Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment
Nucks Fan Rebuild & Retool Center - Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment

As if this week can't get any worse, the Canucks, still at risk of catching leprosy in the hellhole state of Florida are now teed up for another potential embarrassment: the OEL Revenge Game.

CANUCKS (2-2-0) at PANTHERS (2-2-0)

4:00 PM PST

SPORTSNET Pacific

It all started so good, didn't it?

That 8-1 win, followed by the 4-3 win over the Oilers back to back to start the season, and it felt, even with a few hiccups in that second game, that things might be different this season. And yeah, we should know better, so shame on us. Since then, it's been deja-vu all over again, as we've been treated to two straight losses in oh-so familiar ways.

Despite Thatcher Demko starting the season with a vengeance, and the outstanding defensive work of Quinn Hughes, the jaw dropping emergence of JT Miller as the Canucks best two way player thus far, and Brock Boeser on a heater to start the year, they're still getting worked by shitty teams, and when they show up against better teams, unable to overcome errors that always end up in their net.

They had a sniff at a win in Tampa, but the same piss-poor defensive play that has plagued this team for years was once again the reason they lost. And the ringleader? Tyler Myers. How bad was he on Thursday night? He was 'I don't even wanna talk about him scoring a goal because it doesn't matter' bad. Glaring, head shaking mistakes that led to goals, and as the cherry on top, taking out Elias Pettersson with a slapshot late in the third to just compound the Canucks' problems.

So they head south for a game against the Florida Panthers, who have their own struggles so far after making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in June. One guy who hasn't struggled for them so far? Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Yeah, that OEL. And while the Canucks struggle with the reality of having to give Tyler Myers icetime, the Panthers appear to be just what Ekman-Larsson needed to rejuvenate the tail-end of his career.

And unlike the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Panthers have won two straight, but that doesn't mean they're gonna be any less of a challenge today. So what do the Canucks have to do in order to bump this slump and move back into the win column?

First, they need to come out and play pissed off. And they should be. Despite a better performance, this team has not been good to start this season, and quite literally wasted a couple fantastic performances from Demko, they'd love nothing more than to give him an easy night.

Secondly, and probably the most important factor in securing a win tonight, the Canucks absolutely cannot play another second period like the ones they've put forth so far this season. It's become their trademark over the past few seasons: just completely and utterly disappearing in the middle frame of games, regardless of being in the lead or not. So many losses because they simply couldn't be arsed to give a 60 minute effort. It's frustrating as hell to watch and has to change if they don't want to fall out of the race before Christmas. Yes, it's that dire.

And finally, they need to stay out of the penalty box. While the penalty kill does appear to be better after last season's historically bad performance, it's still not where it needs to be. So that means being smart about antagonizing their opponents, and especially tonight, not getting suckered into retaliation penalties against Matthew Tkachuk. The Canucks are definitely moving towards a team that's not fun to play against, but even teams with a power play as weak as Florida will take their chances against a 72% penalty kill.

LINEUPS

This potential list was found scrawled on the belly of a gator that wandered into a Miami Beach Hardee's, though it may have also been from nhl dot com.

Canucks projected lineup

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Andrei Kuzmenko

Dakota Joshua -- Pius Suter -- Sam Lafferty

Anthony Beauvillier -- Jack Studnicka -- Conor Garland

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Ian Cole -- Tyler Myers

Carson Soucy -- Mark Friedman

Casey DeSmith

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Noah Juulsen, Nils Hoglander

Injured: Teddy Blueger (lower body), Guillaume Brisebois (undisclosed)

Panthers projected lineup

Evan Rodrigues -- Aleksander Barkov -- Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe -- Eetu Loustarinen -- Matthew Tkachuk

Nick Cousins -- Anton Lundell -- Justin Sourdif

Ryan Lomberg -- Kevin Stenlund -- Steven Lorentz

Gustav Forsling -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Niko Mikkola -- Dmitry Kulikov

Josh Mahura -- Uvis Balinskis

Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: William Lockwood, Mike Reilly

Injured: Johan Gadjovich (upper body), Sam Bennett (lower body), Brandon Montour (shoulder), Aaron Ekblad (shoulder)

So, if this lineup holds, it'll be the return of Ilya Mikhayev to the Canucks lineup, and that is definitely something that will make them better. Mikhayev's speed and skill could also be the catalyst that gets Andrei Kuzmenko going. It's unfortunate that it means Nils Hoglander has to come out, but it should put the other bottom six wingers on notice that they'll replace him in the press box if they don't perform.

It's a scheduled start for Casey DeSmith, who was outstanding in his first start, withstanding an Oilers barrage in that 4-3 win over the Oilers to start this road trip. This is a winnable game for the Canucks, if... everything goes right. The Panthers are without Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour, as well as former Canuck Jonah Gadjovich. Another former Canuck, Will Lockwood, appears to be a healthy scratch tonight. The Panthers aren't a pushover, but are missing some of their best players, and if the Canucks can get a couple past Bobrovsky early and play a disciplined road game, they should be able to head to Nashville on a winning note ahead of Tuesday's contest.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Ex-SEPULTURA mainmen Max and Igor Cavalera have been on an absolute tear over the past couple years, and fresh off their reworking of SEPULTURA's first two albums, they've unleashed a new one from their other other project: Go Ahead And Die. The beauty of this? It doesn't sound like SEPULTURA, SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY or NAILBOMB, yet it's unmistakably got the Cavalera DNA all over it. Gonna have to dig deeper on this one, as this track is an absolute beast!

Enjoy the game, and we'll do this again on Tuesday evening as they wrap up the roadtrip in Music City against the Predators. Go Canucks Go!

After a gutsy road win in Edmonton, this season's first edition of the Magical Misery Tour heads to the City of Brotherly Love, where our old... er, pal... John Tortorella and the Philadelphia Flyers.

CANUCKS (2-0-0) at FLYERS (1-1-0)

3:00 PM PST

SPORTSNET Pacific

An interesting challenge awaits the Canucks tonight on the second game of their first road trip of the season. For the first time this year, they'll play a team that actually knows how to win a hockey game. And we're as surprised as anyone that it's the Philadelphia Flyers, but it's been a weird season already, so just roll with it.

To the Canucks credit, they have literally been what they said they hoped to be heading into this season: Stronger defensively, with solid goaltending and a more balanced scoring attack, and a team that wasn't going to cave under pressure the way they did last season. I know two games are hardly a sample size of note, but we've seen a lot to be positive about in those two games against the Oilers. They made the most of their opportunities in Game One, punishing an undisciplined Oilers team who pretty clearly didn't take their opponent seriously.

In the follow-up match in Edmonton, the Oilers came charging out of the gates, and last year, that game would have been one you'd have wanted to walk away from after that first minute, because the 2022-23 Canucks were not going to come back. But come back they did, and convincingly so.

The challenge for Rick Tocchet and his staff is to keep this team dialed in and bringing that kind of mindset every night. Philadelphia's been a tough spot for the Canucks to find wins over the years, even when the Flyers are not great, and it would be a mistake to think it's an easy two points up for grabs tonight.

That's not to say that the Flyers are a playoff-calibre squad by any stretch, but it's always a battle when these teams meet, and with the added incentive of the ex-Flyer Tocchet coaching the Canucks against his old team for the first time, it could make for a spirited affair. And let's not forget the coach on the other side, who surely would love a win against the team he used to helicopter coach for a while a few years back.

The Flyers started their season off with a win in Columbus over another ex-Torts team, emerging with a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jackets. They followed that up with a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators Saturday night in the nation's capital.

We should expect Thatcher Demko and his clean and thoroughly sanitized mask to return to the crease tonight for the Canucks, while the Flyers will likely go with Carter Hart, which is good news for Anthony Beauvilier. The former Islander has scored a sizable chunk of his career goals against that divisional rival, including 2 of the 5 he's potted against Hart in his first game as a Canuck against the Flyers.

We're awaiting to see if Carson Soucy is returning to the lineup for the Canucks this afternoon. If he does, that means we could see either Noah Juulsen or Jack Studnicka come out of the lineup. My guess is they pull Studnicka, who had a beauty of a goal on that 2 on 0 against the Oilers, because it's a little easier cap-wise for the Canucks to pull him out.

Meanwhile, the Canucks have made a move that's well... a move:

Rathbone was once thought to be a lock in Vancouver, but after a setback year in Abbotsford and disappointing performances when called up, this probably isn't a surprise to anyone. We'll have to get more info on them when we can, but here's a peek at what they're getting in Friedman:

GAME DAY CHATTER

LINEUPS

I found these on the back of a package of cold medication. Or maybe it was nhl dot com. It's all a little hazy at the moment...

