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OPENING FACE/OFF

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Canucks in the last few days, mainly because of a player that shall not be named. Tonight, the confused Canucks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs: Canada’s team.

The Canucks haven’t won in Toronto since 2014 but they’ll get three opportunities this week to try and break the streak. They’ll have to figure out Auston Matthews and the 7-2-1 Leafs but hey, why not have ANOTHER challenge to deal with? Aside from the teams in Alberta and Quebec, the Canucks have done well against the North division. Looking for positives is where this journey begins.

Let’s Do This!™

WHERE CAN I FIND THIS GAME?

TV: SNP / RADIO: SN 650 / PUCK DROP: 4:00 PM

LINEUPS

Is Jake Virtanen in the lineup? How about Adam Gaudette? Any chance we see Loui Eriksson? The back end hasn’t been thrilling and that includes newbie Nate Schmidt.

The lineup is a mystery right now so hopefully Travis Green has a solution for this problem.

Thatcher Demko had himself a decent outing last game and it would say a lot if he started today.

CANUCKS LINES COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM:

LW C RW Forwards
J.T. Miller
J.T. MILLER

Rating: 78.5#7 LW

Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT

Rating: 74.8#34 C

Brock Boeser
BROCK BOESER

Rating: 74.1#41 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 75.80#11 FL1
Tanner Pearson
TANNER PEARSON

Rating: 73.7#38 LW

Elias Pettersson
ELIAS PETTERSSON

Rating: 77.7#14 C

Nils Hoglander
NILS HOGLANDER
FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.71#5 FL2
Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL

Rating: 71.0#97 LW

Brandon Sutter
BRANDON SUTTER

Rating: 70.1#131 C

Adam Gaudette
ADAM GAUDETTE

Rating: 70.2#130 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.44#25 FL3
Tyler Motte
TYLER MOTTE

Rating: 68.8#144 LW

Jay Beagle
JAY BEAGLE

Rating: 68.4#163 C

Zack MacEwen
ZACK MACEWEN
FL4 Rating
Rating: 68.57#29 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Quinn Hughes
QUINN HUGHES

Rating: 75.2#15 LD

Jordie Benn
JORDIE BENN

Rating: 70.9#101 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.04#28 DL1
Nate Schmidt
NATE SCHMIDT

Rating: 75.5#18 LD

Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS

Rating: 72.6#50 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.02#7 DL2
Alexander Edler
ALEXANDER EDLER

Rating: 74.3#26 LD

Jalen Chatfield
JALEN CHATFIELD
DL3 Rating
Rating: 74.31#3 DL3

The Leafs were off for four days and they’ll be ready to go. There will be no Joe Thornton but it’s ok, there are no fans to see the game live. Toronto brought out a sweet flat-screen during practice yesterday and they looked over game film from the Canucks/Senators series, AKA, Vancouver’s best self. Tough to beat that team, that’s for sure.

Frederik Andersen will likely start tonight.

LEAFS LINES COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM:

LW C RW Forwards
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 74.6#33 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 82.3#6 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 76.6#18 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.83#4 FL1
William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.1#23 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 77.6#15 C

Wayne Simmonds
WAYNE SIMMONDS

Rating: 70.2#112 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.64#13 FL2
Jimmy Vesey
JIMMY VESEY

Rating: 70.6#107 LW

Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 70.8#113 C

Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV

Rating: 74.0#42 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.83#16 FL3
Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL

Rating: 71.0#98 LW

Travis Boyd
TRAVIS BOYD

Rating: 70.4#124 C

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 69.4#126 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.27#22 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 75.3#14 LD

T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE

Rating: 74.2#27 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.76#16 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.1#17 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 72.0#61 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.56#13 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 71.7#83 LD

Zach Bogosian
ZACH BOGOSIAN

Rating: 71.4#76 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.56#23 DL3

GAME NOTES, INTERESTING STATS, AND MATS SUNDIN

  • Not only is Quinn Hughes the best defenceman in Canada, he’s the best d-man in the league. His 14 points also beat out Cale Makar and the Leafs’ highest-scoring defender Morgan Rielly at seven points. All hail Quinn Hughes.
  • Despite this being a must-see game between the Leafs and Canucks, the lower bowl in Toronto will look identical to start the game as no fans show up until the first TV timeout. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • Mats Sundin absolutely tore it up as a Canuck. He had 28 points in 41 games in the regular season and exploded for 14 points on the PP. His shootout goal is the stuff of legends and even though he had a stint with the Leafs, he’ll always be remembered as a Canuck.
  • The Leafs are re-inventing the power play. They currently have a 43.3% success rate on the man-advantage and that should scare anyone that utters the phrase “power play”. Vancouver’s PK sits at 80.4%, not great. Everything points to the Leafs pumping the Canucks for a barrel-full of goals but maybe things look so bad that it goes the other way?
  • Would you believe J.T. Miller has points in four of his last five games? He has six points in that span which would suggest he actually has been playing well. Stats don’t lie. First rule of hockey club.

TWITTER TOLD YOU

Too much time on your hands?

MY 94 CENTS

I always firmly believe the Canucks will beat the Maple Leafs because Toronto should never have a good team and good always defeats evil. Since the Canucks lost Mats Sundin to retirement they haven’t been the same and I don’t blame them. Tough to lose a legend like that. I firmly believe something amazing will happen tonight and I think J.T. Miller bumps the slump and terrorizes the Leafs for at least a pair of goals.

This is the way.

THE FINAL WORD

Canada will unite in dislike for one another when East battles West. A tale of two towns, deserving of a hero, deserving of a champion. There will be a victor and regardless of the result, TSN/Rogers/CBC/Muchmusic will all have the highlights immediately after the game. So there’s that.