TV / RADIO / PUCK DROP
NONE / SN 650 / 6:00 PM
The Canucks make their way to Salt Lake City of all places to take on the Los Angeles Kings this evening. Judging the location choice isn’t fair because Vancouver will call Kelowna home for a day on Saturday when they host the Arizona Coyotes. Things haven’t gone all that well for the Canucks in the preseason but it’s a new day and hey, it’s the Canucks so anything is possible.
Another round of cuts was made yesterday so the Canucks are trimming their roster quickly now in preparation for opening night.
The Canucks will ice this lineup tonight:
Morning skate for #Canucks:
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) September 24, 2018
The Kings will ice these guys against Vancouver:
-Quick off first
-Carter/Kempe may be interchangeable
-Clague, LaDue, JAD, Etem, Forbort, etc appeared to be extras
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) September 24, 2018
THE SKINNY ON TONIGHT’S GAME (AND IT’S SKINNY)
- Goaltending has not been the Canucks strong suit for quite some time. Sure, Ryan Miller held his own and Eddie Lack finished out the Roberto Luongo season fairly well but until someone steps up and grabs that ring, it’s an open competition. Jacob Markstrom will win the job to start the season after sub-par showings from Thatcher Demko and Anders Nilsson’s lack of exhibition action. The confidence in that net is nowhere to be found and they’re running out of games to prove a point. The point may not be made in time.
- Despite not having consistent success on the man-advantage, the Canucks have had a plethora of power plays so far. They’re drawing penalties regularly which means they’re skating and getting to areas the opposition doesn’t want them to be. The Canucks do have some speedsters this year and a few offensive threats that will need to be contained. Vancouver has five power play goals which are only two back of the preseason lead of seven which is held by Vegas (not again with these guys), the Islanders and the Hurricanes. With the chances they’ve been given, the Canucks might be a very good power play team this season.
- Olli Juolevi needs to get some serious ice-time the next few games and even if he’s making mistakes, how he handles a team like Los Angeles will give Travis Green an idea if he’s worth pushing for an opening night roster spot. Realistically, he’s going down to Utica but a few strong showings might say otherwise.
- Expect the Canucks and Kings to be physical tonight for a few reasons: 1) they don’t like each other and Drew Doughty is probably still reeling after being burned by Nikolay Goldobin at the beginning of last season and 2) no one likes a six o’clock start and in Salt Lake City no less. No good can come of this. On a serious note, Erik Gudbranson needs to prove a team like the Kings can’t push his team around. Michael Del Zotto has been doing all the heavy lifting so far.
- With a few more spots up for grabs, Travis Green will have to decide what he’s looking for to start it all off. Injuries have helped a few players stick around. Just when it looks like someone is going to take charge, they regress. Nikolay Goldobin comes to mind, Adam Gaudette does as well and Loui Eriksson is MIA. If those trades that management was talking about are coming, expect them to come awfully soon. This is getting a bit ridiculous.
MY 94 CENTS
I drove home from Vancouver on Saturday and listened to a Canucks team that could not convert a power play to save their lives and worse yet, they couldn’t score at 5v5. I think the play that needs to happen is to get back to the Thomas Vanek approach and just shoot the puck. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser will most likely be the shooters so the setup is crucial to get them firing away.
From there, giveaways need to stop and give the goaltending a chance to survive.
The Canucks didn’t get Ilya Kovalchuk and Anze Kopitar last time, nor did Drew Doughty and Dion Phaneuf see the blue and green. It’s been a rough preseason and this won’t be a cake walk either.
I hope everyone has a strong stomach.
THE FINAL WORD
Before preseason: “50 points seems like a reasonable expectation for Pettersson.”
Now: “Pettersson could play not a single shift at 5-on-5 and still get 60 points.”#Canucks
— Daniel Wagner (@passittobulis) September 23, 2018
He forgot to say “don’t @ me”
****At this moment, there is no official word on a stream. If one does become available, we will do our best to do a post-game report****