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Game Preview / Gamethread #3: Canucks vs Flyers

October 17, 2023
- Kent Basky

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.

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