Canucks vs Hurricanes Game Day Report: Who's on first?

Dec 20 2017, 3:39 am

Just 24 hours after kicking off their six-game road trip with a 4-1 loss against the NHL-leading Washington Capitals, the Vancouver Canucks hit the ice once again in Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.

These two teams met just nine days ago in Vancouver. On that night, the Canucks skated away with a 3-2 regulation victory thanks to two point nights from both Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.

Game Time: 4 p.m.

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Since they last met, the Canucks have gone 1-1-1 while the Hurricanes have won four straight, disposing of Columbus twice, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis just last night. With their win streak, Carolina has climbed to a tie for fourth in the Metropolitan Division and are right on the Eastern Conference wild card bar.

Leading scorers are defenceman Justin Faulk (32 points), and forwards Eric Staal (28), Kris Versteeg (27), and Victor Rask (27). Look for Cam Ward to start in goal as Eddie Lack played last night in St. Louis.



1. Back to Markstrom

Ryan Miller made his first start last night since December 20 and played well, stopping 36 of the 39 shots he faced from the high-powered Capitals. Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed after last night’s game that Jacob Markstrom will indeed start in goal tonight in Carolina.

Markstrom played well over the past three weeks, winning five of the eight games he started. He’s lowered his GAA to 2.44 and raised his SV% to .920. More importantly, he has shown that he can be a reliable starter for this club moving forward. As the Canucks continue to battle for a playoff position, it would behoove coach Desjardins to use both goalies going forward, especially on longer road trips and in back-to-back situations. We’ll worry about a potential goalie controversy later.


2. Who’s on first?

After a spirited ending to the game against the Florida Panthers earlier this week, Willie Desjardins surprised everyone by placing Derek Dorsett on the top line with the Sedin twins. Whether it was to reward Dorsett for standing up for the Sedins on Monday night, or a reluctance to break-up other lines, Desjardins stuck with the trio for the entire game last night. It looks as if the experiment might be a one-game thing only.

We’ll await the final lineup info (and update this section throughout the day), but look for Alex Burrows to be reunited with the twins on the top line. The second line of Bo Horvat between Sven Baertschi and Radim Vrbata had a poor game last night, and they were dominated from a puck possession standpoint. In fact, for the third period, Jake Virtanen took  Vrbata’s spot on the second line, and Vrbata played the period with Adam Cracknell and Brandon Prust on the fourth line.

If up to me, I’d put Vrbata with the twins in an effort to jumpstart him and give him some more confidence. (Notice I didn’t say anything about increasing his trade value). Put Virtanen alongside Baertschi and Horvat, Vey between Etem and Burrows, and either McCann or Cracknell between Prust and Dorsett.


3. Emerson = Energy

Newly-acquired Emerson Etem has made a solid if not unspectacular debut for the Canucks. In his first two games, he’s had six shots on goal, two hits, and two blocked shots in just over 24 minutes of total ice time.

Coach Desjardins said this about Etem after last night’s game: “I thought he was good. He’s pretty strong, he draws penalties with how he plays…there’s stuff to build on.”

Etem has looked comfortable playing with Linden Vey on the third line. He is a strong skater, he doesn’t shy away from contact, and he’s able to get to the front of the net. It will be interesting to see what happens to him when forwards Jannik Hansen and Brandon Sutter return to the lineup.



Judging from the optional morning skate and some radio chatter, it sounds like Taylor Fedun will be replacing Yannick Weber on the blueline.

Here’s a potential lineup for the Canucks tonight.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Burrows
Baertschi Horvat Virtanen
Etem Vey Vrbata
Prust McCann Dorsett
Edler Tanev
Hutton Fedun
Bartkowski Biega



Both the Canucks and Hurricanes are coming off games last night, and both teams had to travel into Carolina. Thus, neither team should count fatigue as a deciding factor.

Buoyed by their revamped lines, look for the Canucks to earn a hard-fought 3-2 win, ending the Hurricanes’ four-game winning streak in the process.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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