Canucks projected lineup

Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J. T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua -- Pius Suter -- Anthony Beauvillier

Nils Hoglander -- Sam Lafferty -- Jack Studnicka

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Ian Cole -- Tyler Myers

Carson Soucy -- Noah Juulsen

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Akito Hirose

Injured: Ilya Mikheyev (knee), Teddy Blueger (lower-body bruise), Guillaume Brisebois (undisclosed)

Flyers projected lineup

Joel Farabee -- Sean Couturier -- Bobby Brink

Owen Tippett -- Morgan Frost -- Cam Atkinson

Scott Laughton -- Noah Cates -- Travis Konecny

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Ryan Poehling -- Garnet Hathaway

Cam York -- Travis Sanheim

Marc Staal -- Sean Walker

Egor Zamula -- Nick Seeler

Carter Hart

Samuel Ersson

Scratched: Felix Sandstrom, Tyson Foerster, Emil Andrae

Injured: Rasmus Ristolainen (undisclosed)

It should be noted that Couturier is not in the lineup tonight.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Time to revive a long-standing tradition here at NM: getting no one at all fired up before the game through my questionable taste in music. Today, we're offering up something new from THE Metal Gods: JUDAS PRIEST. In preparation for their new album 'Invincible Shield', this is the first single: 'Panic Attack'. It has an old school Priest vibe we haven't heard from them in ages and I am SO here for it. It's good to be back with you guys for another season, one that's started off pretty damn fun. Let's see if they can keep this rolling. Go Canucks Go.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (28-32-5) vs DALLAS STARS (37-17-13)

7:00 PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

TV: SN PACIFIC. RADIO: SN650

I'm back. Try to contain your excitement, eh? And as long as we're talking about muted responses, let's talk a bit about the Vancouver Canucks. As with every other dream that involves the Canucks, the hopes that they could somehow stay relevant in the chase to the basement and a legitimate shot at winning the draft lottery and the golden ticket that is Connor Bedard, it's gone.

In a scenario that was both worst case and yet most likely, the Canucks have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, including a season high 4 game winning streak. They're 5-1 since the last times these two teams met 15 days ago, and while the Dallas Stars indeed have a lot to play for, sitting just one point behind Vegas for first place in the Western Conference and home ice advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Canucks are playing for pride and I guess the consistency of being below average? I just don't understand, even after 14 years of covering this team, why they do what they do, and I'm not alone. I would imagine that there are people in the organization that are thankful for the Arizona Coyotes, because there'd likely be more focus on how dysfunctional they are.

Alas, with the dream having died, we may as well strap ourselves in, put on that "this is actually fine, and I enjoy Vancouver Canucks hockey" face we've perfected over the past years, and enjoy some of the good things. I dare say there's not a person out there who could have seen Andrei Kuzmenko having the impact on this team that he's had when the Canucks landed the much-desired KHL free agent this past summer. While we get the whole "he's not an actual rookie" thing, he's hands down the best first year player in the league this season and it's not even close. This is a guy who does nothing but score HUGE goals, every damn night.

We're also getting treated to the emergence of Elias Pettersson into the upper echelon of NHL stars. He's shattered his personal best in goals, assists and points already, and he's done it being an incredibly consistent two way player. Quinn Hughes continues to develop into the kind of rearguard this team's not had for a long time, if ever, and you can't help but be inspired by the way a finally healthy Thatcher Demko has played since his return. Admit it, you were as concerned as we were about how he played before the injury, but he's been stellar since coming back. Sure, there's an argument to be made that this team's record would have been better if they'd gotten better goaltending this season, but it is what it is, and they are what they are.

It's still too early to tell if the Canucks are truly better with Rick Tocchet behind the bench, or if this is just the same new coach bump we saw last season when Bruce Boudreau took over from Travis Green. They have been getting a little better defensively, as we saw in the games against Toronto and Ottawa, and have only allowed more than three goals against once in the last two weeks, in the 5-4 win over... the Dallas Stars. Yes, they're playing some subpar teams the rest of the way, but the improved defensive play is encouraging if it can remain consistent.

LINEUPS

According to nhl.com, this is what we can expect in tonight's tussle:

Stars projected lineup

Jason Robertson -- Roope Hintz -- Joe Pavelski

Jamie Benn -- Wyatt Johnston -- Evgenii Dadonov

Mason Marchment -- Max Domi -- Ty Dellandrea

Joel Kiviranta -- Radek Faksa -- Fredrik Olofsson

Miro Heiskanen -- Colin Miller

Esa Lindell -- Jani Hakanpaa

Ryan Suter -- Joel Hanley

Matt Murray

Jake Oettinger

Scratched: Nils Lundkvist

Injured: Luke Glendening (lower body), Tyler Seguin (lower body), Scott Wedgewood (lower body)

Canucks projected lineup

Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Anthony Beauvillier

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua -- Nils Aman -- Conor Garland

Vitali Kravtsov -- Sheldon Dries -- Vasily Podkolzin

Quinn Hughes -- Noah Juulsen

Guillaume Brisebois -- Tyler Myers

Christian Wolanin -- Kyle Burroughs

Thatcher Demko

Collin Delia

Scratched: Jack Studnicka

Injured: Filip Hronek (upper body), Ethan Bear (face), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ankle), Travis Dermott (undisclosed), Ilya Mikheyev (torn ACL), Tanner Pearson (hand), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed)

It's a little remarkable that the Canucks have managed to put together this run when you look at how many of their regular defencemen are injured, but then again, maybe it's not. Ethan Bear (he with the face injury, according to the nhl dot com) has been practising in a non-contact jersey but should be returning to the lineup soon. Given the chatter about Tocchet expecting more from Brock Boeser of late, a game against Matt Murray seems like just the thing to do it. You probably shouldn't be shocked if Boeser rings up a hatty tonight, is what I'm trying to say.

The Stars have been rolling along well in their own right, though one of their losses in their last 10 came to the Canucks, in that 5-4 OT Canucks win. The Stars have been scoring an average of 4.9 per game over their last 10, so if Demko's not on his A game tonight, it'll be a long one at the Rog.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

We've featured them a couple times earlier this season, and the latest release from ELECTRIC CALLBOY doesn't disappoint. It's stupid, infectiously so, and the perfect theme song for this stupid team going on a stupid run to finish off this stupid season. All aboard!

Western Conference First Round, Game 2

10 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS2, ESPN2, BSSO

Vancouver leads best-of-7 series 1-0

A great third period comeback by the Canucks sets the stage for Game 2

No Demko tonight.....and realistically, for the rest of the playoffs, unless you want him to come back tear something and have surgery.

There is no point is asking why or analyzing it to death....we have to move on and find a way to win.

Game one was a roller coaster of emotions. It was hard for me to get going in the first, even with the loud crowd that showed up. Luckily the players didn't have that problem and both teams looked like they were trying to put the other teams through the boards. I knew Smashville would be ready and it was good to see that the Canucks were able to respond. Not a lot of chances in the first period, as both teams clogged up the middle and shots were from the outside. I'm sure Demko would like that first goal back as he slide a little too far to his right to try and see the shoot through the double screen. The same could be said about Saros and the goal Lindholm got by him. The Canucks at the faceoff dot, dominated and that was one of the reasons Lindholm was brought in. The 5 hits he brought last game were just a bonus.

Game 2 is all about adjustments. 12 seconds of the game were the deciding factor, but there were lots of little issues that the coaches will look at and players will try and execute. The Canucks getting more shots on net on the powerplay (and 5vs5) is a must. I am interested in seeing if both team come out hitting as hard as they did last game. In years past, the Canucks were not as physical and teams could push them around. Having a bigger defense and guys like Joshua and Miller up front, don't make it easy to push anyone around.

We are all hoping that Casey DeSmith is ready to save this team. In his career, Casey is 2-1 with a 2.31 GAA and .920 sv %. I think those numbers are good enough.

We are also waiting for the return of Elias Pettersson. He has been absent for a while now and we hope he appears soon. With 5 points in his last 10 games....I was kinda hoping he could do something in this series.

