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Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Canucks Army Game Day 39 – Canucks Vs. Jets (Smythe Foes Edition)

THE INTRO

It’s the final game before the Christmas break as the Canucks welcome the Jets to Rogers Arena. For whatever reason, the Canucks have surprised their fans, and the NHL, by playing exciting competitive hockey beyond their regular skill level. The veterans that have been with the team for a number of years have had quite the chip on their shoulder and as the depth and top-level players have improved, so have the results.

Tonight’s game against the Jets is a litmus test of where they sit going forward. This isn’t a playoff team yet but at some point, we might have to concede this portion of the rebuild is complete and focus on the next pieces that are required to get the club back to being a contender.

Let’s Do This!™

 

(please note that there might not be a postgame report tonight)

TV / RADIO / PUCK DROP

CBC (HNIC) / SN 650 / 7:00 PM

LINEUPS

Troy Stecher is still out with what everyone believes is a concussion so Thursday’s lineup should be identical to this evening’s group. Hopefully, after the Christmas break, there will be a few familiar faces back in the lineup.

Jacob Markstrom is your starter this evening.

Canucks lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW Forwards
Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL

Rating: 71.5#87 LW

Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT

Rating: 76.2#41 C

Loui Eriksson
LOUI ERIKSSON

Rating: 71.5#88 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 73.03#30 FL1
Josh Leivo
JOSH LEIVO

Rating: 72.7#59 LW

Elias Pettersson
ELIAS PETTERSSON

Rating: 77.4#35 C

Brock Boeser
BROCK BOESER

Rating: 82.6#3 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 77.54#3 FL2
Nikolay Goldobin
NIKOLAY GOLDOBIN

Rating: 70.5#100 LW

Adam Gaudette
ADAM GAUDETTE

Rating: 71.2#131 C

Jake Virtanen
JAKE VIRTANEN

Rating: 71.3#85 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.99#23 FL3
Markus Granlund
MARKUS GRANLUND

Rating: 70.5#108 LW

Jay Beagle
JAY BEAGLE

Rating: 67.5#188 C

Tyler Motte
TYLER MOTTE

Rating: 69.1#117 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 69.05#29 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Alexander Edler
ALEXANDER EDLER

Rating: 74.8#26 LD

Chris Tanev
CHRIS TANEV

Rating: 72.0#59 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.38#24 DL1
Ben Hutton
BEN HUTTON

Rating: 70.5#106 LD

Erik Gudbranson
ERIK GUDBRANSON

Rating: 68.6#107 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 69.52#31 DL2
Derrick Pouliot
DERRICK POULIOT

Rating: 70.1#113 LD

Alex Biega
ALEX BIEGA

Rating: 70.7#89 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 70.37#23 DL3

Joe Morrow (lower body) and Andrew Copp (concussion) will both be out of tonight’s game although Morrow could be a game-time decision. Mason Appleton scored his first NHL goal last game so he should be a non-factor for yet another first against the Canucks.

Connor Hellebuyck should be the starter tonight. Travis Green could learn a thing or two about playing the #1 goalie against a good team.

Jets lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW Forwards
Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 77.0#19 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 87.7#3 C

Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 80.9#6 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 81.87#3 FL1
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 77.3#17 LW

Bryan Little
BRYAN LITTLE

Rating: 73.8#60 C

Patrik Laine
PATRIK LAINE

Rating: 81.4#5 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 77.48#4 FL2
Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 74.2#57 LW

Jack Roslovic
JACK ROSLOVIC

Rating: 70.1#159 C

Brandon Tanev
BRANDON TANEV

Rating: 71.5#79 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.94#15 FL3
Brendan Lemieux
BRENDAN LEMIEUX

Rating: 71.6#81 LW

Jack Roslovic
JACK ROSLOVIC

Rating: 70.1#159 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON
FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.87#9 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 75.5#21 LD

Jacob Trouba
JACOB TROUBA

Rating: 76.9#22 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.23#15 DL1
Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT

Rating: 70.8#94 LD

Dustin Byfuglien
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN

Rating: 81.2#7 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 75.99#4 DL2
Dmitry Kulikov
DMITRY KULIKOV

Rating: 70.3#109 LD

Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS

Rating: 75.2#28 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.77#8 DL3

 

