The Vancouver Canucks are in Colorado to face the Avalanche and are starting their back-up goaltender, Jaroslav Halak.
Halak’s Canucks tenure has been a disappointment up to this point, and tonight represents one of the last chances the veteran netminder will have to prove to teams around the league that he can still play as he gets set to hit free agency this summer.
But first, the lineup!
As per Thomas Drance of The Athletic, the Canucks didn’t do full line rushes this morning, but the forwards’ jersey colours would suggest that the lineup will remain unchanged from Tuesday’s practice.
That means Travis Dermott will almost certainly line up next to Brad Hunt on the third pairing, and make his Canucks debut.
Additionally, Brad Richardson will centre a line with Matt Highmore and Juho Lammikko on his wings.
What was said
Head coach Bruce Boudreau spoke about why he and his staff have decided to move Lammikko to the wing and put the 37-year-old Richardson at centre.
“We’re moving Lammer to the left side and leaving Richardson in the middle. I think he’s earned that right after all these years and Lammer’s a young, stronger guy that could probably be a little bit better on the boards, and that’s the reason we’ve done that. I mean, there’s still some options yet. We could move Petan to the left side and move Lammer to the middle on the other line, so we’ll see how the game goes and then we’ll pick up from there.”
Boudreau also talked about the thought process behind starting Jaroslav Halak for the first leg of the back-to-back games, rather than going with Demko tonight and Halak tomorrow night in Minnesota.
“Well, it seems that Jaro always gets the back end of the deal on the back to back,” said Boudreau. “So I mean, there was a sense of ‘let’s change it around.’ The two times that Demmer [Thathcer Demko] has played in back-to-backs, we won and lost in overtime.”
It’s true, Halak has backstopped some lethargic-looking Canucks teams on the second legs of back to backs at various points this year, and overall hasn’t played much.
“I can only answer it if it was me,” added Boudreau when asked if the motivation would be higher for Halak given what he’s gone through recently. “I’m the kind of guy that’d say ‘I’ll show you guys’, and he doesn’t want to end his career, he wants to play more. The best way to do that is is to play well, and to me, he’s only had two bad outings. I mean, it came at inopportune times of course, but we’ll see tonight. The fear of losing is the biggest motivator of all and we’re playing arguably the best team in the league tonight.”