OPENING FACE/OFF

A week ago, the Canucks facing the Canadiens for the fourth time this close together would have had fire alarms triggered from the Queen Charlotte Islands to Grand Forks. Fast forward to tonight’s matchup and it’s the Canucks who might be the team to watch. Okay, okay, maybe not quite yet.
Brock Boeser has been the story on the offensive side of the puck while Thatcher Demko has channeled his summer self, stopping 97 of the last 100 shots he faced. Add Nils Höglander to the mix and the Canucks are now fun to watch. We probably shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves because the Habs can turn it on a dime and put the Canucks away. Don’t forget, it’s an early one.
Let’s Do This!™

WHERE CAN I FIND THIS GAME?

TV: SNP / RADIO: SN 650 / PUCK DROP: 4:00PM
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LINEUPS

The big question today is Jake Virtanen. If he’s scratched again it could be curtains for the former first-round pick. On a positive note, the top-six has been electric and the bottom-six has even held up their end.
Thatcher Demko is on a serious roll right now but has it been good enough to keep Braden Holtby from the net? #BubbleDemko has been a force.
CANUCKS LINES COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM:
LWCRWForwards
J.T. Miller
J.T. MILLER
Rating: 78.5#7 LW
Elias Pettersson
ELIAS PETTERSSON
Rating: 77.7#14 C
Brock Boeser
BROCK BOESER
Rating: 74.1#41 RW
FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.78#10 FL1
Tanner Pearson
TANNER PEARSON
Rating: 73.7#38 LW
Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT
Rating: 74.8#34 C
FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.25#14 FL2
Adam Gaudette
ADAM GAUDETTE
Rating: 70.2#130 LW
Brandon Sutter
BRANDON SUTTER
Rating: 70.1#131 C
FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.15#27 FL3
Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL
Rating: 71.0#97 LW
Jay Beagle
JAY BEAGLE
Rating: 68.4#163 C
Tyler Motte
TYLER MOTTE
Rating: 68.8#144 RW
FL4 Rating
Rating: 69.39#30 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGSDefense
Quinn Hughes
QUINN HUGHES
Rating: 75.2#15 LD
Jordie Benn
JORDIE BENN
Rating: 70.9#101 RD
DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.04#27 DL1
Nate Schmidt
NATE SCHMIDT
Rating: 75.5#18 LD
Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS
Rating: 72.6#50 RD
DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.02#7 DL2
Alexander Edler
ALEXANDER EDLER
Rating: 74.3#26 LD
DL3 Rating
Rating: 74.31#3 DL3
It’s likely the same lineup as Saturday for Montreal. After all, the Canucks haven’t fared well against this team.
Carey Price should start tonight. I mean, it’s Carey Price.
CANADIENS LINES COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM:
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LWCRWForwards
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR
Rating: 77.7#10 LW
Phillip Danault
PHILLIP DANAULT
Rating: 75.5#29 C
Brendan Gallagher
BRENDAN GALLAGHER
Rating: 78.3#7 RW
FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.20#9 FL1
Jonathan Drouin
JONATHAN DROUIN
Rating: 73.0#48 LW
Josh Anderson
JOSH ANDERSON
Rating: 73.4#42 RW
FL2 Rating
Rating: 73.16#19 FL2
Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI
Rating: 75.9#25 LW
Corey Perry
COREY PERRY
Rating: 70.8#101 RW
FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.44#8 FL3
Artturi Lehkonen
ARTTURI LEHKONEN
Rating: 71.7#81 LW
Paul Byron
PAUL BYRON
Rating: 71.8#78 RW
FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.77#8 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGSDefense
Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT
Rating: 73.8#38 LD
Shea Weber
SHEA WEBER
Rating: 76.5#15 RD
DL1 Rating
Rating: 75.15#14 DL1
Joel Edmundson
JOEL EDMUNDSON
Rating: 73.8#39 LD
Jeff Petry
JEFF PETRY
Rating: 76.7#13 RD
DL2 Rating
Rating: 75.23#3 DL2
Brett Kulak
BRETT KULAK
Rating: 73.4#46 LD
DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.43#6 DL3

GAME NOTES, INTERESTING STATS, AND A NEW HOPE (NO NOT STAR WARS)

  • The Rocket Richard race is already heating up. The competitors at the top aren’t exactly the same but Brock Boeser being in the same sentence as Connor McDavid is pretty remarkable. Each player currently has eight goals but will it be Boeser who continues his tear with four goals in his last two games?
  • It hasn’t been the most electrifying rookie year so far but Nils Höglander has six points and it’s more about his hand-eye coordination than anything that has caught our eye. He’s been gritty along the boards and his motor never stops. We can talk about Tyler Toffoli all we want but Nils may not have had this kind of chance if Toffoli stayed. We’ll never know.
  • Elias Pettersson is making progress with his shot. He is second in the league in PP shot attempts for with 23. It has appeared that he hasn’t been shooting but he most definitely has been. J.T. Miller, however, has seven on the man-advantage. The Lotto Line has almost unlocked all three players this season, it’s Miller time now.
  • Speaking of Pettersson, he has 15 missed shots this year, and a third of those have either hit the post or the crossbar. It may not be long before he has as many missed shots as he does goals.
  • Carey Price hasn’t lost in regulation to the Canucks since 2015/16 when he let in five goals. He has never lost in regulation at home to Vancouver.

TWITTER TOLD YOU

When analytics and the eye test meet:

MY 94 CENTS

Is there a better player in the league right now than Brock Boeser? Doubt it. Connor McDavid? Nope. Leon Draisaitl? Not even close. Boeser is in a class all his own and he’ll have a chance to get redux on the snipe show he released in his rookie year. He’s been put in a position that doesn’t quite fit the eye and yet Brock is putting up results.
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I haven’t been this excited for Brock since… last game.

THE FINAL WORD

A win against the Canadiens tonight would be huge but it won’t be season-defining. Montreal has a dangerous lineup but they aren’t perfect. The Canucks will need another effort like the one in Winnipeg if they want to keep this game in reach.