If the Canucks intend on finishing their season-opening road trip with a winning record, then tonight is their first “must-win” game of the season.
Bruce Boudreau’s squad is in the District of Columbia to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals for their first of two meetings this season. The Canucks are coming off two gut-wrenching losses to open 2022-23, while the Caps are fresh off their first win of the season over the rebuilding Canadiens.
Show me the line rushes!

Line Rushes

While no one posted the morning skate line rushes this morning, we can assume they look something like what we saw at yesterday’s practice.
Advertisement
Ad
  • Noah Juulsen has arrived in Washington after being recalled from Abbotsford, and we’ll likely see him in the lineup today. This comes after Tucker Poolman left Saturday’s loss in Philadelphia with an injury, leaving the Canucks’ right side defence particularly exposed.
  • The decision to start Juulsen over the younger Jack Rathbone seems to stem from the older, more physical Capitals lineup that the Canucks will be facing. In the first two games of Abbotsford’s season, Juulsen had no points and nine penalty minutes.
  • Still no word from Bruce Boudreau about Ilya Mikheyev‘s return timetable, but we could know as early as pregame warmups whether or not he’s good to go.
  • Yesterday the Canucks chose to leave Quinn Hughes on the left side of the blue line even with all the injury gaps on the right. It’ll be interesting to see if Boudreau ever decides to give Hughes another go-around on his off-side, just to take some pressure off of guys like Kyle Burroughs and Riley Stillman in the interim.
  • As the first game of a back-to-back, expect Thatcher Demko to start today before Spencer Martin gets his first chance in goal against the Blue Jackets tomorrow.

What Was Said

Noah Juulsen says his up-and-down season last season jumping between the NHL and AHL helped him mentally prepare for being called up days into a new year.
“Coming in last year and getting to meet all the guys here helped me adjust to this year just coming in and feeling comfortable,” Juulsen said. “When you come up, it’s a little hairy at first and you’re trying to figure out where you stand and fit in and so on.”
Juulsen also hasn’t let the pressure of being a player on the bubble get to him.
Advertisement
Ad
“Obviously I think I’ve come to realize that it’s part of the position I play and who I want to be,” Juulsen said about being an organization’s ninth defender. “Hopefully at some point, I can stay up the whole time.”
The Canucks and Capitals face off at 4 p.m. Pacific, with TV coverage on Sportsnet Pacific, Citytv and SN Now.