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Gustav Nyquist

Mark Jankowski -- Colton Sissons -- Jason Zucker

Anthony Beauvillier -- Tommy Novak -- Luke Evangelista

Cole Smith -- Michael McCarron -- Kiefer Sherwood

Ryan McDonagh -- Roman Josi

Jeremy Lauzon -- Alexandre Carrier

Spencer Stastney -- Luke Schenn

Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Scratched: Tyson Barrie, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Cody Glass, Dante Fabbro, Gustavs Grigals

Injured: None

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Sam Lafferty

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Ilya Mikheyev

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Casey DeSmith

Arturs Silovs

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Vasily Podkolzin

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed)

Status report

Demko, Vancouver’s No. 1 goalie, is day to day. … Forsberg did not participate in the morning skate; Predators coach Andrew Brunette said he has a couple of game-time decisions. … Brunette said Monday that Fabbro, a defenseman, and Glass, a forward who took Forberg’s spot in the lineup at the morning skate Tuesday, might get back into the lineup after being scratched for Game 1. - NHL.com

Game Day Battle Hymn

You had to know that once the Canucks clinched a playoff spot, the nostalgia would kick in. And in the case of music, you can't ignore U2's music as the Canucks came on the ice. I couldn't find a good metal version to "Where the streets have no name.", but I did find the next best thing. You need to skip ahead to 1:36 as this song was a hidden track on Disturbed album "Asylum"

Disclaimer - I stole this idea from Kent

Go you big fat hairy Canucks Go!

The Biggest, Best 12 Seconds of Nucks Playoff History!

The Nucks comeback in the 3rd only required 12 seconds. The fastest 2 goals in Nucks playoff history. The loudest roar the ROG has roared since 2011.

And the ROG was really loud to start. 1st ROG playoff game in a long, long 9 seasons. Feels longer. Definitely sounded louder.

Nucks started loud too. Threw 10 hits in 1st 4 minutes. Millsie said after the game: "Didn't need a puck on the ice with so much hitting."

Hehehe. Hittiest LOL

Chicky

Unfortunately for the ROGladites, the Preds opened the scoring. Off a faceoff that Pete was waived out of. Laff had to take the FO and didn't know where to go as the temporary center. Worse, Pete realized Laff had lost his man and moved to cover... but only moved in time to tip the puck past Demmers. Ouch!

Gamethread weren't bothered.

What the actual shytefartcrapballs was that garbage

Chicky.

Demko moving too far to his right

Westy

Although earlier Demmers made a 5-alarm Left-To-Right save off of our old new Beau. The ROG got louder after that key save.

However, the 1st period of a SCP game in 9 years ended without a Nucking goal. And only 4 shot. 1-0 Preds after 1.

below average 1st

Westy

Canucks need to work on their aim over the period break

Twitch

Nucks put almost 15 shots over or near the net.

Doesn't matter.

Because in the 2nd, not even a minute in, Lindy skates in on Sorrows and shoots a knuckler past him. 1-1 tie!

WOOOOO LINDHOLM!!!!

Twitch

ROG is ERUPTING! We're so gonna win!

And then the refs starting taking numbers and making calls. On the 1st PK the Nucks get beat by their old nemesis O'Really. 2-1 Preds.

Since that was working so well for the refs, they called 2 more Nucking penalties. The Nucks PK learned their lesson - oh really? Really. Still 2-1 Preds after 2.

In the 3rd, Nucks get an early PP, which doesn't totally kill their pushback momentum and even better doesn't give up a shortie.

Few minutes later, PDG takes a 'too enthusiastic' tripping call on boards in the O-zone.

Doesn't matter. Demmers isn't allowing any more goals against. The Nucks know that. We know that. Even the ROG knows that. Not the Preds, they had to learn it experientially by sending useless shots at Demko.

Mid-period as the Nucks have adjusted to the Preds stretch passes to forwards... the Nucks are pushing. And screening Sorrow. Huggie puts the puck through traffic and Suter adds a little tip to Sorrows sorrow. BOOM! 2-2 tie. ROG is going wild.

While the ROGerbations were still echoing loudly, the best 3rd line in hockey goes to work. Lindy knocks a big Pred off the puck behind the net, Gnarly sweeps it out front and Josh snaps a wicked shot up top. BAM! 3-2 Nucks!

2 quick goals...holy fuck

Westy

Quickest 2 goals in Nucking playoff history in case you missed that part.

Even better, the role-reversed Preds now have to come out of their defensive shell and try to get all pushy forwardy. Nucks are having none of that. It's lockdown time in the ROG with 10 minutes to go. Lockdown, push down or grind down Preds.

Wooo zadorov...what a huge hit

Twitch

With a few minutes to go Preds empty their net of Sorrow. Which leads to Josh getting his 2nd winning goal of the game!

Josh again!!!!!!

Atty

Nucks finish strong and win. Their 1st SCP ROG win in nearly a decade.

Great comeback...great third period....Great!

Westy

You can't describe the feeling in the ROG, the gamethread, across NucksNation. Pure freakin' playoff joy! And more!

My gosh, we waited for this forever!!!

Atty

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

OBSERVATIONS

Josh is gonna get paid in the off season. Pete might even have to chip in. Especially since Playoff Pete isn't earning his keep so far.

Myers and Zav were the monster D we always dreamed of. Cole and Soucy were pretty good. And Huggie is the best Nucking D we've every watched play.

Playoff ROG is the most amazing hockey ruckus we've witnessed since 2011. Or longer.


PLAYOFF ROG ROCKIN' REEL

For those of us not in the ROG getting hearing impaired, we get to keep Shortie and Dave on the air.... with only HNIC interrupting between periods.


GAME STATS

SHOTS

PREDS Period CANUCKS
6 1st 4
6 2nd 10
10 3rd 7
22 TOTAL 21

PLAYER POINTS

GOALS ASSISTS +/- HITS
LINDHOLM 1 +2 5
GNARLAND 1 +1 0
JOSHUA 2 1 +3 6
SUTER 1 +1 2
BOESER 1 +1 0
MILLER 1 +2 4
HUGHES 2 +2 0
ZADOROV 1 0 5
Saves Shots SV%
DEMKO 20 22 .909


TACO TALK

Welcome to the playoff ROG, Taco: “It was pretty impressive how loud the fans were. Even when we were down 2-1, they didn’t waiver... a key moment... was the penalty killing... This is why we acquired Lindholm... really good 200 foot game."

Watch Taco's 1st ROG playoff presser over at NHL.COM.

Or a version right here on the tube.


To use a subtle playoff game description... WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

What a great ROGing game. The Nucks just kept going, playing better every period. Maybe this is why '82 was asking for this 1st round matchup - he knew the Nucks could handle the Preds better than LA or Knighties. The old reverse matchup psychology thing eh, '82.

While we can keep on being giddy right through Tuesday, the Nucks need to stay focused and get ready to play even better in the 2nd game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

Is this just the beginning?


For the first time since 2015, there's playoff hockey at Rogers Arena. Towel Power is back, as the Canucks open their first round series against the Nashville Predators.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS NASHVILLE PREDATORS

7PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

TV: CBC, SPORTSNET, SPORTSNET 360, ESPN

I'm not saying it's been a long time since there was a home playoff game in Vancouver, but the last time fans bought playoff tickets we probably didn't imagine how bad the next 8 years would be, and apart from a loophole playoff appearance in 2020's bubble Cup, that we'd be missing out for that whole stretch.

It's been hard to be a Canucks fan, but not much harder than the post-2011 era. We've seen some shit. We endured almost a decade of excruciatingly bad management and coaching. We saw the final years of the Sedin Brothers frittered away, and we saw a team that for a while was Must See TV everytime they played turned into You Can't Make Me Watch This. Matt Bartkowski. Luca Sbisa. Jay Beagle. Michael Del Zotto. Loui Eriksson. Adam Gaudette. Markus Granlund. Erik Gudbranson. Olli Juolevi. Jayson Megna. Derrick Pouliot. Antoine Roussel. Tim Schaller. Jack Skille. Jake Virtanen. Like I said, we've seen some shit.

We went from Wizardous Sedinery to whatever the hell the last few years were. And while Jim Benning managed to acquire some of the core, it was what's happened since he was replaced by Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin. And even then, as they began to retool around this team's stars, it took another coaching change for everything to fall into place for the Canucks.

We'd love to tell you that we saw this coming. And we did get a hint that the dark days were coming to an end when Rick Tocchet took over behind the bench. But there's not a soul alive that had the Canucks not just making the playoffs, but being in the hunt for the Presidents' Trophy until the final days of the season. There's been lots of talk about the Canucks' high PDO, that so much of their success is based on luck. That's pretty insulting when you look at the way Tocchet and his coaching staff transformed this team, getting the entire roster to buy in on playing 200 ft hockey every night, and being accountable for every shift. I mean, he's turned Tyler Myers into a reliable NHL defenceman!

