You know the old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”? Maybe that’s why the Canucks are celebrating Family Day with their first-ever home game against the Seattle Kraken.
This game was rescheduled from its original December 27th date, and it couldn’t be coming at a better time. After their embarrassing 7-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, the Canucks have faced some criticism for a lack of pushback, specifically on a night where a Nicolas Deslauriers hit broke Kyle Burroughs’ ribs on the very first shift.
While the Seattle-Vancouver rivalry is still in its infancy, it’s a battle the Canucks will need to embrace to bring more intensity against the expansion Kraken. Seattle will have their hands full if the rest of the Canucks’ roster can match the same energy for 60 minutes that Vasily Podkolzin brought in his third period scuffle with Max Comtois on Saturday.
Show me the line rushes!
After that rough outing against Anaheim, Bruce Boudreau has decided to put a couple of the forward lines in a blender.
J.T. Miller will return to centre on a line with Tanner Pearson and Conor Garland, who combined for four points in the loss to the Ducks. Miller’s previous linemates, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser, have been bumped onto a new unit with Jason Dickinson, who’ll be making a rare shift over to the left wing.
On the blue line, while Burroughs’ rib injury is expected to keep him out for a couple of months, one noticeable name sticking in the lineup is Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who hurt his left leg after taking a hit in the third period.
Ekman-Larsson had surgery on his left leg back in 2019 as a member of the Coyotes.
What Was Said
Head coach Bruce Boudreau emphasized the importance of his team not looking at the Kraken’s season record and focusing more on their own. “There’s no chance that we’re going to take this team lightly,” Boudreau said. “They’ve been playing a lot better the last 10 games, so it’s something that we have to take very seriously and we need a win if we want to stay in this [playoff] race.”
While the added intensity is important to a coach like Boudreau, he also made it clear that discipline needs to go hand in hand with it. “When we start taking more than two penalties a game, the ice times get all screwed up. You have to play more guys defending, and then you have less time for offence,” Boudreau said. “When we were winning those seven in a row at the beginning, you could almost go to every game where we weren’t taking any penalties… and that had a big reason why we were winning.”
J.T. Miller spoke to the mental aspect of playing a full game and keeping a game in control against Seattle and beyond.
“We’ve shown that once we get out to a lead we’re really hard o play against especially,” Miller said. “It is a long game, I think that we can be better at playing a more complete game. It seems just lately here it’s magnified especially, but if we come out to a good start we’re not maintaining our pace, or we have good pushes in the latter half of these games but we’re down a bunch early. You have to be in the battle and out will the other team and win your 1-on-1s and make smart decisions with the puck.”
Game time at Rogers Arena for the Canucks and Kraken is slated for 7:00 PM Pacific, with Sportsnet 1 carrying it on television.