Call it regression. Call it exhaustion. Call it whatever you want, but that loss in Calgary wasn't pretty. Pay close attention to how the Canucks respond, as they get ready to do another stupid 5 games in 8 nights run.
Vancouver Canucks (12-3-1) vs Seattle Kraken (6-8-4)
ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
CBC, SPORTSNET, CITY
We knew a regulation loss was coming, it just sucks that it had to come against the Flames. They're not that good, and combined with the aforementioned 5th game in 8 nights scenario, and some mind-blowingly bad officiating, and this one was done before puck drop.
Thankfully, they're at home, and have had a day's rest, and this next 5 game set sees them play Seattle and San Jose twice, broken up by a highly anticipated match against another of the best in the west when they travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. This is another Western Conference game, and if we're being honest, these are the truly important ones. Ensuring they stay in the top 3 in the Pacific Division and home ice in round one of the playoffs is the goal, and considering how well they've done against Western opponents so far, garnering an impressive 16 of 18 possible points so far. Rattling off four of the next 5 will go a long way to ensuring their post-season drought comes to an end this year.
The anticipated Canucks regression gets a lot of print space right now, but I think more should be said about what's happening just South of Vancouver. After an impressive sophomore season, complete with playoff games and their first ever playoff series win in that seven game series victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The Kraken have struggled so far this season, including losing four straight to start the year. They're gonna need to go on a run in order to make up the ground they've lost, as they're two points out of the last wild card slot at the moment, and they've played more games than any other team in the West. It's not looking good, and it shouldn't be a shock if they can't pull this off.
That's not to suggest that the Canucks should take this, or any game lightly, and one of the more impressive things so far this season is how the Canucks have responded to losses. Take the way they responded in Montreal after a frustrating loss in Toronto the night before. Or the win in Florida after dropping a heart breaker to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This team is mentally stronger than in the past, and that's going to pay dividends as the season wears on.
Scrawled in spraypaint on an overpass along Highway 1 near Chilliwack was this potential lineup. Or was it nhl dot com?
Kraken projected lineup
Jared McCann -- Matthew Beniers -- Jordan Eberle
Jaden Schwartz -- Alexander Wennberg -- Brandon Tanev
Eeli Tolvanen -- Yanni Gourde -- Oliver Bjorkstrand
Tye Kartye -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Kailer Yamamoto
Vince Dunn -- Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak -- Will Borgen
Brian Dumoulin -- Justin Schultz
Scratched: Jaycob Megna, Andrew Poturalski
Injured: Andre Burakovsky (upper body)
Canucks projected lineup
Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland
Nils Hoglander -- Sam Lafferty -- Anthony Beauvillier
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen
Akito Hirose -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Mark Friedman
Injured: Pius Suter (undisclosed), Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
The good news is that Andrei Kuzmenko will return to the lineup tonight. The not so good news? Noah Juulsen still can't seem to play his way to the pressbox. Akito Hirose will draw in with Tyler Myers tonight.
This should be a winnable game for the Canucks, who are going to need to see more 5 on 5 production to bolster a lethal power play. They're also going to need to be better on the PK. They've improved a lot since last season, but it's still not where it needs to be.
GAME DAY CHATTER
This is the Gary Bettman expansion dilemma. It's either a bare minimum against divisional rivals, or not getting to see some of the Eastern teams at all. Personally, I think the NHL has done sweet fuck all to try and build a Vancouver/Seattle rivalry, and I would rather see them play each other four times than against the bloody Oilers or Flames. It's insane that they play those two as well as the Sharks four times, yet their geographically closest opponent will only appear here once this season.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Emerging from the ashes of Texas thrash kings POWER TRIP after the tragic death of their vocalist Riley Gale, FUGITIVE have come to continue along the path forged by the Dallas crossover bangers. This single is available as a 7" from 20 Buck Spin Records, and we should expect a full length from them next year. This is one of those tunes that really, truly makes me miss the moshpits from back in the day.
Enjoy the game, everyone. Go Canucks Go!