Sure, there's definite room for improvement, and this could all end in a few days, but there's an actual path to the Western Conference Finals here. Get out of the first round and amazing things can happen. Look at the 1982 run, where the Canucks, proud owners of a 77 point season, lost just two games in three rounds, knocking off Calgary, Los Angeles and Chicago before getting steamrolled by that juggernaut New York Islanders squad. It all starts with one win, and then anything can happen.

It's been said that as far as first round opponents go, this is the matchup that the Canucks should want. And there's some truth to that, given how these teams matched up this season. The Canucks swept the season series, outscoring Nashville 13-6. And while that came in the first half of the season, before the Preds went on their ridiculous tear, they've still struggled against contenders at times. At the end of the day, when you match these teams up on offence and goaltending, the Canucks have the edge, and should be able to advance to round two. We all remember the emergence of Thatcher Demko in the bubble playoffs, when he damn near stole the series from Vegas. Demko's been amazing this year, and eager to help lead the Canucks to victory.

What's going to get it done is a continuation of the team's mindset on defence. They've done a massive turnaround in terms of how much harder they are to generate offence against compared to the past few seasons, and do a fantastic job on breakouts when they win battles for loose pucks. They're much more physical than previous versions of the team, and in the past you'd think they'd struggle against a team like Nashville, but this season the Canucks showed physically they can go toe to toe with anyone.

What has to get better is secondary scoring. It was rolling early in the season, but dried up for long stretches. If we can get guys like Ilya Mikheyev, Elias Lindholm, Teddy Blueger and Sam Lafferty pitching in and taking a bit of the load off Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes. And hey, the trend of getting more scoring from the back end was a pleasant surprise this season, and will definitely help them if they want to advance.

It will be interesting to see how Tocchet handles that top Nashville line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan O'Reilly and Gustav Nyqvist. They could throw the Miller/Boeser/Suter line, or go with Lindholm, Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland.

They'll also need the once terrifying power play to become a threat again. It's fallen off badly, but if they can just simplify things and get back to what was working, it'll be a deterrent the way it was earlier in the year.

LINEUPS

It is my pleasure to let you know that these potential Game One lineups are according to the ol' nhl dot com thingy:

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Gustav Nyquist

Mark Jankowski -- Colton Sissons -- Jason Zucker

Anthony Beauvillier -- Tommy Novak -- Luke Evangelista

Cole Smith -- Michael McCarron -- Kiefer Sherwood

Ryan McDonagh -- Roman Josi

Jeremy Lauzon -- Alexandre Carrier

Spencer Stastney -- Luke Schenn

Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Scratched: Tyson Barrie, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Cody Glass, Dante Fabbro, Gustavs Grigals

Injured: None

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Sam Lafferty

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Ilya Mikheyev

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Vasily Podkolzin, Arturs Silovs

Injured: None

Both teams head into this series 'healthy', and with no shocking lineup moves. It is a little surprising that PDG is in over Podkolzin, but unless he lights it up, expect that to change as the series goes on. Other than that, the lines are pretty much the same as the past few contests for the Canucks.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

We've been waiting so damn long for this, it's time to get loud, friends! Let's crank up some of Ireland's finest and make sure you've got the beverages chilled. Playoff hockey is back, so Shut Up and Shout!

We're stoked to have been able to spend this season actually enjoying Canucks hockey again, as well as playoffs on Rogers Arena ice. Here's to a long run, and bringing 54 years of heartbreak and frustration to a close. Enjoy the game everyone! Go Canucks Go!

Well here we are...the postseason...the second season...the promised land

And to all of our surprise....here come your Vancouver Canucks! There were 4 of us at the start of the year who did not believe this team was playoff capable and questioned how long this team could stay competitive. Hell, I wondered if Petey would even be around by the tradeline. Instead, now we are talking about how far we think this team can go.

Before we start dreaming about the Canucks playing in what Francesco calls "The Money Round!", let's look at the other series that are there to watch on off nights.

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals

Game 1: Capitals at Rangers -- Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, TVAS, MSG, MNMT)
Game 2: Capitals at Rangers -- April 23, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNW)
Game 3: Rangers at Capitals -- April 26, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, truTV, MAX, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Rangers at Capitals -- April 28, 8 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN360, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP)
Game 5: Capitals at Rangers -- May 1, TBD
Game 6: Rangers at Capitals -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Capitals at Rangers -- May 5, TBD

Westy: Start spreading the news...Messier sucks...nevermind. The Caps snuck into the playoffs in their last game and get the pleasure of playing the best team in the East. This might be a bad thing for Ovie, as the teams split the season 2-2, with the home team winning every game. Playoff hockey is all about the special teams, which the Rangers have. You could also go with the theory that the hot team has the advantage going into the playoffs....Rangers again. Or you could just go with the better team.....Rangers in 5.

jimmi: In all the excitement, drama and inflated expectations of the West being the Best, I may haven forgotten the Best of the West still has to play the leftovers from the east. It's not fair! Actually, I'd be just fine if the NHL was actually two distinct leagues - the WnHL and the EnHL. And met once every 4 to 10 years for some sort of hockey summit thingie. But, again, the NHL doesn't care about my preferences. So... Caps aren't last year's Panthers, no upset prediction. Rags in 5.

Kent- At first glance, you'd think that the Capitals would be hard-pressed to even win a game in this one. Of the 16 teams that qualified for the dance this year, the Caps are by and large the worst of the bunch, and it would be reasonable to expect the team in first to have no problem here. The thing is, the Rangers are giving off real 2023 Boston Bruins vibes. That's not to suggest that the Caps are this year's Florida Panthers, but a) this is not going to be the cake walk everyone thinks it is, and b) the Rangers won't get much further. Rangers in 7.

Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Game 1: Lightning at Panthers -- Sunday - Panters Win 3-2
Game 2: Lightning at Panthers -- April 23, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Panthers at Lightning -- April 25, 7 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Panthers at Lightning -- April 27, 5 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, TVAS, SNE, SNW, SNP)
Game 5: Lightning at Panthers -- April 29, TBD
Game 6: Panthers at Lightning -- May 1, TBD
Game 7: Lightning at Panthers -- May 4, TBD

Westy - The Battle of Florida should be entertaining. Unlike last year, the Panthers didn't slink their way into the playoffs, while the aging Lightning played just good enough to get into the dance again. The Panthers had the 2-1 advantage in the season series and while the Lightning won the last meeting, I don't think the Lightning have a real chance against the Cats. The Tkachuk-Hubradeau trade looks more lopsided every day. I predict lots of goals and Panthers in 6.

jimmi: Again, I'm just not interested in Floridian hockey - and neither will our great grandchildren. One upside to global warming at least. Despise both teams equally. The Covid-Cuppers and Lu's SoBeach team of pastel flipflop wearing sun-stained hockey players. Ugh. With that distaste fresh in my thoughts, picking the Bolts in 7.

Kent- Pay no mind to Jimmi, as we've learned over the years he cares not a squirt for fun things. This series is going to be an absolute war. Both teams are loaded with offensive talent, strong defence, excellent goaltending and most of all, some thoroughly unlikable players on both sides. While we're going to get treated to some amazing playoff hockey, the team that emerges from this one isn't going to have much left for the second round and beyond. I do believe that Tampa's window is continuing to close, though, and it could be an interesting summer. Panthers in 7.

Boston Boouurrns vs Toronto Maple Laughs

Game 1: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- Saturday 8 p.m. 5-1 Boourns Win
Game 2: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- April 22, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 3: Bruins at Maple Leafs -- April 24, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Game 4: Bruins at Maple Leafs -- April 27, 8 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Game 5: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Bruins at Maple Leafs -- May 2, TBD
Game 7: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- May 4, TBD

Westy - This yearly event must brings night sweats to Leaf fans. The Bruins had their own nightmare last year after winning the President's Trophy and getting knocked out in the first round. This should be a "good" series between two teams that I hope lose. Like always, if the Bruins can stop Matthews, they can win the series...sounds simple. Boston swept the season series, and I think the have the system to get rid of the COTU. Bruins in 6

jimmi: It just keeps getting more disgusting. I predict I won't loathe Porn-Stache's team any less if they win, nor detest the Ratchand's last swipe at the CoTU, but the later team is more likely to 'advance' only to be eliminated in the 2nd round. So... Boooins in 7... despite the Laffs leading 6-0 in the 3rd period of that fateful game.

