With the way the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings have been playing lately, their meeting tonight should be nothing if not entertaining.
The Canucks are fresh off a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils, which also marked the third time in five games that Vancouver’s offence put up five goals or more. In the Red Wings’ case, while they’ve been falling quickly out of the playoff hunt, they’ve been a fascinating team to watch regardless.
In the last few weeks, the Wings have taken part in a 7-5 loss to the Oilers, a 6-5 overtime loss versus the Wild, a stunning 9-2 blowout by the Arizona Coyotes (no, I’m not kidding) and of course, the infamous 10-7 game against the Leafs.
The Canucks are facing a different type of challenge than the Detroit team that stymied them in a 2-1 loss back in October. Vancouver is playing with a lot more confidence than the Wings these days and likely has both the strong edge in goal and on offence unless some game-time decisions don’t pan out.
The Red Wings will also be without the services of their second-best scorer, Tyler Bertuzzi, who cannot play in Canada due to his unvaccinated status.
Can the Canucks continue their strong homestand and inch even closer to Vegas in the Pacific Division race? Let’s find out!
With an optional morning skate on the table, Nils Höglander, Tyler Myers, and Conor Garland were all absent today. But after missing the last two games with an injury, Elias Pettersson has finally returned to the ice.
While Pettersson was skating on a line with Nic Petan and Alex Chiasson, he’s still considered a game-time decision by Bruce Boudreau. According to The Province’s Patrick Johnston, it’s believed that Pettersson’s wrist, which plagued him all last season, has been an issue again.
Nils Höglander is also a game-time decision due to a groin issue, a tough blow for the winger after scoring a crucial goal against the Devils on Tuesday.
What was said
Brock Boeser’s name has been floating around the trade rumour pool for weeks now, but the 25-year-old winger said he and his teammates are solely focused on the postseason hunt.
“I don’t think we’re honestly really looking at the deadline. I think for the past couple of weeks to a month we’ve been saying every single game is important and then the next one is more important,” Boeser said.
“We all have that belief of making the playoffs and I think you guys can see it within our game. It’s something we’re pushing hard for.”
Boeser also talked about catching up with his friend and former teammate Troy Stecher, who returns to Vancouver for the first time tonight since joining the Red Wings in free agency back in 2020. “We stay in touch, we FaceTime a lot still. Obviously, I got to see him yesterday so it was nice to see him.”
Defensemen Brad Hunt spoke about how much the attitude in the locker room has changed over the past few months, particularly when the team faces setbacks.
“All teams deal with adversity throughout a season. I think we just dealt with it earlier in the year and it made us appreciate how much winning is the difference in what the team feels like when you’re winning versus losing,” Hunt said.
“We’ve been there, we know what it feels like to lose, it sucks. And when you’re winning, everyone’s in a good mood, you’re happy to come to the rink, everything’s going great and we just, I mean it becomes addictive.”
Bruce Boudreau provided an update on both Pettersson and Höglander’s status before tonight’s game.
“Well, Höglander’s getting tested out today. I’m just calling it day to day right now. Petey’s day-to-day, I hadn’t even talked to him after the warm-up to see how he feels,” Boudreau said.
“Both we’ll see tonight if they come on the ice.”
Puck drop from Rogers Arena for the Canucks and Red Wings is scheduled for 7:00 PM, with Sportsnet Pacific carrying the game on TV.