It's another Hughes family reunion as Quinn and the Canucks take on brothers Jack and Luke in a battle for Hughes family supremacy. Also, the New Jersey Devils are involved.
Vancouver Canucks (16-8-1) vs New Jersey Devils (11-10-1)
7:00 PM PST
ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
SPORTSNET PACIFIC, MSG NETWORK, NHL NETWORK
Fresh off a big Pacific Division win Saturday night in Calgary, the Canucks are back at it, after a luxurious two day break. A win tonight is vital, in that it will move them to within two points of first place Vegas, and also ensure that the LA Kings stay at least two points behind them.
After struggling through November compared to their torrid start to the season, the Canucks kicked December off on the right foot Saturday night with a 4-3 win over the Flames in Calgary. They're beginning a stretch of five straight at home, beginning with a team that they've been finding hard to handle of late: the New Jersey Devils.
It's the first time that Quinn Hughes will face off against both of his siblings in an NHL game, and while the Canucks will be focused on securing two points, the eyes of hockey fans across North America are definitely trained on tonight's contest. The Devils have won four of the last five meetings between these teams, including both games last year. And while the Canucks have been one of the true surprises of the NHL this season, the Devils have too, only not in a good way. Many had the Devils pencilled in to be Cup contenders in the East, but they've stumbled out of the gate, and find themselves four points out of a wild card slot in the Eastern Conference. They're 4-6-0 in their last ten games, and are hoping this Western road swing will help them get back on track.
And while the Hughes brothers matchup is getting all the press, there's one other factor to tonight's game that shouldn't be overlooked. Travis Green is set for his first appearance behind the visitors bench since he was fired as the Canucks head coach two years ago today. If that's not some sort of universal karma/schedule guy trying to mess with people, I dunno what is.
We found this potential lineup spray-painted on the side of a transport trailer parked alongside Highway 1 out in the valley, but I am pretty sure they got it from nhl dot com.
Devils projected lineup
Erik Haula -- Jack Hughes -- Tyler Toffoli
Ondrej Palat -- Nico Hischier -- Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier -- Dawson Mercer -- Alexander Holtz
Curtis Lazar -- Michael McLeod -- Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler -- Simon Nemec
Kevin Bahl -- John Marino
Colin Miller -- Luke Hughes
Scratched: Chris Tierney
Injured: Tomas Nosek (foot), Dougie Hamilton (torn pectoral muscle)
Suspended: Brendan Smith
Canucks projected lineup
Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Sam Lafferty
Andrei Kuzmenko -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland
Nils Hoglander -- Nils Aman -- Linus Karlsson
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen
Nikita Zadorov -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Phillip Di Giuseppe, Mark Friedman
Injured: Pius Suter (lower body), Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
No changes for the Canucks, as PDG continues to ride pine in favour of Linus Karlsson, while Sam Lafferty continues his improbable run on the Canucks first line. With every passing game, that signing looks better for Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin. While it may not sit well with some, Noah Juulsen is in again in favour of Mark Friedman.
The Devils found out recently that they'll be without Dougie Hamilton long term after he suffered a torn pectoral muscle. It'll be Vitek Vanacek vs Thatcher Demko in the crease tonight.
GAME DAY CHATTER
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
While the UK may be the birthplace of heavy metal, it always seemed somewhat lacking when it came to contributions to thrash metal. Apart from bands like Xentrix, Onslaught and Hellbastard, UK thrash acts never really seemed to move the needle. That's all changed over the last decade, with the New Wave Of Thrash Metal. Bands like Evile, SSS, Shrapnel and Pest Control have put out some fantastic stuff, and while the first three may be a little more familiar to metal heads, Pest Control is one you don't wanna sleep on.
Born in Leeds during the lockdown, their debut album 'Don't Test The Pest' is holding up as one of the better thrash discs of 2023. Check out their video for 'Enjoy The Show'!
This one should be fun! Enjoy the game, eh? Go Canucks Go!