Taxiing for Takeoff So It Might Be A Long Night
If you were concerned about the Canucks’ chances of making the playoffs before, tonight’s game will be the ultimate test. No Elias Pettersson, no Jay Beagle, no Brandon Sutter, and no Antoine Roussel at Friday practice. Now, that was yesterday and by game time, Vancouver might be fortunate enough to see at least one of those centres back.
The alternative is Ashton Sautner or Brogan Rafferty on RW (oh joy!). Loui Eriksson looks like he’s back in the lineup, Zack MacEwen is too! Tanner Pearson will need to boost his trade value because anything in the bottom-six will be a non-event.
Here’s the catch: the Canucks face the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Edmonton dismantled the Senators last night so maybe lightning will strike twice and the Canucks can repeat the Leafs’ effort from a week ago to beat Connor McDavid and Co?
Did I mention that a defenceman might play forward for the Canucks? The construction of the taxi squad and this roster has been exposed. The slogan “We Are All Canucks” is very close to becoming true: with no more healthy bodies, Jeff Paterson might be the EBUG this evening.
Let’s Do This!™
Everyone’s Hurt and Nothing is Fine
Pettersson’s hurt, Sutter’s banged up, not sure what’s up with Beagle, and even the lacklustre Antoine Roussel is hurt. It’s the perfect storm for the Canucks to lose 8-1. At even strength, the Canucks haven’t been stellar and if they get into penalty trouble tonight, it could be curtains.
We haven’t seen a dismantled lineup like this in a while, but it usually happens when you don’t have enough depth. Special teams will be on blast tonight and we should expect the top two lines to be rotated back and forth like being down a goal in Game 7.
Connor McDavid (Probably just a neat stat about him), Eriksson Is Back, Brock Boeser Continues his Reign
- Connor McDavid is the first player this season to reach 50 points and the only player remotely close thus far is his teammate Leon Draisaitl. These two are unstoppable and if the Canucks can hold them to a point apiece, that would be a moral victory. The Canucks lead the league in moral victories.
- Loui Eriksson has returned to the lineup and he might be the most welcome player in this streak of injuries for Vancouver. Eriksson’s last appearance was Feb 19 vs. the Jets. He only has one assist to his name this season but he’ll get more minutes tonight. Maybe Loui is due?
- Brock Boeser is well on his way to a career year. He’ll eclipse his output from a season ago and if he catches on fire a bit, he might even flirt with 30 goals. Sadly, there isn’t anyone else up front that has stood out like Boeser aside from Thatcher Demko and he can’t shoot 200 feet top shelf. His two-goal performance in the first game of the year was the lone bright spot against the Oilers for Boeser.
- Adam Gaudette’s clapper is still making waves and he’s T-3 in xGoals/60 with 1.23. Only Brendan Gallagher and Joel Eriksson-Ek are ahead of him. Moneypuck.com is the place to find this gem. It isn’t as kind to the rest of the team.
- With all these injuries, the Benning machine will be alive and well. He won’t be able to trade anyone because they won’t be able to ice a competitive team. Rich.
- Jake Virtanen started his career with a monster hit on Connor McDavid. No one is expecting him to blow up tonight and it would be the absolute highlight of the night on the nightcap of Hockey Night in Canada. Good luck, Jake!
PowerGlove Player of the Game
- It may need to be the literal glove tonight but Thatcher Demko is going to have to be the player of the game for the Canucks tonight. There can be no other. Please have him in your prayers this evening.
Things I’m Looking Forward To
- Ice cream at Tickleberrys in Okanagan Falls. When you live in the Okanagan, road trips for ice cream are wicked. Wineries on the way are a nice break as well.
- Brock Boeser scoring multiple goals and forcing the Oilers to rethink life in general.
- Loui Eriksson having an even-strength scoring opportunity. Not even asking for a goal. Let’s just build on chances to start.
- A full day of cell phone usage off of one charge. #OneChargeChallenge