After some much-needed rest, the Canucks kick off 2024 with a home game against Ottawa before embarking on an epic seven game road jaunt.
FLYERS (18-11-4) at CANUCKS (23-9-3)
ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
7:00 PM PST
SPORTSNET PACIFIC, TSN 5
Well, now that we've gotten the foul taste of the last game out of our collective mouths, and Team Canada is gone early from the World Juniors, we can turn our attention back to Canada's Team: The Vancouver Canucks.
While it seems like the Canucks would be due for an easier schedule than the first half of the season so far, but that's not the case, as tonight's contest kicks off a stretch of 13 games in 26 nights. And while there's some tough games coming up in this stretch, they'd do well to not take their eyes off the Sens. It's an opportunity for two points that could come in handy in what will be a tough month for the Canucks, and a way to regain some momentum after playing just once in more than week.
As far as the Sens go, it's another disappointing season, but with the team going through the growing pains of new ownership, management and coaching all on the fly this season, it's not wholly unexpected. This is still a team with some talent, in spite of their record, and as we've seen from the Canucks so far this year, they cannot take a night off against any team, especially with the Oilers starting to claw their way out of the basement after that horrendous start.
One good thing is that the Canucks have managed to keep their spot atop the Pacific Division standings while the teams chasing them have made up most, if not all of the games in hand the Canucks had on them. One of the big changes from last season has been their play on home ice, and a win tonight will move their home record to 14-4-1. They've been better on the road this year too, and they'll need to be, as they have 6 of those 7 games against non-playoff teams, the only one being a rematch against the first place New York Rangers and a chance for revenge after that bullshit non-call in OT led the Blueshirts to an undeserved win.
The following lineups were scribbled on the inside of a discarded party hat seen floating down the Fraser River. Or maybe it was nhl dot com.
Senators projected lineup
Brady Tkachuk -- Josh Norris -- Claude Giroux
Vladimir Tarasenko -- Tim Stutzle -- Drake Batherson
Dominik Kubalik -- Ridly Greig -- Parker Kelly
Erik Brannstrom -- Mark Kastelic -- Zack MacEwen
Jake Sanderson -- Artem Zub
Thomas Chabot -- Jacob Bernard-Docker
Jakob Chychrun -- Travis Hamonic
Scratched: Angus Crookshank, Jiri Smejkal
Injured: Mathieu Joseph (lower body), Rourke Chartier (concussion)
Canucks projected lineup
Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Andrei Kuzmenko
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland
Nils Aman -- Pius Suter -- Sam Lafferty
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Nikita Zadorov -- Tyler Myers
Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen
Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Hoglander
Injured: Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
Rick Tocchet's tough love academy has welcomed Nils Hoglander back to the press box again, showing that on this team, there's no room to rest on your laurels. PDG is back from his exile and will skate on the 2nd line with Miller and Boeser. Carson Soucy will be on the road trip, but he won't be playing tonight. The Canucks D have been playing well, but it will definitely help to get the veteran Soucy back in the lineup.
GAME DAY CHATTER
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
We're off to Chile this time and a brand new track from CRITICAL DEFIANCE. It's off their upcoming as yet untitled third album. It follows up on 2022's fantastic release 'No Life Forms', and is a good sign that we'll be getting another solid disc of crossover thrash. Here's 'The Search Won't Fall', and if you dig these guys, definitely head over to their Bandcamp page and check them out.