Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day, and Elias Pettersson has new wingers.
But more on that later.
Show me the line rushes!
The Canucks practiced yesterday and that gave us a pretty good indication of how they’ll look tonight.
Yesterday, Nils Höglander and Phil Di Giuseppe rotated in and out on Elias Pettersson’s wing on a line with Conor Garland.
Based on morning skate line rushes, however, it appears as though Höglander will slot into the lineup and play alongside Pettersson and Garland, according to Harman Dayal of The Athletic
Thatcer Demko is the projected starter while Semyon Varlamov is expected to man the crease for the Isles.
Something to note: Mat Barzal and maybe Zdeno Chara will not be in the lineup for New York tonight.
The Canucks need wins, and the Islanders not having their star centre in their lineup certainly bodes well for the Canucks’ chances at pulling out a bounce back victory tonight after losing 7-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.
What was said
Head coach Bruce Boudreu knows that Elias Pettersson — who if you haven’t heard already, is “back” — needs to be playing with guys who can finish their chances, especially with how Pettersson is playing right now.
Pettersson is playing with the kind of confidence and swagger that fans have come to expect from him, and with 11 points in his last six games, he’s being relied upon much more by his coach.
“We don’t have enough guys that make other guys better when they play with them, so I mean, I can afford to use Petey in that situation,” Boudreau told media yesterday. “I’d love to see how he’d do if he had Matthews and Draisatl on his line, but he doesn’t, so guys work hard with him. He’s been working hard. His best friend on the team is Hoggy, so I put them together because they communicate well together. But it’s a great attribute when you can put somebody on any line and he makes that line better.”
Today, Boudreau added that the reason Pettersson has new linemates is because he needs to be playing with guys who can finish, and that Alex Chiasson is not one of those guys.
“Petey sometimes is playing really good and one of the guys on that line isn’t,” said Boudreau. “When he’s maybe your second-best offensive player, you’ve got to try to find guys that can finish for him. I mean last game — and I thought he played okay — it was Chiasson. He had four golden chances all set up by Petey, and we need guys at that point that hopefully can finish.”
Puck drop is at 4:30 PM Pacific today from UBS Arena in Elmont.