It's a battle for first place in the Western Conference as the Canucks host the Vegas Golden Knights. It's the toughest test of the season for the Canucks thus far. Are they ready for this?
Vancouver Canucks (15-7-1) vs Vegas Golden Knights (14-5-4)
ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
Though they've acquitted themselves well in the games against what you could call 'elite' teams so far this season, tonight's one many have had circled on the calendar since the start of the year. What better way for a team in the Canucks' situation to prove they're for real than to take down the defending Cup champs and vault past them into first place in the Western Conference.
And if there were ever a time for the Canucks to be able to come out with a huge statement win, like they did against Dallas back on Nov 4th, this would be it. After a near record-breaking start, the Golden Knights have sputtered in November, having won just three of their last ten, and just one of their last six. They've been shutout three times this month, and the team that appeared to be untouchable in October is looking very ordinary as we reach the end of November.
The Canucks have had a few hiccups this month, though some of that can be attributed to a particularly brutal schedule that's seen them play three games in four nights three times this month, and while both teams are coming off a day's rest, this will be the third such scenario for Vegas this month, after having lost in Calgary and Edmonton earlier this week.
The Canucks are coming off a win over Anaheim that was far more impressive than it sounds. The Ducks did a hell of a job clogging up shooting lanes for the first forty minutes on Tuesday night, frustrating the Canucks numerous times. They responded in the third with a dominant performance, the kind you would expect from a good team, and brought home the win.
It's a lot like the game against Colorado: Two teams that are constructed fairly similarly, that can score a ton, with good speed and outstanding goaltending. All that it takes is for one of these teams to blink first...
Found this lineup scrawled on a wall in East Van. No, wait... it was nhl dot com again...
Golden Knights projected lineup
Ivan Barbashev -- Jack Eichel -- Mark Stone
Paul Cotter -- William Karlsson -- Jonathan Marchessault
Brett Howden -- Chandler Stephenson -- Michael Amadio
William Carrier -- Nicolas Roy -- Keegan Kolesar
Ben Hutton -- Alex Pietrangelo
Nicolas Hague -- Zach Whitecloud
Brayden McNabb -- Kaedan Korczak
Scratched: Pavel Dorofeyev, Brayden Pachal
Injured: Shea Theodore (upper body), Alec Martinez (lower body)
Canucks projected lineup
Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Andrei Kuzmenko
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland
Nils Hoglander -- Nils Aman -- Sam Lafferty
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen
Mark Friedman -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Matt Irwin, Linus Karlsson
Injured: Pius Suter (lower body), Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
The Canucks sent Cole McWard back to Abbotsford, and while they called up Matt Irwin and Linus Karlsson, neither will be in the lineup tonight, barring a sudden illness or injury during the warmups. Mark Friedman will be back in on defence tonight, other than that, no other changes. The Golden Knights have a couple significant losses on the injury front, as they have Alec Martinez and Shea Theodore out of the lineup. That's led to former Canuck Ben Hutton being bumped to the top pairing with Alex Pietrangelo, which is equal parts weird and funny, right?
GAME DAY CHATTER
I like what Allvin says here. It's night and day different from the constant attempts to blow smoke up our asses that the previous regime engaged in, and constantly treats the fan base with the respect they deserve. They're honest and open in a way Benning and Co were not and I am so here for that.
Now that the Canucks have some cap flexibility thanks to the Beauvilier deal, if they can get a reasonable deal done with Bear, it could leave them with a bit left down the road to bolster the lineup for the playoffs.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Got some local metal today for ya! AGGRESSION have a new album coming out tomorrow as 'Frozen Aggressors' hits stores on Massacre Records. The band got their start in the early 80's in Quebec, and after reuniting a few years ago have been churning out some killer thrash. Check out 'Circus Of Deception', and support local metal!
Enjoy the game everyone! Go Canucks Go!