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Game Preview/ Gamethread #30: Canucks vs Panthers

December 14, 2023
- Kent Basky

It's a big night as the Canucks celebrate the greatest goaltender this team has ever had. Roberto Luongo takes his place in the Canucks Ring Of Honour as the Florida Panthers make their annual visit to Rogers Arena.

Vancouver Canucks (19-9-1) vs Florida Panthers (17-9-2)

7:00PM PST



Coming off an impressive win over a team that's had the Canucks' number for years in that 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night, the Canucks have the other tough opponent from the utter hellhole of a state that is Florida: the Panthers. Their visit and the game itself are almost secondary though, as tonight the Canucks give Roberto Luongo his spot in the team's Ring Of Honour.

I've seen people say that Luongo's place as the greatest goaltender in Canucks history is up for debate. Those people are wrong, and should go sit down and actually watch some of his finest performances. Don't let the ending of the 2011 Cup run taint your memories. Lu was the best and it's not even close. Tonight is not about thinking about losses, letdowns, or the unfortunate way his time in Vancouver came to an end. Tonight is all about remembering a guy who was an absolute superstar, and deserved better than the way it all played out. It's about remembering his unique sense of humour, the intensity he brought in leading this team to one of the best eras we've seen as Canucks fans, and of course, helping Canada win gold on Rogers Arena ice in 2010.

I was fortunate enough to see the man in three of his forty three shutouts, including Games One and Five of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. He leads the way in all team goaltending categories, and was a worthy addition to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2022 along with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. While we're pretty fortunate to have a goalie as good as Thatcher Demko right now, he's got a long way to go to live up to the standard set by Lu, the guy who forever changed this franchise's reputation as a goalie graveyard.

As far as the actual game, it'll likely be a lot of what we've seen of late. With the Canucks having won three straight, it's likely that we're not going to see any real drastic changes in the lineup tonight. The one change that will occur is with the return of Pius Suter to the lineup, Nils Aman will be out, and likely head back to Abbotsford soon if he hasn't already.


We found this potential lineup written on the back of the motorized cart Lu used to try and kill Cory Schneider with in the bowels of Rogers Arena. It may have come from nhl dot com though...

Panthers projected lineup

Evan Rodrigues -- Aleksander Barkov -- Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe -- Sam Bennett -- Matthew Tkachuk

Nick Cousins -- Eetu Luostarinen -- Ryan Lomberg 

Jonah Gadjovich -- Kevin Stenlund -- Steven Lorentz

Gustav Forsling -- Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola -- Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Dmitry Kulikov

Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Josh Mahura, Uvis Balinskis

Injured: Anton Lundell (illness)

Canucks projected lineup

Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Sam Lafferty

Nils Hoglander -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland

Andrei Kuzmenko -- Pius Suter -- Phillip Di Giuseppe

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman

Injured: Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)

It's the first game back for Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jonah Gadjovich, but while this might have been a bigger story a year ago, it's obvious how much better the Canucks are without the guys who were in their lineup last year that have been moved out, and especially when it comes to Ekman-Larsson. Nice guy I'm sure, and he's having a fine season in Florida, but his time in Vancouver will go down in infamy.

No other changes for the Canucks, as they continue to get back to what we saw in October in terms of defensive play. They'll have their hands full tonight with the Panthers, but another solid 60 minute effort should help them through.



Got a fun one today, as Sweden's hockey loving Viking Metal kings AMON AMARTH posted a new video, with some help from NWOBHM legends SAXON. 'Saxons And Vikings' is cheesy as hell and I love it! Grab a flagon of mead and crank this one!

This is gonna be a great night, and nothing would be better than the Canucks topping off this celebration with another win before heading off on a four game road trip. Enjoy the game, everyone. Thank you, Lu! Go Canucks Go!


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