Kent- Remember back to the last time we were actually excited about this team, and the Canucks had to go up against the Chicago Blackhawks for a third time? The dragon was slain, and we got to witness a pretty amazing playoff run. I'm not saying that the Leafs are destined for greatness, as they're still in need of better goaltending and have bottom of the roster gaps that need to be filled. They are however, playing against a Boston team that isn't quite the same as the one that has haunted them three times previous. It won't be easy, but much like the Canucks in 2011, they'll finally slay their dragon and move forward. Leafs in 7.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

Game 1: Islanders at Hurricanes -- Saturday - Canes Win 3-1
Game 2: Islanders at Hurricanes -- April 22, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Hurricanes at Islanders -- April 25, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Hurricanes at Islanders -- April 27, 2 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 5: Islanders at Hurricanes -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Hurricanes at Islanders -- May 2, TBD
Game 7: Islanders at Hurricanes -- May 4, TBD

Westy - Bo is 2 for 2 when it comes to getting into the playoffs. Unfortunately, his team will also get knocked out early for the 2nd year in a row. The Islanders were 2-2 against the Canes, but Freddy Andersen is back and Brind Amour will have that neutral zone trap ready to bore the fans to death and beat down Barzal and Bo. Canes in 5

jimmi: Another pair of teams in the east that I neither care about or follow. Sure, have some sentimental Bo feelings and some unfulfilled Guentzelling to deal with - really PA? Did you even try? Sure does look like the Canes in 6 from the disgruntled outside.

Kent- Carolina's the team to beat in the East, and while they're not without their weaknesses, Rod Brind'Amour's squad are built for the post-season. They're up against an Islanders squad that had to grind to get into the playoffs, and while they're not going to be swept, they're no match for the Bunch of Jerks. Canes in 5.

Winnipeg Jets vs Colorado Avalanche

Game 1: Avalanche at Jets -- Sunday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, TVAS)
Game 2: Avalanche at Jets -- April 23, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 3: Jets at Avalanche -- April 26, 10 p.m. ET (TNT, truTV, MAX, CBC, TVAS)
Game 4: Jets at Avalanche -- April 28, 2:30 p.m. ET (TNT, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 5: Avalanche at Jets -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Jets at Avalanche -- May 2, TBD
Game 7: Avalanche at Jets -- May 4, TBD

Westy - On paper, this might be a great series....of course on paper the Avs might also be overmatched. The Jets dominated the Avs this year, going 3-0 with a combined score of 17-4. Both teams are fast, but Winnipeg is a team that will finish all their checks and may even start some before they finish the first one. What I like about this series is one great team is going home. Having the best goalie in the league (sorry Canuck fans) gives Winnipeg a distinct advantage. Jets in 6

jimmi: Well... finally we make it to the interesting part of the playoffs. Agree with Westy, whoever wins means one less good team to worry about. I no longer have any affiliation with the Avs - didn't before, but pretending to sound like it makes internet rumours so much fun. Besides, the Avs already got their 21st century Cup. Bastards! Have to go with Chicky's 2nd fav team, Jets in 7.

Kent- After the Canucks, the Jets were one of the surprises in the NHL this season. They're pretty similar, apart from a stingier defence, and have a goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck who seems like he was born for a long Stanley Cup run. It's a shame that they're going to have to go up against the Colorado Avalanche, just two years past their Cup win and still very much a threat. As good as the Jets are on defence, I can see Nathan MacKinnon feasting on them. Avalanche in 6.

Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: Kings at Oilers -- April 22, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 2: Kings at Oilers -- April 24, 10 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Game 3: Oilers at Kings -- April 26, 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Oilers at Kings -- April 28, 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, SN1, TVAS)
Game 5: Kings at Oilers -- May 1, TBD
Game 6: Oilers at Kings -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Kings at Oilers -- May 5, TBD

Westy - I approve of this series. If there is a team that can play a stifling type of playoff defense that could frustrate McDavid, it's LA. Now having said that, the Oilers have a lot of weapons at their disposal besides McDavid. The Oilers have a top 5 PP and the Kings have the #2 PK. I believe the goaltending edge goes to the Kings. I usually don't watch other teams, but this series might make me go back after the Nucks game and take a peek. I am wishing for a Kings victory, but cold hard stats point at the Oilers moving on. Oilers in 6

jimmi: Finally. I get to disagree with Westy. Again. There's no fun in watching either of these teams play. Not the LA 'no hockey' form of hockey, nor the cyber-McD-legs darting here are there around/through the stifling one-three-one. I'm not wishing for a victory for either team. Just a tough series that wears down the winning team. Which is the Oil in 7.

Kent- Forget what the regular season told us about Los Angeles: they might be the biggest frauds of the sweet 16 this year. And while I'm not entirely sold on the Oilers turn-around with new Head Coach Chris Knoblauch, the Kings don't have what it takes to stop McDavid, Draisaitl and company. Oilers in 5.

Dallas Stars vs Lost Vegas Gollum Knights

Game 1: Golden Knights at Stars -- April 22, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN360, TVAS, FX)
Game 2: Golden Knights at Stars -- April 24, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Stars at Golden Knights -- April 27, 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Stars at Golden Knights -- April 29, TBD
Game 5: Golden Knights at Stars -- May 1, TBD
Game 6: Stars at Golden Knights -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Golden Knights at Stars -- May 5, TBD

Westy - Does anyone else feel that Vegas has done something dirty and wanted this matchup? Will anyone be surprised when Mark Stone strolls out of the dressing room for game 1? The Stars did a lot of good things to get #1 overall in the Western conference only to face a Vegas team that beat them 3 times this year. While I pointed to stats to predict a winner in the Edm/LA series, I am going the opposite with this series. The stats lie. Vegas always finds a way into the playoffs, even when they play mediocre like this year, and then they are able to hit playoff mode and win. And when Vegas beats Dallas, they will face a team in Col or Winn, who they also have a winning record against. Cheaters. Vegas in 5

jimmi: Sorry, Westy, it's not cheating when you're the house. The house that bribed its way past the cost accountants in Gary's employ and bent the 'rules' for a new franchise. Iron Spleen Stone will return in game 2, to portray a semi-miraculous recovery narrative - one as true and tall as the Eiffel Tower - of Vegas. Doesn't matter. I predict that hockey karma - which is like a Hindu Hockey Gawd story - will see the Nighties getting beaten by not just the Stars, but their own sleazy hubris. Stars in 6.

Kent- It can take a while, but bastards always get what's coming to them. And Uncle Gary's Little Darlings and the NHL's most obnoxious fan base are going to know what actual playoff misery is like this year as they get exposed by a very good Dallas squad. It's gonna be tough to knock off the Stars as they start their quest for a second Cup, but they won't have to worry much about the defending champs. Stars in 6.

Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators

Game 1: Predators at Canucks -- Sunday, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 2: Predators at Canucks -- April 23, 10 p.m. ET ( ESPN2, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Canucks at Predators -- April 26, 7:30 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Canucks at Predators -- April 28, 5 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 5: Predators at Canucks -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Canucks at Predators -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Predators at Canucks -- May 5, TBD

Westy - I asked for this series. I liked Vancouver's chances against a Preds team that they beat every time this year. i like playing against a team that has worse special teams numbers than the Nucks. I like playing against a team that went 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. And I like the fact that there is no shootout in playoff. I don't like playing against a Preds team that hits anything and everything on the ice, especially if the refs lose their whistles. I don't like playing against guys Forsberg, Josi and O'Reilly in the playoffs. I don't like playing in Nashville. I don't like whatever refs they assign to this series. Since I asked for this series, I guess I better be optimistic about our chances. Canucks in 6

jimmi: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Also WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The outcome of this series is uncertain, but WOOOOOOOOOOO! We're in a playoff series!!! Sure, I would have preferred Nucks meet and beat the Yotes in the Mullet. In a SCP series. Just to rub a little sand in Gary's 28 year money-losing desert fever dream. However, I'm happy to watch the Nucks play in any SCP game in the ROG. It's been so long, I don't even recall what SCP stands for, except something something about owner profits. And it's about time our poor down-trodden billionaire owner recoups some of his lost ego-strokes. With that vital priority in mind, Nucks in 7 with an extra home game to feed the NHL greed machine's furthest outpost. And to give NM Playoff gamethreaders the anxiety boost they have longed for since 2012... 2011.

