Riding a three-game win streak and boasting a record that’s finally above .500, the Vancouver Canucks kick off a short two-game road trip with a meeting in Winnipeg to take on the Jets. The Jets bested the Canucks at Rogers Arena by a score of 5-1 not that long ago, but more recently, Winnipeg has lost their last three games.
It’s going to be a statement game for the Canucks as they’ve started to build up some confidence by taking care of business against three Pacific Division opponents.
Here’s what went down at morning skate today in Winnipeg ahead of the Canucks’ matchup with the Jets.
Sources in Winnipeg have indicated that the Canucks used the exact same line rushes that they did at practice on Wednesday, which in case you’ve forgotten, looked like this:
These lines indicate that the Hughes-Bear pairing, which we wrote about earlier today
, will stay together again, and that Travis Dermott will make his season debut tonight.
Dermott will slot into the lineup in place of Riley Stillman on the third pair, playing alongside Luke Schenn.
The Canucks traded Travis Hamonic for a third at last year’s trade deadline, then immediately flipped another third round pick to the Leafs in exchange for Dermott, who is younger and cheaper than Hamonic.
Dermott appeared in 17 games for the Canucks to close out last season, and tallied one goal and an assist. Dermott looked primed to take the spot on the Canucks’ third pairing this season, but went down with a head injury after taking a bump during a preseason practice out at UBC.
After a brief conditioning stint in Abbotsford, Dermott feels he’s ready to go tonight.
Collin Delia was also the first goaltender off the ice, indicating he’s the Canucks’ projected starter tonight.
What was said
Bo Horvat talked about the task at hand for his team tonight.
“They’re obviously a really good, heavy, skilled team and don’t allow a lot of chances against them,” Horvat said. “We’ve got to find ways to get inside and get in front of their goalie’s eyes. He’s a good goalie. If we do that tonight, we’re going to have success.
“I think we’re starting to gain traction, I think we’re starting to realize how we have to play to beat really good hockey teams and how we’re going to win on a nightly basis.”
Bruce Boudreau spoke about his team’s recent success and how tonight’s game will serve as a good indicator of where they’re really at as a team.
“I think there’s a lot more that we can do,” Boudreau said. “Do that against Winnipeg, do that against Calgary — I mean, San Jose is a team that works hard but they don’t have the depth that these other teams have. It’s important that we be able to do those things against the top teams in the league.
“The last time we played [Winnipeg], they beat us 5-1. I think the confidence about the way that we’re playing is good but every game is a new game for this team and I think the last thing we want to be doing is being comfortable.”
Puck drop is at 5 PM Pacific tonight.