Coming off an encouraging win Saturday night, The Vancouver Canucks have a legitimate chance to spoil the return of Alex Burrows and defeat the Ottawa Senators. Vancouver looked great against the better Edmonton Oilers team, so there is no excuse in falling short tonight.
Though it is only the second game of the NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks caught the attention of their fanbase Saturday night. Not only did they defeat the visiting Connor Mcdavid and the Oilers, they looked great doing so.
Two words: Speed and pace. Two aspects of the new system only those familiar with coach Travis Green seemed ready for prior to training camp. Yet, based on Saturday’s performance, the players are buying in!
Not only that, but the ice-time among the players was more balanced than we saw under Willie Desjardins. Other than Jake Virtanen who saw just over seven minutes, the rest of the Vancouver Canucks’ forwards saw between 13 and 19. Furthermore, Daniel, and Henrik Sedin‘s ice time was well managed as they skated 14:02 and 13:30 minutes respectfully.
Under a new system, where all players are expected to play 200-foot game, with the emphasis on aggressive pace, can the Vancouver Canucks outwork the former Eastern Conference finalists?
Bur is Back!
Now, the Vancouver Canucks on paper may not be better than the Senators; however, Ottawa is not the same team they were in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their most notable difference: the blue line.
Losing veteran Marc Methot was a big blow. Also, the ankle injury of Erik Karlsson is still nagging him because he has not yet dressed this season. This is serious. Yes, Karlsson has faced adversity and prevailed over critical injury – he is a freak of course – but no human body is invincible; so the jury is still out on how well he bounces back.
At the moment the Vancouver Canucks are looking to play a blue line where the top four consists of Dion Phaneuf, Cody Ceci, Chris Wideman, and Fredrik Claesson…hardly a playoff worthy defence squad. Also, the Senators may have depth at the forward position, but they do not have elite talent nor great speed.
Playing a lesser defense, with no particular players to fear, and being able to presumably out skate Ottawa, the Vancouver Canucks could match up well against a team that seems to have more structural issues than Vancouver.
So, for fans planning on going to Rogers Arena tonight, is the return of Burrows the only spectacle to be seen?
Of course not!
Green and the Vancouver Canucks took fans by surprise Saturday and chose to dress Virtanen over rookie Brock Boeser – who performed better than Virtanen in camp. Fortunately for the fans at home, the Canucks won and Virtanen played well.
Tonight however, Boeser may dress. Where in the line up you ask? Well it’s Travis Green so who knows! According to Halford & Brough on TSN 1040, Boeser and Virtanen are both working on a line with Alex Burmistrov and Sam Gagner. But, Boeser could very well play along side Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi if dressed.
On the other side of the rink, fans who were invested in last year’s World Junior tournament will be excited to see rookie Thomas Chabot dress for the Senators. Chabot was called up after Ben Harpur – who was called up before him – was injured in Saturday’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Without veterans Karlsson and Johnny Oduya tonight, the spotlight is on the talented rookie as he tries to prove to the Senators he is fit to stay.
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Chabot had one of the most positive and progressive junior careers for a defensemen. In 202 games in the QMJHL, Chabot scored 34 goals and 119 assists with a 0.76 points per game average! He won the tournament MVP last year at the World Juniors scoring four goals and 10 points, and started the season off in the AHL with a goal and an assist in two games.
The young defencemen plays a solid two-way game, is quick both on his feet and cognitively, has good hands, and is a decorated skater. Chabot is a spitting image of what NHL clubs want in complete blue liner.
The Senators hope Chabot’s offensive skill on the back-end will compensate for Karlsson’s production. He will be paired with Widemen on the power-play.
Two and Oh!?
The Vancouver Canucks, weather dressing Boeser or not, are going to put on a show for fans this evening. From showcasing young talent on both ends of the ice, to the awaited tribute video for Burrows, fans should be entertained. Here are the projected line ups:
D. Sedin-H. Sedin-Vanek
The Senators have had trouble generating offence as of late. This will be the game Brock Boeser gets his first goal of the season.
I’ll be at this game to see the tight Ottawa defence spoil the excitement from Saturday’s victory. The Senators have the speed and system to shut down Vancouver’s young guns.
Canucks answer with flashes, but overall cannot break Boucher and the boys. Senators win in overtime.
Both goalies play really well and make it a tight game.
The young Ottawa blueline will give up a few goals against but will show the Canucks how youth and creativity from the blueline can catalyze the offence and outscore Vancouver.
Ottawa is stumbling out of the gate and the crowd will have a lot of life. Canucks love to win a few at the start to give us false hope. Game-winning goal comes from Sedin power play unit.
Though a few days have passed, Green does not seem like the coach who takes his foot off the pedal when rolling. If the Vancouver Canucks put their speed on display again tonight, and if they use the momentum gained by beating the Oilers, they will defeat the bland Senators.