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

Canucks Army THE GAME DAY – Blues vs Canucks

Always90Four decided to take his vacation this week and is ripping it up in Vegas at this moment. I’ve decided to lend a hand and do The Game Day previews for the next two games so that he can make poor decisions instead of writing pregame reports.

THE INTRO

Tonight, the Canucks return from their extended All-Star break to battle against the Central Division leading St.Louis Blues. The Blues sent Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo and Jordan Binnington to the All-Star game as they were the hosts of this past weekend’s festivities. The Blues are kicking off a four game Western Canadian road trip on Monday. The Canucks will face the Blues at home, then fly to San Jose to begin a five game road trip that will see them travelΒ  from San Jose to New York.

The Canucks travel schedule still sucks, in case you forgot.

It’s the first game back after the week and a half off. The players were busy on Sunday afternoon shaking off the rust during their practice at UBC on Sunday.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

The odds for tonight’s game: (VAN+100/STL-120) courtesy of OddsShark.com

TV / RADIO / PUCK DROP

Sportsnet / Sportsnet 650 / 7pm

LINEUPS

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I was at Canucks practice on Sunday afternoon and there were not many if any changes to the lineup that we saw going into the break.

We haven’t yet received an update on who would start in net for the Canucks but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Thatcher Demko get another start after the weekend that Jacob Markstrom had and the travel he has done over the past couple days.

It would be nice to see Demko get another start but with a division-leading team like the Blues in town, coach Travis Green will probably end up going with his starter Markstrom.

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GAME NOTES AND A STAT OR TWO

  • Jake Virtanen continues to skate alongside JT Miller and Elias Pettersson. This gives the first scoring line a bit more speed. Virtanen will be watched with a close eye as I’m sure Travis Green wanted his players to enjoy their time off but remember that they are in a playoff race right now. Virtanen doesn’t need to have a head start to beat an opposing defenceman down the wing. He has the pace to beat defencemen with ease and if Miller or Pettersson is able to find him on a quick exit we may see a lot more breakaways for Virtanen in this role.
  • With Virtanen up with the big boys it sends Brock Boeser down with the other boys. Boeser was on a line with Adam Gaudette and Antoine Roussel on Sunday afternoon. Boeser has been scoring at a high clip this season and if he can get some easy matchups against opposing forward lines and depth defencemen he may be able to take advantage of the easier competition and get a few more high danger shots off.
  • Over the past 13 games that we have seen the Pearson-Horvat-Eriksson line assembled they have had a positive corsi percentage, outchanced and outscored their opposition. This is great news for a line that is supposed to match up against the opposition’s best line every night.

OTHER THINGS

As I mentioned earlier, I was in attendance for practice this Sunday. I was also there to attend the Canucks Autism Network’s (CAN) ProAm tournament. I got a chance to see Todd Bertuzzi, Dave Babych, The Sedins, Taylor Pyatt and even former CanucksArmy editor Ryan Biech skate around the ice to help raise money for the CAN. The turnout was great, the donation boxes were stuffed and it just makes me take a step back and realize how great an organization like the Canucks can be.

The CAN helps kids use sport to help with development in life. Sports can often mirror a lot of situation that people will face in life and I think teaching lessons through sport is an excellent idea. The CAN also helps older youth (Ages 13-17) with programs that provide the opportunity to have fun, meet new people in their community, and develop new skills in a variety of settings.

Major props to the folks at CAN, they organized an amazing event.