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Game Day Preview & Game Thread #75: Mar 31, 2023- Canucks vs Calgary

March 31, 2023
- Kent Basky

The Canucks return home to take on the Flames on Pride Night, wrapping up a solid March (towards another mediocre, playoff-less finale).

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (34-34-6) vs CALGARY FLAMES (34-26-15)

7:00 PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

TV: SPORTSNET, SN ONE. RADIO: SN650

I have to admit, it was a tad worrying that we hadn't heard much of anything in terms of what the Canucks had planned for the annual Pride Night game, but much like the way they've been playing in the month of March, they came out with a statement that was far greater than we could have imagined.

And it was an emerging leader of the team that made it crystal clear: The Canucks believe hockey truly is for everyone.

No lukewarm statements. No hiding behind fundamentalist dogma. Not even the (possibly) legitimate concern of payback against Russian players. The Canucks will, as they have done in the past, wear Pride jerseys with pride. During a stretch where they're ending another dismal season on a high note, this helps take the sting out of this failure of a season.

And those jerseys? Stunning.

And while it's probably not a surprise, it's still disappointing that Andrei Kuzmenko will not be wearing the jersey during the warmup.

I don't know what to tell you. We're all well aware that the whole notion of Russian players families being in danger if they participate has been thoroughly debunked, and thanks to the NHL's milquetoast 'leader' Gary Bettman, there is zero consequence for players deciding that hockey actually isn't for everyone.

And while elimination isn't official just yet, they do still have games to play, and can still have an impact on the playoffs. Like tonight's game, where a regulation win against the absolute frauds known as the Calgary Flames, could help keep them from snagging one of those Wild Card slots. The nine point difference between these teams are solely Bettman points collected by Calgary this season, and despite many predictions of the Flames being ready to challenge for the division crown, the only thing that's apparent is Darryl Sutter has reached his expiry date and it's time for the Flames to think about a retool along with a coaching change.

The Canucks are coming off a bit of a letdown game, but one that still saw them storm back in the third period and erase a three goal lead in the third period to force overtime. Sure, it was an unfortunate turnover that saw the game end, and it wasn't Thatcher Demko's best performance since his return, but there was still a lot to like about that game. Damn you Canucks, making me feel all hopeful and positive again, especially when it's only for a couple weeks then we have to wait til October again.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what we should expect lineup-wise tonight. Maybe.

Flames projected lineup

Andrew Mangiapane -- Elias Lindholm -- Tyler Toffoli

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Mikael Backlund -- Blake Coleman

Nick Ritchie -- Nazem Kadri -- Dillon Dube

Milan Lucic -- Trevor Lewis -- Walker Duehr

Noah Hanifin -- Rasmus Andersson

Nikita Zadorov -- MacKenzie Weegar

Dennis Gilbert -- Troy Stecher

Jacob Markstrom

Dan Vladar

Scratched: Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka, Matt Coronato

Injured: Chris Tanev (upper body), Michael Stone (lower body)

Canucks projected lineup

Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Dakota Joshua

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

Anthony Beauvillier -- Nils Aman -- Conor Garland

Aidan McDonough -- Sheldon Dries -- Jack Studnicka

Quinn Hughes -- Tyler Myers

Guillaume Brisebois -- Ethan Bear

Jack Rathbone -- Kyle Burroughs

Thatcher Demko

Collin Delia

Scratched: Vitali Kravtsov, Akito Hirose

Injured: Filip Hronek (shoulder), Vasily Podkolzin (undisclosed), Christian Wolanin (lower body), Noah Juulsen (lower body), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ankle), Travis Dermott (undisclosed), Ilya Mikheyev (torn ACL), Tanner Pearson (hand), Tucker Poolman (upper body)

That injury list is getting crowded again, eh? As you can see, Filip Hronek, who was very impressive in the couple games the Canucks managed to get out of him, is back on the IR, and the Canucks won't be seeing him again til next season. That led to Jack Rathbone being called back up from Abbotsford, and he will play tonight. It looks like Aidan McDonough will draw back in, but we'll have to wait for the NHL debut of Akito Hirose, but it should happen at some point during this five game home stand.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Spanish bangers CRISIX are up today, and with it being Pride Night and Transgender Visibility Day, a song called 'Speak Your Truth' seems appropriate. Love is love, and hate is a disease. Nothing but love to all of my family and friends under the 2SLGBTQIA+ umbrella.

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