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Canucks Game Day: ‘We’re a good team’ says Tocchet as DeSmith starts against Senators

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
3 months ago
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The Vancouver Canucks will go with Casey DeSmith in goal as the team opens a quick three-game road trip in Ottawa tonight. DeSmith starts for the first time since a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on October 28th. The decision gives Thatcher Demko a breather after starting four straight and six of the team’s last seven games.
DeSmith is 2-0-1 in his three starts with a 3.07 GAA and a .914 save percentage. In his last outing, DeSmith stopped 20 of 24 New York shots allowing three power play goals (two at 5-on-3) and the overtime winner. With three games in four nights and back to backs ahead in Toronto on Montreal on the weekend, it’s likely DeSmith will get two of the three starts on this road trip.
The Canucks held an optional skate in Ottawa this morning. Seven skaters and Demko took part. One of those on the ice this morning was Teddy Blueger who continues to get closer to his Canucks debut, but will not play tonight. Blueger took part in Wednesday’s practice in Kanata, ON and is now listed as day-to-day nearly five weeks after suffering an October 6th ankle injury.
Aside from the netmidner, the Canucks will go with the same line-up they used in Monday’s 6-2 win over Edmonton. The Canucks head into the night having won four straight and seven of their last eight outings (7-0-1). 
“We’re a good team and it’s okay to say we’re a good team,” Rick Tocchet said this morning. “I don’t think that’s being cocky or anything, I think we’re a good team. But in saying that, you have to respect every opponent.”
For all their early season success, the Canucks are 8-0 against Western opponents but just 1-2-1 in four games against Eastern foes.
Tonight’s game features two of the top three offences in the National Hockey League with the Canucks leading the league averaging 4.50 goals per game while the Senators are third in the NHL scoring an average of 4.00 goals per game. The Los Angeles Kings (4.25) are the only other team in the league to average more than four goals per outing.
“Don’t turn the puck over against this team, they’re one of the highest goal-scoring teams,” Tocchet added. “I know they’ve got some injuries, but they’ve got a lot of talent so you don’t want to feed their transition.”
For the second time in his career, Pius Suter has scored in three straight games finding the back of the net in San Jose and at home against Dallas and Edmonton. His second period goal against the Stars broke a scoreless tie and stood up as the winner while his first period goal against the Oilers gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead that they didn’t relinquish.  Suter’s not the only Canuck holding the hot hand these days as Filip Hronek looks to extend a seven-game point streak (10 assists) while Elias Pettersson carries a six-game streak into action tonight (4+7=11).
Dakota Joshua has picked up assists in consecutive games after being a healthy scratch against the Sharks last Thursday. While Joshua has just one goal on the season — and it came on opening night — he is finding ways to contribute in other areas. His work on the penalty kill may be flying under the radar, but it shouldn’t. There are seven forwards in the NHL this season that have logged 20 minutes of short-handed time and not been on the ice for a power play goal against. Joshua is one of them. He seems primarily second-unit power plays and context matters here, but it’s still a significant achievement to face any NHL power play and not get scored on.
The Canucks will see a Senators team that beat Toronto 6-3 last night in a Battle of Ontario. Tim Stutzle led the Ottawa attack with a goal and three assists.
Jacob Chychrun logged a career-high and an NHL season high 31:06 of ice time. Over his last five games, Chychrun is averaging a league-leading 28:44 – more than two minutes more per game than anyone else in the NHL.
On the season, Brady Tkachuk leads the Sens with eight goals while Stutzle has the team lead with 15 points (3+12). Claude Giroux has scored in back to back games and carries a five-game point streak into action tonight (4+5).
The Senators have dropped four straight on home ice after opening the season with wins in their first three at Canadian Tire Centre.x
Because they played last night, the Senators did not hold a morning skate. It will be closer to game time before their starting goalie for tonight is revealed. Joonas Korpisalo played last night in Toronto which could mean Anton Forsberg gets the nod tonight.
Tonight’s referees: Chris Rooney and Jordan Samuels-Thomas

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