Vancouver Canucks game day: Looking to make it three straight with a win in Vegas

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
4 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks (40-17-7) will shoot for a clean sweep of their three game road trip when they make their first visit of the season to Vegas to face the Golden Knights (33-22-7). The Canucks are coming off back to back 2-1 wins over Anaheim and Los Angeles. 
With a regulation victory tonight, the Canucks will climb 16 points clear of the Knights in the Pacific Division standings.

What we saw

Based on the morning skate at T-Mobile Arena, it looks like the Canucks will go with the same line-up they used to beat Los Angeles on Tuesday. That includes Vasily Podkolzin who was re-assigned to Abbotsford on Wednesday, but recalled earlier today.
JT Miller scored the overtime winner against the Kings to extend his point streak to eight games (7+7=14). Elias Pettersson had the Canucks other goal giving him 399 points in 389 career NHL games. With his next point, he’ll become the 12th forward and 13th player in franchise history to reach the 400 point mark.
Quinn Hughes assisted on both Canucks goals in LA giving him 60 or more assists in three straight seasons. Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque are the only other defencemen to accomplish that in NHL history.
Since a four-game losing skid last month, the Canucks have responded by going 3-1-1 in their last five outings. Their wins over the Ducks and Kings marks the first time this season they have won consecutive games with two goals or fewer.
Thatcher Demko is set to start his 48th game of the season. He is 2-4-1 in his regular season career against Vegas, but earned his Bubble Demko nickname by going 2-1 with a 0.85 GAA and .985 save percentage in three starts in relief of Jacob Markstrom forcing the Golden Knights to a seventh game in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Golden Knights are struggling having lost eight of their last 10 games (2-7-1). On Monday, they dropped their third straight game falling 6-3 in Columbus to wrap up a 1-4 road trip. William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson and rookie Mason Morelli with his third goal in just his eighth NHL game scored for Vegas while Adin Hill allowed five goals on 32 shots and took the loss in goal.
With the loss and the single point Los Angeles picked up against the Canucks on Tuesday, Vegas has dropped into a Wild Card position in the Western Conference. The Knights are tied with the Kings with 73 points, however LA has a game in hand and one more regulation victory on the season.
It isn’t all bad news for the defending champs, however, as Vegas welcomed Jack Eichel back to its line-up against the Blue Jackets. Eichel played 19:55 and had five shots on goal in his first game action since suffering a knee injury on January 11th. On Tuesday, the club acquired scoring winger Anthony Mantha from Washington for a second and fourth round draft pick. And late last night the Knights added Noah Hanifin from Calgary in a package that included a prospect and draft picks. Mantha and Hanifin took part in the Golden Knights morning skate and are expected to play tonight.
Jonathan Marchessault leads the Golden Knights with 32 goals and is tied with the injured Mark Stone (lacerated spleen) for the team lead with 53 points. Despite missing nearly two months of action, Eichel is third on the team in goals (19) and points (44).
The Knights are a disciplined bunch. Along with St. Louis, they have taken the fewest minor penalties in the league this season (173) and Ivan Barbashev leads the team with just 40 penalty minutes. Only the Blues have been short-handed less than Vegas this season.
After an 11-0-1 start to the season, the Golden Knights are 22-22-6 in their last 50 games. They have been outscored 159-150 over that stretch and are tied for 24th in the NHL in points collected since November 5th. Since January 1st, Vegas has been the 30th-ranked power play in the NHL, operating at 13.6%.
Throughout their time in the NHL, the Knights have made home ice an advantage and that has held true this season posting a record of 19-9-2 at The Fortress. However, they have dropped their last four games at home all in regulation.
Vegas won the only meeting of the season so far between these teams defeating the Canucks 4-1 at Rogers Arena on November 30th. The teams will meet again twice next month: April 2nd at T-Mobile Arena and April 8th at Rogers Arena.
Tonight’s referees: Chris Lee & Steve Kozari

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