BALL ARENA, DENVER, CO
TV: SN1, SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: MILE HIGH HOCKEY
It’s not looking good, kids. Going up against a Colorado team that could very well be the ones who hoist the Cup in late June/early July, sitting five points back of the last playoff spot, and a number of tough teams to play over the next couple weeks. This is where we see exactly where the Canucks are in terms of competitiveness and readiness to step to the next level. We have our hunches, but we’ve been surprised before.
And a win tonight will be a major surprise. After all, this is the team that has already beaten the Canucks by a combined score of 11-3 in their two previous meetings so far this season, one of them an embarrassing 7-1 thrashing. Add in that Colorado has just three regulation losses on home ice this season, and it’s a pretty bleak scenario for Vancouver as they try to catch Dallas for that final Wild Card slot and a first round date with... the Colorado Avalanche.
With a back to back (and a must win pair of games they are) tonight the pressure is squarely on Jaroslav Halak. While it’s a fair thing to say the team hasn’t always performed great in front of him, his season has been plagued with games where his inability to make a key save when called upon has led to losses. He absolutely needs to be the best player on the ice tonight for the Canucks, because with Thatcher Demko already slated for tomorrow night in Minnesota, this game is all on Halak, no matter how bad it gets.
Much like the recent games against teams like Tampa Bay, the key for the Canucks is going to be trying to control the damage as much as possible. Colorado have so many different weapons at their disposal, Vancouver can’t have any passengers tonight when it comes to defensive play. Staying out of the penalty box and taking full advantage of any errors that the Avs make will go a long way, but given the way they’ve played against Colorado so far this season, I’m not entirely hopeful.
Courtesy of nhl.com, this is an estimate of what tonight’s disasterpiece will look like:
Canucks projected lineup
Avalanche projected lineup
Artturi Lehkonen is on the ice, so he’s cleared for tonight. pic.twitter.com/lpOFvS50rw— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) March 23, 2022
Travis Dermott and Brad Richardson are both in tonight, but there don’t appear to be any other changes for the Canucks from the lineup Sunday night against the Sabres. It’s Darcy Kuemper vs Halak in the nets.
GAME DAY CHATTER
“The only people that think we’re done are the people outside. We have to play every game like it’s a playoff game.”— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 23, 2022
Coach Bruce Boudreau meets with the media at Ball Arena#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/Pmn4RVrTPm
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
We featured the amazing mashups of Bill McClintock on Youtube a couple times in the past, but his latest is a true masterpiece. Mixing three iconic hard rock songs seamlessly into something truly amazing. He took QUIET RIOT’s ‘Metal Health’, ‘All Right Now’ by FREE, ‘Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love’ by VAN HALEN and blended them perfectly. He even threw in a snippet of former QR guitarist Rand Rhoads’ solo from OZZY’s ‘Crazy Train’ for good measure. Incredible stuff.