Scenes from Canucks practice: Stillman still in, J.T. Miller moves to centre, and Brock Boeser returns
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber29 days ago
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The Vancouver Canucks kick off an east coast swing in Ottawa on Tuesday and will play in a pair of back-to-backs over the next week.
After blowing another multi-goal lead on Saturday night, the forward lines saw yet another move as it looks like Brock Boeser is trending towards returning to the lineup.
Another surprise at today’s practice in Ottawa is that Riley Stillman still looks to be in the top-six of the defence corps as he remains on a pairing with Tyler Myers.
Let’s get to what the lines looked like…
The top line had J.T. Miller centring Tanner Pearson and Brock Boeser.
Miller has looked much more engaged and less of a liability when playing on the wing but the lines indicate that he will be back at centre on a trio that lacks speed.
With Miller going back to centre, Bo Horvat moved down to a line with Conor Garland and Vasily Podkolzin.
Podkolzin is still without a goal on the season but we’re interested in seeing how this trio will work in the offensive zone. Garland and Podkolzin do a good job of extending offensive zone time and setting up quality scoring chances. With the way that Horvat has been scoring, this trio should be able to take advantage of matching up against other teams’ bottom-six lines.
Not to sound dramatic, but we are blown away with seeing Riley Stillman still lining up on one of the team’s top three pairings.
He has shown more than enough to earn a healthy scratch to get either Kyle Burroughs or Jack Rathbone back into the lineup.
Stillman leads the Canucks with 5.26 goals against per 60 minutes. He has the worst expected goals per 60 out of all the defencemen and has been the worst defenceman at defending against high-danger shots against, allowing 14.61 high-danger shot attempts per 60 minutes.
Again, #FreeRathbone or play Burroughs.
What was said
Oliver Ekman-Larsson spoke about needing to feel better about playing with the leads after blowing another multi-goal lead in Saturday’s game against the Predators.
“We still shot ourselves in the foot again,” said Ekman-Larsson. “We have got to find a way to close those games out when you’re up 3-0. Even if you don’t win 3-0, it’s just being able to play with the lead and feel comfortable about it. That’s what we want to focus on right now. We’ve been starting pretty much all the games good and have gotten a lead but we can’t really close them out.”
After practice, Bruce Boudreau was asked if it was a tough decision to put Miller back at centre.
“Nope, that’s where he belongs,” said Boudreau. “We need more balance. He wanted to play back in the middle. Initially, he just wanted to get his game going. He wasn’t thinking he was skating well enough and now he thinks he’s where he should be. [He will] get back in the middle where I want him.”
Puck drop for Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators is scheduled for 4 pm Pacific Time.
Boeser is still considered day-to-day and we will have of an update on who the starting goalie will be from how the morning skate goes on Tuesday morning.
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