VANCOUVER CANUCKS (20-27-4) vs NEW YORK ISLANDERS (27-22-5)
4:30 PM PST
UBS ARENA, ELMONT, NY
TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC RADIO: SN650
Fresh off another ‘close, but not close enough’ loss, the Canucks head into what is hands-down the most emotionally difficult game they’ll play all season as they take on the New York Islanders this afternoon. I would have preferred to kicked this particular can down the road, at least from a fandom perspective. The trade, and the pain associated with it are still very fresh, and it’s going to be difficult to watch.
Last night, the Canucks gave the Rangers a game, but came out on the short end of a 4-3 decision. For those hoping that they can somehow win this summer’s draft lottery, this was the ideal game, really. Competitive, entertaining, no one got hurt (though that was a scare when Quinn Hughes left after taking a puck to the face), and it didn’t go to overtime. You can’t ask for much more, and with the Rangers getting a couple of their goals on lucky bounces, the chance was there to steal a win.
I was happy to see Vasily Podkolzin get his first of the season. It’s been a difficult year for the Russian kid, but he’s definitely looked like the time down in Abbotsford has done him some good, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays up the rest of the way. The response by the Canucks on the Rangers fourth goal was also very encouraging, and we got the added bonus of Furious Gerard Gallant, who is a delight to watch when he’s pissed off, especially when anger over what the Rangers felt was a blown icing call was misguided. Elias Pettersson was clearly ahead at the hashmarks, and that goal is on Igor Shesterkin for letting up on the play. Even if he thought it was icing, that’s something you can’t do, and he’s fortunate the Canucks weren’t able to get another past him.
Anyway, tonight they take on Bo and the Islanders, and when you look at just how they’d been struggling to score, the trade for Horvat makes a ton of sense.
NYI have scored more than 2 goals in a game twice in their last 16 outings. Incredible stuff pic.twitter.com/fCLsjjZnCa— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 8, 2023
They’re locked in a battle with Pittsburgh right now for that final wild card slot in the Eastern Conference, and would very much like to help their new center defeat his former team in the process.
Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what to expect tonight:
Canucks projected lineup
Andrei Kuzmenko — Elias Pettersson — Anthony Beauvillier
Vasily Podkolzin — J.T. Miller — Conor Garland
Dakota Joshua — Sheldon Dries — Brock Boeser
Phillip Di Giuseppe — Nils Aman — Curtis Lazar
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Luke Schenn
Scratched: Kyle Burroughs, Travis Dermott, Jack Studnicka
Injured: Thatcher Demko (lower body injury), Ilya Mikheyev (torn ACL), Tanner Pearson (hand surgery), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed)
Islanders projected lineup
Josh Bailey — Bo Horvat — Mathew Barzal
Anders Lee — Brock Nelson — Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Hudson Fasching
Alexander Romanov — Scott Mayfield
Scratched: Sebastian Aho, Ross Johnston, Parker Wotherspoon
Injured: Cal Clutterbuck (upper body), Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body)
Well, at least they finally got the message about Pederson. Yeesh. Anyway, apart from Collin Delia getting the start, it doesn’t look like there’s any changes coming. I would suggest keeping an eye on Luke Schenn, though. He got a little banged up in the third period last night, and went to the room for a bit.
GAME DAY CHATTER
Elias Pettersson speaks with the media postgame.@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/defBfjgBuq— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 9, 2023
"Tonight it showed if we don't value certain plays, they're going to be tough games to win."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 9, 2023
Head Coach Rick Tocchet following the game against the Rangers@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/MIz8TzJ6IF
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
NY Thrash legends OVERKILL are back with a new album that hits stores April 14th. From ‘Scorched’, check out ‘The Surgeon’. Bobby Blitz and the boys sound as vicious as ever on this one, definitely looking forward to hearing more!
Enjoy the game, everyone. Thanks, Bo. Go Canucks Go.