Last night, the Canucks delivered a performance the likes of which we haven't seen in at least a decade. An absolutely dominant sixty minute game that showcased the approach that Rick Tocchet wants to see from a nightly basis from his charges, and if this is what we can expect from the Canucks this season, I'm all in, baby!
CANUCKS (5-2-0) vs RANGERS (5-2-0)
7:00 PM PST
SPORTSNET One, CBC, City Tv
It's been a frustrating dozen years since Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. From the loss, to the franchise's steadfast refusal to rebuild despite all indications showing it was direly needed, we've had to suffer through over a decade of bad signings, bad trades, bad coaches and bad efforts. It's taking a while, and it's a little early to declare the dark days are over, but good lord, watching the way the Canucks played last night made me want to run through a brick wall.
To a man, they came out and absolutely dominated a St Louis Blues team that looked quite good against Calgary the night before, and didn't give them a sniff. When St Louis did get chances, they were mostly low risk, and rebounds were cleared efficiently. They played their asses off defensively for their goaltender last night, and that might have been the most inspirational part of all. And let's get this right out of the way, for all his flaws, Tyler Myers had a beast of a game last night, playing 17 minutes of smart, defensively sound hockey, and added a beautiful setup on the Phil DiGiuseppe goal to make it 3-0 in the 2nd period. It rings true to what many have felt about the much maligned Myers: with the right usage and controlled minutes, he could still be a valuable part of this team. He's bought in to that, and it's glorious to see.
And how about the pairing of Mark Friedman and Ian Cole?
This is where you can start to believe that maybe this team has turned the corner. The moves over the past twelve months that Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin have made are having immediate impacts on the ice, and this team is not the Canucks team of the past few years, let alone last year. With the way the Oilers, Flames and Kraken have started the year, if the Canucks can stay healthy and continue to take this approach to each game, we should expect to see them in the postseason come April.
Alas, there's no rest for the wicked, and they're right back at it tonight against a very good New York Rangers team that are also currently riding a 3 game win streak, fresh off a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday evening. The Rangers and Canucks are pretty evenly matched, built the same and play a similar style, so it'll be an interesting contest, seeing if Vancouver can come up with another big effort in their first back to back of the season.
This potential lineup for tonight's contest was scrawled on the back of a setlist from a house party that DJ Del Zotto played. May have also been nhl dot com, I suppose.
Rangers projected lineup
Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin -- Filip Chytil -- Alexis Lafreniere
Will Cuylle -- Vincent Trochek -- Blake Wheeler
Barclay Goodrow -- Nick Bonino -- Jimmy Vesey
Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller -- Jacob Trouba
Erik Gustafsson -- Braden Schneider
Scratched: Zac Jones, Tyler Pitlick
Canucks projected lineup
Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua -- Pius Suter -- Conor Garland
Anthony Beauvillier -- Sam Lafferty -- Nils Hoglander
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Ian Cole -- Mark Friedman
Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Noah Juulsen, Jack Studnicka
Injured: Teddy Blueger (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
Doesn't appear to be any changes for the Canucks tonight apart from the scheduled start for DeSmith, while the Rangers, much like the Blues last night will play their number one keeper as Shesterkin gets the crease for New York.
GAME DAY CHATTER
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Storming out of Wilkes-Barre, PA, CRUEL BOMB are a three piece thrash band paying tribute to NYC's finest ANTHRAX and their classic 'Caught In A Mosh'. It's the second single they've released this year after a 5 song EP in 2022 called 'Man Made', so hopefully we can expect a full length from them soon. Crank this one and mosh it up!
Enjoy the game, folks. Go Canucks Go!