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Canucks game day: Myers returns as Vancouver looks to bounce back against Ovechkin and the Capitals

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
27 days ago
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The Vancouver Canucks (42-17-8) will look to bounce back from a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado on Wednesday when they host the Washington Capitals (31-25-9) tonight at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks let a 3-0 late second period lead slip away which snapped the club’s four-game win streak. However, they did extend their point streak to five games (4-0-1). They begin play tonight two points behind Florida in the overall standings and three points up on Winnipeg, Dallas and Colorado atop the Western Conference. They are also nine points ahead of Edmonton in the Pacific Division.
Casey DeSmith will start back to back games for the first time this season. He made 30 saves in the overtime loss to the Avs. DeSmith is 8-4-6 on the season picking up at least a point in 13 of his 18 starts.
With no morning skate, it will be closer to game time before the Canucks line-up is confirmed. However, it’s expected that Tyler Myers will return for the first time since suffering a lower body injury February 29th against Los Angeles. With Myers back, Noah Juulsen will come out of the line-up after a run of 21 games. This will mark just the seventh time the Canucks have used a defence core consisting of Quinn Hughes, Filip Hronek, Carson Soucy, Tyler Myers, Ian Cole and Nikita Zadorov and the first time since January 20th.
With Quinn Hughes matching his career best 76-points and Filip Hronek sitting at a career-high 45 points, the Canucks blueline has equalled its offensive output from last season of 177 points – with 15 games remaining.
Brock Boeser continues to lead the Canucks in goal scoring with 35 on the season, but has gone five without finding the back of the net. Elias Lindholm has gone 12 games without scoring and has just two points over that stretch.
The Canucks power play went 0 for 3 against Colorado on Wednesday is now 2 for its 12 attempts through five games in March (16.6%). That is a continuation of struggles since the All Star break. The Canucks are 8 for 52 (15.4%) with the man-advantage over their past 18 games. 
The Capitals arrive here fighting for their playoff lives. They are coming off a 2-1 win in Seattle on Thursday. TJ Oshie and Connor McMichael scored the Washington goals while Charlie Lindgren made 23 saves for the victory. Lindgren has started seven of the last eight games for the Caps.
Washington is 8-4-1 in its last 13 games and has scored a power play goal in nine of its last 10 outings. The Caps enter the night a single point behind the idle New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 
Tonight will mark TJ Oshie’s 1000th NHL game. The Mt. Vernon, WA native will become the 41st active skater and 390th player in league history to reach the milestone. He broke into the league and played 443 games with the St. Louis Blues. Since then, Oshie has played 556 games and won a Stanley Cup with the Capitals.
Dylan Strome leads the Caps in goals and points with 22+29= 51. Alex Ovechkin is second to Strome in both categories with 18+31=49 on the season. They are the only players on the Capitals roster with more than 40 points this season. As a team, the Caps are 29th in the league in goals per game (2.63) – and last in the Eastern Conference.
Only San Jose and Chicago get less offensive input from their defence corps than Washington 14+89=103 and only the Blackhawks have fewer goals from their blueline this season (13).
Tonight will be Alex Ovechkin’s 1410th NHL regular season game. He enters play with 840 career goals and 1534 points. He is 54 goals shy of Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894. This will be Ovi’s 26th game against the Canucks. Through the years, he has 15 goals and 26 points in his first 25 match-ups. Just 12 of those games have been in Vancouver where The Great 8 has fittingly scored eight times and added five assists including a 2+2=4 performance in 2018.
Despite never holding the lead at any point, the Canucks defeated the Capitals 3-2 in overtime in Washington on February 11th. JT Miller scored the winner with just five seconds remaining in OT.
Tonight’s referees: Graham Skilliter & Michael Markovic
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