After a frustrating OT loss on Saturday where the Canucks were deserving of a much better fate, they'll look to finish a surprisingly strong October with a visit from Nashville.
CANUCKS (5-2-1) vs PREDATORS (4-4-0)
7:00 PM PST
We could go on about the atrocious officiating on Saturday, but there's not really much else one can say. The Rangers got a gift, but the Canucks proved they can hang with one of the best, and that's something we weren't ready to be able to say this season, let alone in the first ten games. And yet, here we are. The Canucks are (with the full caveat that it's still early), very much one of the team that should be in the Western Conference mix this year. It's a surprise, especially given there are still numerous areas where the team can play better.
Sure, it helps they've got one of the best one-two goalie combos to start the season, and their best players have been absolutely lights out. Defensively they've been outstanding and the offensive contributions from the backend are already making a massive difference. There's still room from growth on the defensive end, the penalty kill, while better can still be improved, and they need more out of their bottom six. It's hard to criticize the bottom six too much when they're all playing a solid two way game, and there's rarely been a game with passengers, but this team being a bigger threat to score regardless of which line is on could turn them into a legit contender.
They're going up against a Nashville team tonight that they beat a week ago, withstanding a comeback and putting together a strong, inspirational finish to a road trip that begun to look dire after back to back losses in Philadelphia and Tampa. They are starting the first of four at home before making their annual Eastern Canadian road swing, and with the last two of those four against a very good Dallas Stars team and a third meeting with divisional rivals Edmonton Oilers, they'll want to get as many points as they can before heading into an Eastern Canadian gauntlet that is as tough as it's been in years.
Tonight also marks the first appearance of the skate jersey this season, much to the delight of the fan base. The return of the skate was a big success, and honestly, this team would just be printing money if they ditched the cursed whale forever and went back to the best damn jersey they ever wore.
This potential lineup was scrawled in blood on my bathroom mirror... oh, wait. Nevermind, it was on nhl dot com:
Predators projected lineup
Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O’Reilly -- Gustav Nyquist
Kiefer Sherwood -- Tommy Novak -- Luke Evangelista
Yakov Trenin -- Colton Sissons -- Liam Foudy
Samuel Fagemo -- Juuso Parssinen -- Cole Smith
Roman Josi -- Dante Fabbro
Ryan McDonagh -- Alexandre Carrier
Jeremy Lauzon -- Tyson Barrie
Scratched: Michael McCarron, Marc Del Gaizo, Philip Tomasino
Injured: Luke Schenn (lower body), Cody Glass (lower body)
Canucks projected lineup
Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Anthony Beauvillier -- Pius Suter -- Conor Garland
Dakota Joshua -- 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)
Interesting that Nashville is choosing not to go with Juuse Saros tonight, instead giving Kevin Lankonen his first start of the season. I get he needs to play, but this could end badly for them. No real changes for the Canucks tonight, but there's definitely a spotlight on the third and fourth lines. Hoglander's been fantastic, and the play of Lafferty and Suter has been a surprise, but we need to see more from Beauvillier, Garland, and Joshua.
GAME DAY CHATTER
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
With this game falling on Halloween, you know I was feeling a bit of pressure to find a video worthy of the best holiday there is. Thankfully, I was saved. All hail the King, baby. King Diamond dropped a brand new video today, and it is everything we could have hoped for. No surprise, for the King never misses. Crank this one, make sure and give those kids full size bars, and after that, enjoy the game. Go Canucks Go!