The Eastern Canadian road swing moves on to Montreal after a disappointing night in Toronto. This is not a bad thing, nor cause for alarm. Regression was going to happen, but it's not going to be nearly as bad as some might think. What matters is how they respond to a game where they were clearly not the better team last night.
CANUCKS (10-3-1) at CANADIENS (7-5-2)
4:00PM PST Bell Centre, Montreal, PQ
Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 2
Losing to that team sucks. No easier way to put it. What sucks worse is that the Canucks somehow got away from doing all the little things that have been the source of their success so far this season. They looked checked out, and while I don't think it's indicative of any kind of trend, it's frustrating that this was the night that the team's best players decided to shit the bed.
Of course, all of that can be forgotten with a win tonight as they head to Montreal, but to do that, we need them to show up. It's not as though Toronto forced them to play horrible, and if anything, they looked like the tired team, not the Leafs. So getting some fresh legs in the form of Teddy Blueger in the lineup tonight will definitely help.
The Habs are going to be in the mix all season, and if they can overcome their goaltending deficiencies, they should be able to make a return to the postseason come April. And with them coming off an emotional OT win over Boston last night, with the Canucks eager to make amends for taking a night off, and the potential for an emotional let down game from their opponents, this could see them back on track to head home for that big game against the Islanders later in the week.
I want to stress that last night wasn't all bad. The Canucks did a fantastic job of making sure Toronto's best players (apart from Nylander) weren't a factor, and let's be honest, Toronto got a ton of bounces, especially on Nylander's second goal, which wasn't going in until Tyler Myers tried to "help". Add in an uncharacteristically bad night from Thatcher Demko as well as the worst performance this season from the pairing of Quinn highes and Filip Hronek and that's your game.
The Canucks have been decent at rebounding from losses this year, and it's silly to think this is anything more than an off night. Sure, this is their third in four nights, but it's a good test, and with the accountability and level of professionalism this team has shown so far this season, you should feel confident heading into this one.
The following potential lineup for tonight was written in both official languages on the back of an ad for some black market poutine... no, wait. It was nhl dot com.
Canucks projected lineup
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Andrei Kuzmenko
Dakota Joshua -- Pius Suter -- Conor Garland
Sam Lafferty -- Teddy Blueger -- Anthony Beauvillier
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Ian Cole -- Mark Friedman
Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Nils Hoglander, Jack Studnicka, Noah Juulsen
Injured: Guillaume Brisebois (lower body), Tucker Poolman (head)
Canadiens projected lineup
Alex Newhook -- Nick Suzuki --Josh Anderson
Juraj Slafkovsky -- Christian Dvorak -- Cole Caufield
Tanner Pearson -- Sean Monahan -- Brendan Gallagher
Michael Pezzetta -- Jake Evans -- Rafael Harvey-Pinard
Mike Matheson -- Justin Barron
Kaiden Guhle -- Johnathan Kovacevic
Arber Xhekaj -- Jordan Harris
Scratched: Jesse Ylonen, Joel Armia, Cayden Primeau
Injured: David Savard (hand)
As expected, Blueger is in and Nils Hoglander is out. No other changes as the Canucks are thankfully still mostly healthy. It'll be DeSmith versus Jake Allen tonight as Sam Montembault was in the crease last night for Montreal's 3-2 OT win over the Bruins.
GAME DAY CHATTER
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
I tested positive for COVID 35 days ago, and I'm still not feeling better. That means I have a lot of free time on my hands. Which means I find weird shit like this. This is VALKYRIE ZERO, from Japan. The song is called 'Frogs Of The Round. What the hell does that even mean? What I do is this song f'n rips. You're welcome.
Enjoy the game. Go Canucks Go!