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What is winning? The Canucks might not know, but the Boston Bruins do.
The Canucks arrive in Boston after dropping their second game in a row, a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, with their chances of a winning record on this five-game road trip hanging in the balance. What better time to face the hottest team in hockey than right now?
In 15 games, the Bruins have posted a stunning 13-2-0 record, the NHL’s best through the first month of the season. Practically everything has been firing on all cylinders for Boston, from stellar goaltending to strong defence to balanced offence. And they’ve done it all with star blueliner Charlie McAvoy missing their first 13 games due to injury.
The B’s have been led by David Pastrnak, who sits fifth in NHL scoring with 23 points. Patrice Bergeron has continued to defy aging curves. Hampus Lindholm is already almost halfway to beating his best single-season mark. And David Krejci has returned from his year off without skipping a beat.
With Bruce Boudreau’s squad fresh off another blown multi-goal lead last night against the Maple Leafs, it’s safe to say the Canucks have their work cut out for them. Which is why it would make so much sense for them to win tonight.
This franchise’s best skill has always been their ability to turn into pure agents of chaos. It would make perfect sense for them to lose today, which is exactly why they might win.
If you’re looking for a silver lining right now, that’s the best I’ve got.
Here are the lines that went for the Canucks yesterday, but it’s hard to imagine that we won’t see some changes today:
With the team’s poor defensive play at certain crucial points and the fatigue of playing less than 24 hours earlier, expect to see at least one of Jack Rathbone or Kyle Burroughs jump in to give the Canucks some fresher legs.
Sheldon Dries is also expected to play tonight and will play the middle, as Brendan Batchelor points out below, this could mean Miller is moving back to the wing after another woeful performance at centre. It may not mean that, either, so we’ll find out soon!
On the flip side, the goaltending situation is a total mystery. General coaching protocol would call for Thatcher Demko to take the net after Spencer Martin faced the Leafs last night, but given Demko’s recent struggles it’s bound to be tempting for Boudreau to ride the hotter hand.
But there’s one other aspect to keep in mind. Martin, a native of Oakville and former Mississauga Steelhead, was given the net in Toronto so he could play in front of friends and family. Demko might be from San Diego, but given his three seasons at Boston College, he’s likely itching to play this one for the same reason.
What would it say about the coaching staff’s confidence in Demko if he sits for the third time in four games tonight? Nothing good!
Puck drop between the Canucks and Bruins is scheduled for 3 PM Pacific, with television coverage on Sportsnet.