks Go and Happy Pride Night!