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Game Day Preview #40: Jan 10, 2023- Canucks @ Pittsburgh

As we near the halfway point in yet another frustrating season of watching this hockey club, it’s the same old story: Not good enough, and not bad enough for things to ever change. Anyway, they limp into Pittsburgh after another embarrassing defeat in Winnipeg Sunday.

NHL: NOV 24 Canucks at Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (17-19-3) vs PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (20-13-6)

4:00 PM PST

PPG PAINTS ARENA, PITTSBURGH, PA

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC, ONTARIO & EAST RADIO: SN650

Not good enough. Not bad enough. That’s your Vancouver Canucks for the last decade, ladies and gentlemen. Not a playoff team, unless they get some help from an expanded playoff setup again, but not bad enough to have a sniff at winning the draft lottery and the rights to drafting the next generational superstar, Connor Bedard. Nope, they’re just going to plug their way through the rest of the season like we saw over the past couple games: an inspiring win over the Colorado Avalanche, followed by an absolute no-show against the Winnipeg Jets.

They need to blow it up and start over, but what’s the point at this stage? Barring a historic losing streak, they simply aren’t going to be able to get a draft pick good enough, even in a deep draft like this one coming up, that will provide immediate help for nest season. They have a defence loaded with unmovable contracts and unacceptable night in and night out efforts, and have not gotten even a moderate streak of hot goaltending at any point this year. Their longest winning streak of the season is three games, and those three were all in overtime, and all against teams below them in the standings.

Tonight, it’s another potential disaster as they head into Pittsburgh, to play a Penguins team that’s a hell of a lot better on home ice than the one we saw drop a 5-1 decision to the Canucks at the end of October at Rogers Arena. The Penguins are missing a couple big pieces of their lineup, as Tristan Jarry, injured in the Winter Classic game against the Boston Bruins, isn’t ready to return just yet. They’ll also be without D Kris Letang, who has left the team to be with family following the passing of his father.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what to expect this afternoon:

Canucks projected lineup

Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonJ.T. Miller

Ilya MikheyevBo HorvatBrock Boeser

Conor GarlandSheldon DriesWilliam Lockwood

Dakota JoshuaCurtis LazarJack Studnicka

Quinn HughesEthan Bear

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Travis DermottLuke Schenn

Spencer Martin

Collin Delia

Scratched: Lane Pederson, Riley Stillman, Kyle Burroughs

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

Penguins projected lineup

Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust

Jason ZuckerEvgeni MalkinRickard Rakell

Danton HeinenJeff CarterKasperi Kapanen

Drew O’ConnorTeddy BluegerBrock McGinn

Marcus PetterssonJan Rutta

Brian DumoulinTy Smith

Pierre-Olivier JosephChad Ruhwedel

Casey DeSmith

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Mark Friedman

Injured: Josh Archibald (lower body), Jeff Petry (upper body), Tristan Jarry (lower body), Ryan Poehling (upper body), Kris Letang (lower body)

No changes for the Canucks from the last game, apart from Spencer Martin getting the start today. Martin came into the game Sunday in relief of Collin Delia, who surrendered 4 goals on 13 shots by the Jets. Martin stopped 11 of 14 the rest of the way.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Got a chance to see these guys a few years back and was blown away, then crushed when they called it a day after just one album. But last year marked the return of MANTIC RITUAL, and their ep ‘Heart Set Stone’. This track is the B-side from the single release for ‘Crusader’, a cover of the MERCYFUL Fate classic ‘Black Funeral’.

Enjoy the game, folks. Go Canucks Go.