The Canucks and Flames will complete their back-to-back preseason set tonight back at the friendly confines of Rogers Arena. When the final horn blows, the preseason will be half over and the regular season will be that much closer.
Game Time: 7:00 p.m.
Despite being down 2-1 after 20 minutes last night, the Canucks showed some signs of life and it appeared this incarnation of the team was ready to stick with the Flames. However, then the floodgates opened and Vancouver looked helpless a la 2015 1st Round once again, albeit with an inexperienced lineup full of minor leaguers. Tonight, some of the regulars that didn’t play last night will slide in and hopefully offer a measure of opposition to the upstart Flames.
1. Grenier with the Sedins
One of the interesting storylines going into every Canucks season since 2000 has been the question of who will play with the Sedins. The Canucks know what they will get from Alex Burrows or Radim Vrbata in that spot, but they would love to play those players on other lines to improve their scoring depth. So for the moment, it’s audition time.
The next lucky player to flank the twins is 2011 third round pick Alexandre Grenier. Benning alluded to three players that may play with the Sedins in an interview with Bob McKenzie of TSN. Tonight, Grenier will audition to join Burrows and Vrbata as a Sedin linemate option this season.
“Alex Grenier, I think, has come a long way this year. There was a big improvement in his game. He got stronger, he’s got good hands for a big man… he was one guy that really improved. If he continues to improve he’s a guy that maybe come in and challenge for a spot at training camp, but that’s going to be up to him.”
Keep an eye on that line this evening as Grenier attempts to prove he belongs.
2. Miller looking to bounce-back
Ryan Miller will play in his second game of the preseason and many, including Miller himself, are hoping it is better than his first appearance against San Jose on Tuesday evening. Miller allowed 2 goals on 9 shots before eventually giving way to Joe Cannata just over halfway through the game.
With the departure of the highly touted fan favourite, Eddie Lack, Miller will have to endear himself to the Canucks faithful all over again. His contract doesn’t help, but playing at a high level to begin the season certainly would.
3. Is Horvat this team’s #2 centre?
— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) September 18, 2015
After a showcase for the hopeful prospects, the Vancouver coaching staff will turn to a more experienced lineup tonight at home.
One player that may lack experience though is Bo Horvat. After an impressive rookie season, the former first round pick is looking to avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump”.
Horvat will be in a battle with Brandon Sutter for the role of 2nd line centre this season. The youngster could make strides toward winning the job behind Henrik Sedin with a solid showing tonight, as he plays alongside Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata. Willie Desjardins admitted that Horvat proved him wrong last year, and Bo will look to surprise a few in the organization once again.
With a few more cuts to the preseason roster, this team is starting to take shape.
Shinkaruk and Pedan assigned to Utica. Hamilton and Bancks released but will attend Utica camp. #Canucks
— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) September 26, 2015
The rosters for tonight’s game have been released. Based on practice, we know how the first two lines will look, but we’ll have to guess a little bit for the rest.
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Grenier|
Admittedly, predicting a win last night may have been a little optimistic. Vancouver trotted out a squad consisting mostly of prospects and soon-to-be Utica Comets against a representative Flames lineup that clearly meant business in front of their home crowd.
Hopefully tonight’s home game will have a similar result, this time favouring the Canucks, as the Sedins, Burrows, Horvat, and Vrbata draw in alongside the team’s top three defencemen. Canucks get a small measure of revenge tonight, winning 5-2.