After what might well have been one of the worst hockey games in the history of the sport, the Canucks make their way to Chicago, where they're being served up on a platter for Connor Bedard and the Blackhawks.
Vancouver Canucks (20-9-2) vs Chicago Blackhawks (9-19-1)
UNITED CENTER, CHICAGO, IL
After being forced to sit through a loving tribute to the 'glorious' Cult Of Lemaire days by the Minnesota Wild yesterday, the Canucks find themselves having to play yet another 3rd game in 4 nights scenario, this time, the schedule maker has decided things are just too rough on the poor, hard done by Chicago Blackhawks and given them a small token of their affection.
I suppose the best we can hope for is that a rested Thatcher Demko can conjure up another game like we saw from him on Thursday night against Florida, and that the rest of the Canucks are actually awake and coherent for this one. As dreadful as it is to watch the Wild play, the Canucks did themselves no favours by offering little pushback, and made some mind-boggling defensive choices throughout the game.
Another thing they'll need to fix for today is the power play. Going 0 for 5 against one of the worst penalty kills at home in the NHL simply isn't good enough, and while they did get a point, there wasn't a single one of the Canucks 'best players' you could say had a strong performance yesterday. It's great that the third line has become such a threat, but they're not going to win you hockey games.
And then there's Bedard. You know he wants to have a big game today against his favourite team growing up, and he'll be going full out from puck drop. Sure, he has little help, but if you give this kid an inch, he'll use it to destroy you. It's great that we could see this rivalry rekindled down the road, but it's gonna suck that the next great superstar went to this absolutely abhorrent franchise.
This lineup was written on the wall of the cooler inside the restaurant from 'The Bear', which apparently is the only cooler in any restaurant ever that didn't have a way for you to get out of you should find yourself locked inside. Seriously, for all the lengths they've gone to in terms of recreating kitchen life and culture, this was an embarrassing gaffe. Anyway, it's also on nhl dot com...
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
Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman
Injured: Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
Blackhawks projected lineup
Lukas Reichel -- Connor Bedard -- Philipp Kurashev
Anthony Beauvillier --Tyler Johnson -- Taylor Raddysh
Nick Foligno -- Jason Dickinson -- Joey Anderson
Ryan Donato -- Cole Guttman -- Reese Johnson
Filip Roos -- Connor Murphy
Isaak Phillips -- Niikita Zaitsev
Alex Vlasic -- Louis Crevier
Scratched: MacKenzie Entwistle, Wyatt Kaiser
Injured: Seth Jones (left shoulder), Jarred Tinordi (concussion protocol)
Look, we all know that this is a truly awful Chicago team, and that is by design. They're going full Pittsburgh, so that they can get the best odds at another number one pick this year, and probably next, so that they can create a new core and try and build around that. But as we saw against the Sharks a couple weeks ago, taking any team lightly will come back to bite you on the ass.
So what needs to happen to prevent this? Well, we need the top 6 to play like it. They were, to a man, not good at all yesterday. And especially on the power play, which should be able to feast on the Hawks terrible penalty killing and poor goaltending. I would expect to see J.T. Miller step up with a big game after being so noticeably awful yesterday.
GAME DAY CHATTER
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
New Jersey thrashers The Donner Party are up today. Some solid thrash that embraces some of the best influences of both coasts. You can hear as much Exodus and Vio-Lence as you can Overkill and Nuclear Assault in these tunes, and that's always gonna get a thumbs up from me. Check out 'Mondo America' from their 2023 release 'Cutting Class'!