(Disclaimer: Prefer the Nucks sweep the Preds, but that denies extra profit - and Franny has to cover that extra $92M on the books)

Kent- As fun as it was to have that little jaunt in the bubble back in 2020, I don't feel like that counted. It's been 9 years since the Canucks hosted a playoff game in Rogers Arena, and it's a fine reward for a team that is the biggest surprise in the NHL this season, as well as a fan base that was patient through years of utterly inept management and coaching. They're up against a team that looked like they were destined for lottery pick a couple months ago: the Nashville Predators. And while it's hard not to be impressed with the run Nashville had, they did it against mostly teams who aren't in the playoffs, struggling against true contenders. It's not that they're bad, but they're more like their overall record than the way they played in the final two months of the regular season. After getting a taste in 2020, JT, Brock, Demko, Petey and Huggy Bear get to show this management team that keeping the core together and giving them a better supporting cast was the right thing to do. This team plays much like their Head Coach Rick Tocchet did back in his prime, and while it's a legit surprise they're here, it's time to show the doubters this team is actually good. Canucks in 5.

Let us know what you think about these series! Don't you dare pick the fucking Preds to win.

WE MADE IT! 82 GAMES LATER AND WE'RE GONNA BE PLAYING FOR REALS!

What an amazing journey this season has been. Unbelievable start. Believable post ASB dip. And here we are with a loss and we just don't care. And we not care in the best, most caring way.

It wasn't the best place to finish the season. Perhaps not even the best place to play mid-season. Doesn't matter.

What matters is some Nucks got some extra rest. Some NM gamethreaders got some rest.

And for the lucky Nucks who played in the Peg, the most important thing, was to NOT get injured. Win or Lose, not getting hurt is the biggest win.

Nucks opened the scoring in the 1st, with Gnarly's 20th goal of the season.

Garland gets his goal!

Westy

Nucks lead 1-0 for almost 6 minutes. And the 1st ends in a 1-1 tie.

In the 2nd, Winni takes the commanding 2-1 lead. Until... it's a last regular game miracle!

Yes, it's a Nucks PP goal! Even better, Lindy tips a Huggie shot for the commanding 2-2 tie.

WOOOO the rare PP goal! Lindholm with the tip!

Twitch

In the 3rd, the home team broke the tie and led 3-2 until the final minutes when the Nucks put on some extra pressure and the Jets got an extra goal into the vacant net.

It feels good when we are losing and I am happy.
I am used to the last game being the most meaningless. We did that for the past 10 years..

Atty

4-2 Jets in game 82.

OBSERVATIONS

Keen observation.

Back before the start of the year, I wrote an article about the Canucks record against the East and how they needed to get more points from those games to get into the playoffs. They were 10-20-2.

This year's Canucks team was the Western team with the best record against the East, going 21-7-4.

A 26 point improvement.

Westy

Another keen Pete observation.

So, Petey playing today is the proof that he is not hurt.

Atty

Capt'n Huggie finishes the regular with 92 points and a plus +38. He's pretty good at this hockey thing.

Nucks PK got lots of practice. The good kind. Went 100% on 8 minutes of stingy practice fun. Nucks have 14 consecutive successful PKs to finish the season. Will there even be that many calls in the 1st round? Stay tuned, because the Nucks have So Many Men!


LAST REGULAR HIGHLIGHTS

Shortie on the road. His last road game of the month? Hope not.


GAME STATS

SHOTS

CANUCKS Period JETS
9 1st 8
6 2nd 8
5 3rd 10
20 TOTAL 26

PLAYER POINTS

GOALS ASSISTS +/-
GNARLAND 1 1 -1
LINDHOLM 1 0
HUGHES 1 -1
Saves Shots SV%
DEMKO 22 25 .880


TACO TALK

"Not bad... couple mistakes in the 3rd...gotta move on... the big prize now is playing on Sunday... 'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be a fun time for the guys. I want them to enjoy it. We've got some work to do the next two or three days to prepare, and it's going to be exciting." - Coach Taco

Watch Taco's last regular road presser at NHL.COM.


7pm Pacific, Sunday. It's game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Canucks! For us! Wooo!

How Far, Deep and Wide Can The Nucks Go?

CANUCKS (50-22-9) at JETS (51-24-6)

8 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNP, TSN3

And another huh...what moment to the schedule makers as the Canucks finish their season in Winnipeg against a non-division team. Not sure what type of game we will get tonight, as both teams are set in their playoff position and neither really wants to risk injuries before the playoff start. The Jets get home ice against Colorado and the Canucks found out they get they get Nashville last night. My preference has always been playing Nashville first, not because the Preds are a bad team, but because I don't think the Canucks could beat the Kings or Golden Knights in a 1st round series. If the Canucks can beat Nashville, and get some confidence, then all bets are off.

Look at me...writing about playoffs. Who would have thought that last April? The changes made after Jan this year, have changed the course of this franchise. the moves by management have been pretty good and look what happens when you have a coaching staff that coaches. The players want to be better and bought into a system of responsibility. It has been great to see this team create a new identity and battle through injuries to win a division title.

It took 81 games to get a game where there is less pressure to perform, but there are still some individuals who have something to play for. Dakota Joshua has 18 goals and will be a UFA next year. A 20 goal season may add a couple hundred-thousand dollars to his next contract. Starting the year as someone who supposedly wanted out, Conor Garland only needs one goal to hit the 20-goal plateau. Filip Hronek only needs 2 points to reach 50. (Won't get a chance) Petey needs a point to hit 90 for the year. Suter, Bluegar and Myers are all close to 30 points. Hogs needs one more goal for 25. I would love to see Podz get a goal before the playoffs...especially after re-signing today. With all the players sitting for Winnipeg, some of these might be achievable.

CANUCKS (50-22-9) at JETS (51-24-6)

8 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNP, TSN3

Canucks projected lineup

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Vasily Podkolzin -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Pius Suter -- Nils Aman -- Phillip Di Giuseppe

Quinn Hughes -- Noah Juulsen

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Mark Friedman

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Ian Cole, Filip Hronek

Injured: None

Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Sean Monahan -- Tyler Toffoli

Alex Iafallo -- Brad Lambert -- Gabriel Vilardi

Nino Niederreiter -- David Gustafsson -- Nikita Chibrikov

Cole Perfetti -- Rasmus Kupari -- Mason Appleton

Nate Schmidt -- Dylan DeMelo

Dylan Samberg -- Neal Pionk

Logan Stanley -- Colin Miller

Laurent Brossoit

Collin Delia

Scratched: Parker Ford, Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, Morgan Barron, Vladislav Namestnikov, Josh Morrissey, Brenden Dillon, Connor Hellebuyck

Injured: None

Status report

Boeser, a forward, and J.T. Miller, a center, will not play due to maintenance. ... Forwards Aman and Di Giuseppe enter the lineup. … Defensemen Juulsen and Friedman will play in place of Hronek and Cole. … Demko will make his second straight start after missing 14 games with a knee injury. ... The Jets recalled forwards Nikita Chibrikov, Parker Ford, and Brad Lambert and goalie Collin Delia from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Thursday; Chibrikov and Lambert each will make his NHL debut and Delia will back up Brossoit. ... Winnipeg will rest several players, including centers Scheifele, Lowry and Namestnikov, forwards Connor and Barron, defensemen Morrissey and Dillon and goalie Hellebuyck. ... Schmidt and Colin Miller enter the lineup.

Game Day Battle Hymn

I feel bad that the Canucks have to go to Winnipeg for their last game. I mean...it's Winnipeg. So I find it only fitting that to have this song to end the season.

We are off to the playoffs everyone!!

Go Canucks Go!

Demmmers back and stopping all the shots, but one.

SO MUCH WINNNING!

Tonight the Nucks clinched the division with their 50th win of the season. Only 3rd time in all Nucking history to achieve that win total. 2nd best home record in Nucks history.

For most of the game, Nucks played like the team that will still be playing next week.

And Demko is back and playing like Demko!

To start, it's the Nucks on the PK. Myers is breaking gamethread minds and Marky too!

Tyler Myers scores on the PK....BIZARRO WORLD

Westy

WOOO MYSIE SHORTY!!!

Twitch

1-0 Nucks. For about a minute. Pete and Miki get into the Marky zone. Miki passes to Pete, Pete to Hoagie. Hoagie passes past Marky. 2-0 Nucks after 1.

