Scenes from morning skate: Dakota Joshua promoted to top line ahead of St. Louis reunion
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould7 months ago
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Connor Bedard who? The Vancouver Canucks have won eight of their last 10 games. Who needs playoff hockey or lottery odds when you can draft 12th overall in June?
Anyway, the Canucks will put their three-game winning streak on the line on Tuesday when they take on the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. (The Blues are coming off a bonkers 7–6 loss on the road against the Los Angeles Kings two days ago).
Thatcher Demko will get the start. Quinn Hughes is one point away from becoming the first Canucks defenceman to score 70 points in a single season. Elias Petterson’s 12-game point streak is on the line.
On the St. Louis side, Jakub Vrana is off to a torrid start after being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings ahead of the deadline. The 27-year-old winger has six goals and eight points in his first 11 games with the Blues, and he also has 36 shots on goal in that stretch.
Here’s a look at the Canucks’ projected lineup.
What we saw
Jack Rathbone is out. Guillaume Brisebois is in. And the pairings have been jumbled around in a few other ways — who didn’t want to see another game of Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers playing together?
But the big news here is Dakota Joshua’s promotion. Rick Tocchet has had no shortage of positive things to say about the former Blue of late, and now he’s backed it up with a revamped top line.
Andrei Kuzmenko. Elias Pettersson. Dakota Joshua. Who envisioned that trio being assembled at the start of the year? If you did, you’d better go buy yourself a lottery ticket.
Joshua has logged more than 15 minutes of ice time in a game just once before in his entire NHL career. He might just make it two on Tuesday.
What was said
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet spoke about what he’s seen lately from the 26-year-old Joshua, who has 11 goals and 20 points in 70 games this season.
“This organization needs big wall guys. We don’t really have a lot,” Tocchet said. “When I saw him, gave him some responsibility [as a] big part of our PK. Now, he’s becoming a finisher. He’s getting some chances and he’s finishing. I think there’s another level there and we’re lucky we have another year [on his contract].
“I told him, if he plays a big man’s game, give-and-go type of style, he’ll pay the mortgage for a bunch of years here. He can do that,” Tocchet continued. “And [Joshua] knows, for me, it’s consistency. If he can stay consistent, that’s probably his next level.”
Tocchet also touched upon the decision to elevate Joshua to the Pettersson line.
“Yeah, I put him against Chicago and it kind of turned it around in the third period for us, so … just to get Petey some guys who’ll get some pucks for him.”
Get ready, Canucks fans: Vancouver and St. Louis will go head-to-head inside Enterprise Center at 5:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday evening. You’ll be able to catch the game on Sportsnet Pacific — and, of course, we’ll have all the usual fixings (Stanchies, Statsies, and the like) here at CanucksArmy.
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