The Canucks enter December at a pivotal crossroads, with two straight wins out East and six straight games at home to try and salvage a season slipping away. That journey begins tonight as Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town.
When the Canucks and Pens last met on November 24th, Pittsburgh took Vancouver apart in a 4-1 victory, their then fourth of five straight wins. That’s in stark contrast to the Penguins team entering tonight’s game, who are currently riding a three game losing streak.
Today the Canucks hosted an optional morning skate, with Travis Green not planning to make any lineup changes from their 6-2 win over Ottawa:

Lineup

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Thatcher Demko will make his third straight start tonight, going up against Surrey, BC native Tristan Jarry for the second time in less than two weeks. Juho Lammikko is once again the odd man out from the Canucks’ forward corps, with Justin Dowling staying alongside Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander on the third line.

What was said

After taking a maintenance day on Friday, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was back on the ice Saturday morning and is expected to play tonight against Pittsburgh. Ekman-Larsson felt the end of the Canucks’ road trip was a sign of things to come for the club going forward.
“I think we’ve playing some good hockey, but at the end of the day it’s about getting points and getting wins and we haven’t been able to do that,” Ekman-Larsson said. “Just getting that confidence and build some momentum in that room, I think that’s huge for us. Going forward I think that’s gonna help our team a lot.”
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This morning, head coach Travis Green was asked about the absence of Travis Hamonic. Hamonic had been sent to the AHL prior to the Canucks’ six game road trip, but didn’t play a single game with the Abbotsford Canucks. Yesterday he was called up to practice with the big club before being sent back down again hours later, a decision Green said was made to get Hamonic some extra game time.
“He’s only played seven games,” Green said. “We wanted to get him up. We were going to have a fast practice yesterday and wanted him to skate with our group. He’ll play tonight [in the AHL] and then be back with us.”
Puck drop from Rogers Arena is tonight at 7:00 PM Pacific, with Hockey Night in Canada carrying the broadcast on CBC and Sportsnet.
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