Early in the 2nd, the Nucks are getting Flamed a bit in their own end. Myers clears to Gnarly who passes to Josh who goes up ice with Lindy on a 2-on-1. Josh shoots - blocker side on Marky - and scores. 3-0 Nucks after 2.

Things got a bit 'playoffy atmos' mid 2nd as Hoagie crosschecked/shoved Pachal in the chest. Pachal snapped his head back in response. A scrum erupted in front of the benches, including a skirmish between 5-foot-something Gnarly and Cowtown’s Klapka, listed as 6-foot-8.

Conor Garland will single-handedly fight all of the Flames

Westy
Gnarly with the takedown.

Hoagie was assigned a 5 minute major for a crosscheck to the head. On review, reduced to a 2 minute crossing check to the chest. Both got 10 minute majors, so line blending carried on into the 3rd.

In the 3rd with the game out of reach with safest lead in hockey assured, Nucks sat back a bit. And worse, got a PP than almost turned into a few shorties against- but for Demmers. Mid-period when we might have been thinking how cool it would be for Demmers to get the SO, a screened shot made it past him.

No worries. As Suter steals the puck off a hapless Flamer at the Flaming blueline. Millsie skates in on Marky and blasts a blocker-side shot past Marky.

Always on the blocker side

Atty

NUCKS WIN 4-1!

Pacific Division Champs, your Vancouver Canucks!

BEST CHIRP OF THE GAME

Ronnie chirped the Flames bench with this: "You'll be on holidays in 2 days... feel sorry for you." Zing.

FAN PICKS ON FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT IN THE ROG

Every home win this season was appreciated by fans. And the results of the Team Awards were announced.

J.T. Miller: Cyclone Taylor Trophy – “Most Valuable Player”

For the first time in his career, J.T. Miller was awarded the Cyclone Taylor Trophy as the team’s Most Valuable Player. Miller has had a career-year this season, setting a new career-high with 36 goals and 102 points going into the team’s game on April 16. Heading into tonight’s game, Miller is tied for the seventh-most points in a single season by a Vancouver Canuck. 

Miller was also one of six players to represent the Canucks at the 2024 All-Star Game in Toronto, ON. It was the first All-Star appearance of his career. In Toronto, he was voted by fans to take part in the NHL All-Star Skills, competing alongside teammates Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. 

Quinn Hughes: Walter (Babe) Pratt Trophy – “Best Defenceman”

For the fifth season in a row, Quinn Hughes has been voted the winner of the Walter (Babe) Pratt Trophy as the team’s Best Defenceman. He extends his club record for the most consecutive award wins. He is also the first defenceman to win the award five times, surpassing Harold Snepsts, Jyrki Lumme, and Mattias Ohlund, each of whom had four wins.

Hughes has had another record-breaking season in 2023.24. He’s set franchise records with 74 assists and 91 points through April 15. He also set new personal career-highs for goals in a season (17) and games played (80) ahead of Tuesday’s game. This season, Hughes played in his 300th career game and recorded his 300th career point, and entering Tuesday’s game, he leads all NHL defenceman in points. At the NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, Quinn was one of the first 32 players named and was captain of a team alongside celebrity co-captain, Michael Bublé.

J.T. Miller: Pavel Bure Award – “Most Exciting Player” & Leading Scorer*

In addition to the Cyclone Taylor Trophy, J.T. Miller has been voted the winner of the Pavel Bure Award as the team’s Most Exciting Player. This is the second Pavel Bure Award win for Miller, having also been voted as the Most Exciting Player during the 2021.22 season.

Aided by 28 multi-point games this season, tops amongst Canucks skaters, including 12 games with three or more points and two games with four points, Miller is poised to win the Cyrus H. McLean Trophy as the team’s leading scorer. It will officially be announced upon the conclusion of the regular season.

Dakota Joshua: Fred J. Hume Award – “Unsung Hero”

For the second consecutive year, Dakota Joshua has been voted the winner of the Fred J. Hume Award as the team’s Unsung Hero. Joshua has set career-highs across the board this season, with his 17 goals, 14 assists, and 31 points all being new personal highs. His 235 hits through 61 games are also a career-high and rank t-13th in the NHL. Joshua recorded his first-career three-point game on February 13/24 at Chicago, a game in which he also recorded the first Gordie Howe Hat Trick of his career.

Elias Pettersson: Three Stars Award*

With 18 three stars selections this season, including 10 first-star nominations, Elias Pettersson is set to win the Three Stars Award for the second-consecutive season. Pettersson has had another successful season in 2023.24, becoming the first player from the 2017 draft class with three 30 goal seasons, as well as topping 80 points for the second straight season. He also leads all Canucks players with three games of four or more points.

Quinn Hughes: Daniel and Henrik Sedin Award – “Community Leadership”

For the 2023.24 season, Quinn Hughes was named the winner of the Daniel and Henrik Sedin Award for Community Leadership. Following a summer that devasted many parts of the province, Hughes visited West Kelowna the week he was named captain in September to demonstrate support for firefighters and the community. He followed that up with the creation of the Canucks first Firefighters Night in December where he hosted the West Kelowna Fire Department. Hughes also launched “Team 43” this season, a program that sees him donate four tickets to every home game to first responders in B.C., as an ode to his grandfather, who was a New York City firefighter for over 30 years.

Note: *Will be officially awarded upon the conclusion of the regular season

From: https://www.nhl.com/canucks/news/announcing-the-2023-24-vancouver-canucks-team-awards-winners


LAST ROG REGULAR HIGHLIGHTS

Enjoying Shortie and Dave while we can. Much better than HNIC homer tsunami heading our way next week.


GAME STATS

SHOTS

fLames Period CANUCKS
9 1st 12
15 2nd 10
16 3rd 9
40 TOTAL 31

PLAYER POINTS

GOALS ASSISTS +/-
HOGLANDER 1 +1
MILLER 1 +1
JOSHUA 1 +1
GNARLAND 1 +1
LINDHOLM 1 +1
SUTER 1 +1
PETTERSSON 1 +1
BLUEGER 1 +1
MYERS 1 1 +2
Saves Shots SV%
DEMKO 39 40 .975


TACO TALK

"I think they’re ready for the next part of this journey.” - Coach Taco

Watch Taco - Jack Adams runaway leader, crest the season at NHL.COM


Last home game of the season. But not the last home game of the year. Wooooooooo!

As soon as next Sunday - playoffs starting date still TBD - the Nucks will be playing in the ROG. In the POST-SEASON! First time in nearly a decade.

But who will they be playing? Depends. The likely scenario will depend on Dallas. If they get a point vs Blues, then Nucks will play Preds for sure.

UPDATE: Starskis got 2 points and Nuck will meet the Preds in Round One.

The turnaround from last season's team to this one, is one for the record books. Might be a bigger turn around than the '73-74 to '74-'75 season.

How impressed have you been with this new Management/Coaching/Roster change this season?


With the Division title in their grasp, and a chance at the Conference crown, the Canucks finish their home schedule against the Flames with a healthy Thatcher Demko in the crease tonight.

Vancouver Canucks (49-22-9) vs. Calgary Flames  (37-38-5)

7pm PDT; 10 p.m. ET

TV: Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet West

Radio: Sportsnet 650

50 wins. Wrap your heads around that one for a moment. Every single point gained of late has been an extra cherry on top of the sundae that has been this unexpected season. To get to 50 wins for just the third time in franchise history is beyond amazing. And while there's still a lot to be decided, it's hard to get mad at any missteps these guys make given the past few seasons of misery.

Now that's not to say they should get ahead of themselves. It's still possible for the Oilers to overtake them in Game 82 should the Canucks lose both games in regulation. Winning out could see them possibly snagging the top spot in the Western Conference, which is great for home ice in the first three rounds, but has you facing Vegas or LA in Round One instead of the preferable Nashville Predators. Not that the Preds are a pushover, they've had a hell of a turn around. But if the Canucks want to get on a roll, this is the best path for them, and letting Dallas and Edmonton deal with the other two doesn't hurt, either.

Tonight they'll meet a Calgary Flames team that once again failed to meet expectations, and wasted another year of prime Jacob Markstrom in the process. Getting Thatcher Demko back, healthy and rested for the playoffs should alleviate some of the fears y'all have been feeling heading into the post-season, and a fairly healthy team to start the playoffs is all we could hope for, really.

An OT loss tonight will clinch things for the Canucks, as they have the tiebreaker over the Oilers, and it'll help ensure they get that first round date with the Preds, too. I know we're not used to things going the Canucks way, but the Rutherford/Allvin/Tocchet era just doesn't do past narratives, I guess.

