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CANUCKS ARMY GDT 41 – CANUCKS @ LEAFS (HNiC)

Rocky vs. Apollo Creed, Pepsi vs. Coke, Toronto vs. Vancouver.

OK, tonight’s matchup may not be a clash of the titans like the former examples but it gets as much attention as they did. The Canucks have made their way to the “Center of the Universe” for a Saturday night tilt with the Maple Leafs. In their last meeting, the Canucks held a 2-0 lead until the late moments of the third period until the Leafs broke the shutout.

The early 90’s bred Bure-mania and now Canucks Nation has cheered on Boeser-mania or maybe even more fitting “Flow Nation”. Haven’t quite figured out what it should be properly called yet.

Regardless, East meets West for a battle of bragging rights and to declare for at least a night, Canada’s Champion. There can be no other.

Let’s Do This!™

WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF

TV: CBC (HNiC Game 1)

RADIO: SN650

PUCK DROP: 4:00 PM

LINE COMBINATIONS

According to Jeff Paterson, Reid Boucher looks to be the odd man out this evening up front. That would give Michael Chaput the start on the fourth line. The power play saw Brock Boeser on BOTH units but don’t expect that to materialize in-game. Alex Biega and Ben Hutton were the last defensive pairing and it may again come down to a game-time decision for one of those guys.

Jacob Markstrom or Anders Nilsson, Anders Nilsson or Jacob Markstrom. It doesn’t seem to matter these days so you’ll have to wait until later today for that answer.

Vancouver Canucks lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

Travis Dermott has been recalled from the Marlies. Apparently, this is a big deal? Matt Marincin has been sent down. Auston Matthews is healthy, Nazim Kadri is playing with the confidence of Joe Thornton (OK, maybe just a part of his beard). The Leafs have fared well on home ice so the Canucks may have their hands full this evening.

Frederik Andersen should start.

Toronto Maple Leafs lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Brock Boeser doesn’t have a point in TWO STRAIGHT games. Nothing on the power play, nothing at fives, and it would be a Christmas miracle if Alex Edler even noticed him to change these numbers. We’ve been spoiled and apparently, a point-per-game pace isn’t doable every game. He’s due for another outbreak so buckle up, kiddos!
  • The Leafs have five players with 10+ goals this season while the Canucks have three. Both teams are at slightly different ends of the standings but it’s clear that the Leafs are trending in the right direction even with old man Patrick Marleau hanging around. Toronto has brought in to their new culture and the Canucks would be wise to watch how they operate. It feels disgusting to say that but it’s true.
  • Presenting the Spectacular, Amazing Spiderman Erik Gudbranson. Formerly, a third overall pick, he now patrols the Canucks blueline but with a purpose: to get back to what he deems he once was and that is a brute force defender. The Leafs could be in the market for said blueliner so having a memorable game for the Canucks could go a long way. He’s last on the team in CF% but that shouldn’t deter the almighty Leafs from taking a chance on a guy like Gudbranson, right? They did sign Jeff Finger once.
  • Vancouver’s power play used to be anemic, and then it blossomed into a deathblow and has once again gone into hibernation. It’s really just a microcosm of Canucks as a whole. Fun times. With Boeser being repositioned on what looks like both units it could be time for the needle to point up again. Like, way the heck up.
  • Vancouver is currently enjoying a minor two-game win streak vs. the Leafs, which was preceded by a few years of back and forth losses. From 2006-2013 the Canucks owned the Leafs for 11 straight games. Things may be back to normal.

THE TWITTER TAKE

This isn’t good, this isn’t good at all.

MY 94 CENTS

The Canucks might end up picking fifth again or better if they’re lucky, but they WILL… NOT… LOSE to the Leafs. If Brock can manage any kind of night that resembles what he did to Pittsburgh then it will all be worth it. Vancouver will beat Toronto and once again, it will feel amazing.

OVER / UNDER

Auston Matthews points (+/- 2)     The Canucks defense has resembled swiss cheese lately so if Matthews has been saving up some surprises, tonight’s the night. Go for the push on this.

Alex Edler shades on Brock Boeser (+/- 2)     This whole saga is going to get its own Twitter account soon, Shade it to Boeser. Why doesn’t he pass it to him? He’s the best player on the team and Edler keeps looking away. Take the over tonight.

 

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