YOUR INFORMATIONAL NEEDS FOR TONIGHT’S GAME

  • Josh Leivo is sneaky good. He’s been given a chance on the Canucks after the Leafs weren’t able to utilize him because of all their all-stars. This is his first full season and he’s eclipsed his previous career high in points through 38 games. Winning the lottery and being plunked on a line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser has its advantages and he’s made the most of it. Sven Baertschi getting injured created the opportunity when the Canucks picked him up. Going forward he could be the next Baertschi which could make Sven an option with Bo Horvat and possible Jake Virtanen.
  • Nikolay Goldobin has only played three games against the Jets but he’s found the net. He has a goal and a power-play assist and he’s also having a breakout season. He still needs work as Travis Green has said but comparing him to Jake Virtanen’s progression, Goldobin is a lot closer to what the team wants out of him in a shorter amount of time.
  • Hounding on the PP is getting frustrating but the Canucks are making waves on the PK. They’ve killed 20 straight penalties which apparently hasn’t been done by this team for five seasons. They’re still –12:12 from being par in PP/PK minutes so staying disciplined will help that number out. The Canucks are significantly active in the 2nd period as they have amassed the most PP/PK minutes in that stage of the game by almost 27 minutes! It drops dramatically in the 3rd but they’ve still played almost a full game shorthanded in the 3rd period.
  • Jake Virtanen has been sporadic with his overall scoring this season and in the last meeting against the Jets, he was on for a goal-against. Jake needs to be given more PP opportunities as he has a good connection with Horvat and should be called upon more to get the next goal. Green has rewarded Virtanen with late-game shifts and it feels like patience will get better results if he continues to do the things that have gotten him noticed this year.
  • Jacob Markstrom doesn’t enjoy playing the Jets, or at least that’s what the stats say. In 10 games, he’s 2-7-0-1 with a sub .900 SV% and a GAA that makes me think the NHL might still be my calling. But that was the old Markstrom. New Markstrom is square to the puck, doesn’t overreact and currently has won seven of his last nine games. If Markstrom has turned a corner, the Canucks might have a handful of games they can win that otherwise would have been a struggle. Even opposing teams believe he’s an entirely different guy now:

MY 94 CENTS

I look at the Tampa game and think “OK, they didn’t deliver on the PP but they didn’t quit”. Now, I look at this team a game later, yes only a game later, and the Canucks are showing they’re beginning to belong. Getting a high pick would be great but at the same time, if they continue to climb at an appropriate pace, playoff games go a long way as well. To get a guy like Jack Hughes you have to be pretty, pretty bad and it’s looking more and more like the Canucks might not be that team anymore.

That could all change if they go on a stinker of a run but with Pettersson’s dominance and Bo Horvat’s drive, don’t be surprised if Jim Benning starts looking at players that can help sooner, rather than later.

Vancouver won’t dominate tonight, heck, they might not even be close by the 3rd period, but they’ll compete and that alone is why I think it OT will be needed tonight.

THE FINAL WORD

I apologize for not being able to drink a beer out of a cut hole. Tonight, I’ll make good. Publicity doesn’t hurt, though.

  • Dear Canucks. Stay out of the box against these guys this evening and no brain dead penalties. This Jets team can routinely beat anyone but don’t beat yourselves against a club with the kind of artillery they have in their line up. Maybe the Manitoba team can give us all a Christmas present by taking the Canucks lightly. Happy Saturnalia everyone.

  • Happy Holidays!

    As of today, 3 teams are fighting for that last playoff spot in the Pacific division. All 3 teams are tied with a 6 – 3 – 1 record in their last 10 games. Golden Knights hold it with 42 points, Oilers trying to catch up with 40, and Canucks with 38 coming on strong . Only four points separate Van from taking that last spot.

    Go Nucks Go!

  • The odds are against every team getting Hughes, regardless of how bad they are. Sure the odds are worse if they barely miss, but every team that misses the playoffs could get Hughes.

  • Good game by the Canucks. They definitely deserved a point for their effort. A shame to lose it with 90 seconds left in the game. Canucks are far too good this year to be in the Jack Hughes conversation. I’ve got a feeling we will be drafting around tenth. Hopefully Benning has the skills to pick a good player.