LINEUPS

Scrawled on a dumpster beside the Costco across the street from Rogers Arena, this lineup may also have appeared on the nhl dot com thingy...

Flames projected lineup

Martin Pospisil -- Nazem Kadri -- Andrei Kuzmenko

Yegor Sharangovich -- Mikael Backlund -- Andrew Mangiapane

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Connor Zary -- Dryden Hunt

Matt Coronato -- Kevin Rooney -- Adam Klapka

MacKenzie Weegar -- Daniil Miromanov

Oliver Kylington -- Rasmus Andersson

Ilya Solovyov -- Brayden Pachal

Jacob Markstrom

Dustin Wolf

Scratched: A.J. Greer, Dennis Gilbert, Walker Duehr, Nikita Okhotiuk

Injured: Blake Coleman (upper body), Joel Hanley (undisclosed)

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Vasily Podkolzin -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Phillip Di Giuseppe

Injured: None

No real changes for the Canucks apart from the return of Demko, and man is it nice to see that injured list empty heading into Game One next week. Markstrom will go for the Flames, as we get to see Andrei Kuzmenko one last time this season. If the Canucks check him the way they handled Leon Draisaitl Saturday night, it's gonna be a long one for the Flames.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Although I'm sure you don't need much to get your pulse racing right now, this 3:00 ripper from BAT will get you rarin' to go for the post season! Off their new album 'Under The Crooked Claw' on Nuclear Blast Records, this is 'Streetbanger'!

Enjoy the game, folks! Go Canucks Go!

THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON, WON! NUCKS SWEEP SEASON WITH OIL

You may have noticed some trepidation going into this game. Oil have been stupid hot. Nucks have been smartly warm. However pre-game, a trade was made. Or a trade-off. McD wouldn't play. And neither would Demko.

Seemed like a good trade with the division bragging rights on the line.

In the first, Oil put shot after shot on net, so many shots.

Yayyyy desmith stopped the first shot! Been a while since we could say that...

Shot count not looking great... 9-3 oilers 12 minutes in.

Twitch

The freshly goalie-whispered-up backup DeStopped them all.

Even better... Lafferty gets the 1st goal of the game with mere seconds left. 1-0 Nucks after 1.

In the 2nd, the grindy grind game continues with the Nucks keeping the lead with their grindiness. Grind the Oil off the scoreboard, at least until Myers sets up the GWG.

WOOOO SUTER WITH A TIP! Drama-ryan singh to busy fellating the oilers didn't even notice it lol.

Twitch

Suter gets the goal! The GWG! The long, long goal drought is over. Only one other 48 game goal drought to rinse off with a flood of goals.

In their late 2nd shift, Ronnie blows a clear and Huggie misses Abel or Kane - one of those biblical loudmouths - in front of the net and the Oil are on the board.

2-1 Nucks after 2.

The shutdown continues. Taco Tough grindy grindy style holds the Oil to no goals. Lindy kept DryingSaddle off the board - all game. Lindy Shutdown is in town.

In the last few minutes, with the Oil net empty, Oil are pressing, but the best (3rd) shutdown line in hockey combines for a strong rush against the empty net. And score another GWG. Even better, it's a WMG (Win Maintaining Goal).

WOOOO JOSHIE WITH THE ENG! Fuck you mcdavidites.

Twitch

YEAH BABY!

Good job guys holding the fort!

Atty

OBSERVATIONS

Since McD has no points, guess it was fair that Pete had no goals, no assists, no shots. Saving Playoff Pete for later?

Nucks need a single point to clinch the division. According to NHL math that I never took the course on. If the playoffs started tomorrow, Nucks would be facing the Preds. Let's see what happens next week.


HNIC Screaming Drama Highlights

No Shortie, it's HNIC play-by-play - the MUTE ONLY option. At least the Nucks won!


GAME STATS

SHOTS

CANUCKS Period OIL
9 1st 13
13 2nd 12
5 3rd 8
27 TOTAL 33

PLAYER POINTS

GOALS ASSISTS +/-
GNARLAND 1 +1
SUTER 1 +1
LAFFERTY 1 +1
MILLER 1 +1
JOSHUA 1 +1
LINDHOLM 1 +1
ZADOROV 1 +1
MYERS 1 +2
Saves Shots SV%
DESMITH 32 33 .970


TACO TALK

"It was a grindy kind of game... all hands on deck... Smitty was good. Good test drive for us - for the playoffs." - Coach Taco

Watch Taco grind out a presser on the road at NHL.COM.


Another MUST WIN WON is on the books. Best Nucking season since 2011 or 2012, but that later season never happened because of the Mayan calendar mishap in LA.

The best the Canucks have played this month? Let's find out.

Best Nucking game of the month?

THE BIGGEST GAME - THE MOSTEST MUST WINNEST GAME OF THE SEASON

10:00 p.m. ET; SNP, CBC - HNIC Game. Hearing Damage Advisory!

The early season Canucks made mincemeat of the early season Oil. Winning all 3 meetings, outscoring the tOilers by the outrageous margin of 17-7. Surprised everyone. Not just how good the Nucks were, but how truly terrible the early season Oil were.

But Oil fired their coach and hired McD's old junior coach and the Oil went on the biggest new coach bump ever. Dammit.

Now the Oil are breathing their stinky, bumpy breath on the necks of our Nucks. This game will likely decide who hoists the pennant of the Pacific over their frozen water rink. You can tell that's a pretty big deal. Because it's not like you can buy a team pennant at the dollar store for $25.

Whatever.

The Nucks must win this game, not for just #1 status, prestige, or ticket price boost, but to send a message going into the playoffs. The message would be: dot dot something something dot. Which decoded says, we were the best of the division early and often and despite being a 500 team since the ASB, we're gonna clean your sock puppet's clock. Or dot dot something.

LINEUP - not lineup... because nhl.com ignores Canucks reasons nhl.com only ignores them all day.

Canucks projected lineup

Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Nils Hoglander

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Vasily Podkolzin -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Casey DeSmith

Arturs Silovs

Scratched: Nils Aman, Phillip Di Guiseppe, Mark Friedman, Noah Juulsen

Injured: Thatcher Demko (knee)

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Leon Draisaitl -- Zach Hyman

Evander Kane -- Adam Henrique -- Warren Foegele

Dylan Holloway -- Ryan McLeod -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Derek Ryan -- Connor Brown

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Troy Stecher

Brett Kulak -- Vincent Desharnais

Stuart Skinner

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Cody Ceci

Injured: Sam Carrick (undisclosed), Connor McDavid (lower body)

Status report

Demko was a full participant in the Canucks morning skate Saturday, but the goalie will miss his 14th straight game. ... DeSmith will start after Silovs started the previous two games. ... Podkolzin, a healthy scratch for a 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, enters the lineup on the fourth line for Di Guiseppe, a forward. ... McDavid took part in the Oilers morning skate Saturday but the center will miss his third consecutive game. ... Skinner will alternate starts with Picard for the ninth consecutive game.

GAME NOTES

  • Vancouver is 112-122-19-15 all-time against Edmonton, including a 50-69-7-8 record on the road.
  • The Canucks are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games against the Oilers (4-1-0 in their last 5).
  • Elias Lindholm leads all active Canucks skaters in scoring against Edmonton with 35 points (21-14-35) in 37 career games.
  • J.T. Miller has 33 points (11-22-33) in 31 career games against the Oilers.
  • In 30 games played against Edmonton, Brock Boeser has 27 points (16-11-27).
  • Quinn Hughes has 22 points (3-19-22) in 24 career games against the Oilers.
  • In 21 career games against Edmonton, Elias Pettersson has 19 points (6-13-19).
  • In four career games (1-1-0), Casey DeSmith has a 3.24 GAA and a .921 save percentage versus the Oilers. 
  • Arturs Silovs has yet to play a game against Edmonton.

DeSmith is the confirmed starter. Hopefully our goalie whisperer has whispered sweet stops and how to make them for the last week. McD is an unhealthy scratch, so that might be good news for us. What would be the other good news? Lindy gets a hattie. As does Miki. It's Dare To Dream Saturday at NM.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMNAL

It's a different time of the year, where games have meaning for NucksNation. So let's try something very different. Some Jazzer/Grunger/Art Rock Fusion. Yoprepus with a nifty little Norwegian ditty called Protozoa.

GO CANUCKS GO!

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