The Crosby Show comes to town again, although while a lot less fanfare less time. Crosby can thank the primetime Canucks drama for flying under the radar this week. If you need more than the best player in hockey coming to town to make you happy, there is another big event tonight as discussed earlier in the week by my counterpart James "Crisp" Edgington. The Vancouver Canucks welcome back Pavol Demitra to the lineup as they host the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, tonight at GM Place.
The Canucks actually see a series of lucky breaks as they head into tonight’s game. First, they see the return of Demitra, who will likely play on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and Tanner Glass.
Next, Marc-André Fleury is out with a broken/injured finger. As a result, the Penguins will be playing a third-string goalie John Curry and fourth-stringer Alexander Pechurski as back-up.
Finally, the Canucks hope to have finally put all their drama behind them, following l’Affaire Burrows and Fightgate.
With Demitra back in the lineup, and the Canucks facing a third-string goalie with no NHL experience, Vancouver needs to step up the offensive pressure. They need to play their puck-possession, hard forechecking game that has seen them win games all season.
They cannot lock their game down to try to limit the Penguins. The Canucks have the horses to defend Crosby and Malkin and the rest. With Luongo, Mitchell, Salo and even Lukowich, Vancouver has a core of shut-down players.
What will win this game for the Canucks is pressuring a rookie goalie thrown to the fire for the first time. They need to skate tonight, to draw penalties and keep the pressure as high as possible. If the Canucks can control the puck, they will control the pace the game and where the game is played on the ice. The more time the Canucks can spend in the Penguins zone, the better chance they have of winning.
Whoever owns the puck more will win tonight’s game. After a week of turmoil and drama, you would think that the Canucks would be hungry for only one thing – a win.