Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Scenes from morning skate: A huge night for the Hughes crew as Canucks host Devils
2 months ago
Quinn, Jack, and Luke Hughes will share National Hockey League ice for the first time tonight when the Vancouver Canucks (16-8-1) play host to the New Jersey Devils (11-10-1). It will mark the ninth time in NHL history three siblings have skated in the same game. The last to do it were Marc, Eric, and Jordan Staal in last season’s Florida vs Carolina Eastern Conference Final.
Quinn and Jack have faced off six times already in their careers, with New Jersey coming out on top in five of those contests. Quinn and the Canucks will be looking to make their mark tonight in the opener of a five-game homestand.
What we saw
After a team day off Monday, the Canucks held a full morning skate at Rogers Arena. The team will go with the same lineup it used in Saturday’s 4-3 win at Calgary. Sam Lafferty remains on a line with Elias Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev. Those three each had a goal and an assist in the victory over the Flames.
Phil Di Giuseppe and Mark Friedman will be the healthy scratches tonight while Thatcher Demko makes his fourth straight start in goal.
There were a few wrinkles to come from the morning skate with Andrei Kuzmenko returning to the Canucks top power play unit while Filip Hronek and Nils Höglander were part of the second unit. The Canucks power play remains fourth in league rankings at 27.5% overall, but has gone two straight games without a goal and has just one in 11 attempts in the past three outings.
The Canucks will wear their black skate jersey for the fifth time this season. But the team appears to be calling an audible on this one. When the initial black skate jersey schedule was released, tonight’s game against New Jersey was not among the 15 games designated for the alternate look this season.
The Canucks will need to pay particular attention to the league’s best power play on the other side tonight. Vancouver’s penalty kill has slipped to 25th in the NHL at 75% and gave up a pair of goals in Calgary. New Jersey has the league’s top power play at 36% converting on 27 of 75 opportunities so far this season. On the road, the Devils are 15 of 37 (40.5%).
New Jersey has been idle since a 6-3 loss at home to San Jose on Friday night. That snapped a three game win streak for the Devils who are led in goals by former Canuck Tyler Toffoli with 12 and in points by Jack Hughes who has 9+21=30. Jesper Bratt is not far behind with 8+18=26. Luke Hughes enters the night with three goals and 14 points in 22 games this season.
The Devils will be without veteran defenceman Dougie Hamilton for a while after he underwent surgery for a torn pectoral muscle last week. That opened the door for 19-year-old Simon Nemec to make his NHL debut on Friday. The teen led the Devils defence in ice time at 22:38, had two assists and registered 12 shot attempts in his first big league game.
Tonight marks the return to Rogers Arena for Travis Green two years to the day that he was relieved of his duties as Canucks head coach. He is in his first season as an assistant to Lindy Ruff. It’s also the first time back to town for Curtis Lazar who spent 45 games with the Canucks last season before being sent to New Jersey in a deal with the Devils at the trade deadline.
What was said
Quinn Hughes on a historic night for the Hughes clan: “It’s big for the family. We haven’t really dressed it up. I think we’ve been trying to treat it like just another game. And I know those guys (Jack and Luke) are too. They’re not trying to whoop it up or anything. Same thing for me. They need points and we’d like to keep it going.”
Quinn on added significance to the night having him and Jack both in top 10 in league scoring: “It’s very rare for brothers to be in the NHL together but then obviously have success is another thing. So it’s pretty cool for all of us and I’m sure my parents [who will be in attendance] and family and friends as well. He’s having a great year and has been having a great couple of years here. We’re going to have to focus on him tonight.”
Rick Tocchet on having one Hughes brother on his team and coaching against the other two: “It’s great for hockey. Look at the talent of those three guys. It’s incredible. They’re competitive brothers. Yeah they’re brothers, but they want to showcase their talent tonight. We just have to be careful that they don’t try to outdo each other and are just zipping around.”
Tocchet on giving Höglander the PP2 bump: “I need to get Hoggy more ice time. He’s earning it right now.”
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