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Canucks vs Hurricanes Game Day Report: Hammer Returns

D8d194f40cb13417f79d4d8daee34fdb?s=96&d=mm&r=g
DH Vancouver Staff Jan 16, 2015 9:00 am

The Canucks continue their five game Eastern road swing with a Friday night duel against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes (14-24-5) are essentially the Edmonton Oilers of the East. Translation: Win or feel shame!

Matchup

Game Time: 4:00 pm

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

The Canucks took care of business with a 4-0 win over the lowly Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night and look to continue their mastery of winning games they should win against the Hurricanes. Carolina has been a central figure in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes all season and very likely will be sitting right at the bottom of the standings with the Oilers by season’s end. For the Canucks, it is all about banking points in the extremely tough Pacific Division.

Storylines

1. Hamhuis Returns

Image:  canucks.nhl.com

After what seems like an eternity, Dan Hamhuis returns to the Canucks lineup. Hamhuis’ return will send a ripple effect through the team. His steady influence on the back-end cannot be understated, nor can Hamhuis’ effect on the play of Kevin Bieksa. This cannot come at a better time. Bieksa’s game is in decline, but Hamhuis seems to be the perfect partner for him. Essentially the Canucks are not only getting their best defenceman back, but will be getting the best of Bieksa back as well.

2. Bonino Ready To Go On A Tear?

I realize that the Canucks were playing a fairly horrid Philadelphia Flyers team, but there had to be a collective exhale when Nick Bonino sniped that beauty early in the 1st period of last night’s game. The Sedins, along with Radim Vrbata simply cannot be counted on for the bulk of the offence on a nightly basis. When the Canucks were rolling early, Bonino with Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins were providing a lot of secondary scoring help. When the second line is not scoring or, at the very least, do not look dangerous, opposing teams simply throw everything at the Sedin line and take their chances with the rest of the Canucks forward lines. A productive Bonino completely changes the Canucks lineup as a whole. Dare I say this? Bonino is the key to whether or not the Canucks make the playoffs.

3. Zack Kassian

kassian2

Image:  canucks.nhl.com

No. Not yet anyway.

Lineup

Willie Desjardins will likely ice the same lineup from the Flyers game with the exception of Dan Hamhuis in for Ryan Stanton. If Desjardins wants to get Zack Kassian back in the lineup, Linden Vey would be the most likely candidate to sit out.

If Ryan Miller starts, it will be the first time he has started both games in a back-to-back situation this season.

*Update: Sbisa sits, likely for Stanton. Corrado is in for Weber.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Vrbata
Higgins Richardson Burrows
Matthias Bonino Vey
Dorsett Horvat Hansen
Edler Tanev
Hamhuis Corrado
Stanton Bieksa
Miller

Prediction

Willie Desjardins has made the rare decision to play Ryan Miller on a back-to-back following the shutout victory in Philadelphia. Miller will make Desjardins look like a genius. The Canucks take this game 3-0. You got it, back-to-back shutouts! I’m calling it. The Canucks bank two points, @RobTheHockeyGuy updates Miller’s stats boldly proclaiming Miller a “slightly better than average starter”, and #TeamLack remains silent for another day.

https://twitter.com/RobTheHockeyGuy/status/555920191431790594

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D8d194f40cb13417f79d4d8daee34fdb?s=96&d=mm&r=g
DH Vancouver Staff
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