Vancouver Canucks Gameday: Singing the Christmas Blues

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 18: Colton Parayko
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 18: Colton Parayko /

The Vancouver Canucks roasting on an open fire, Brock Boeser sniping all the goals, big time players, injured left and right, and youth dressed up like eskimos, everbody knows that the Canucks need wins and some prospect growth.

The Vancouver Canucks have been in the holiday spirit as of late, bring joy to their opponents everywhere they go. In the last nine games alone they have allowed 41 goals! The last time the Canucks surrendered less than 3 goals in a game was the December 5th game against the Carolina Hurricanes where Jacob Markstrom finally got his first career shutout.

Though the Canucks have only won one of their last eight games, there are some positives that can be taken from this stretch of futility.

Brock Boeser has become what Canucks fans have been craving for this Christmas….a legitimate superstar. Though the guy does not have the flash and dash as some of the other young superstars in the league, but boy can he absolutely rip the puck.

The goal he scored against the Canadiens just goes to show that Boeser is not only the best shooter on the team, but he belongs in the same pantheon with superstar shooters like Alex Ovechkin, Patrik Laine, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Nikita Kucherov.  You can even make the argument that he has a better shot than Connor McDavid.

Another positive development has been the play of Jake Virtanen. He is finally beginning to understand the importance of using his speed and size to drive to the net, as opposed to stopping and turning to make a pass. By simply driving the net, he is giving himself and his teammates a good chance to score. If he can keep doing it on a consistent basis, then his selection over William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers won’t look nearly as bad as it does today.

As a whole, the Canucks team has recently shown that they can produce offensively without top point getters Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, which is very good considering that when those two get back, the Canucks have the makings of a decent team.

The Blues on the other hand have been on a little bit of a slump, losing three games in a row (and five of their last six games) coming into tonight’s matchup.  Though they have been losing a few games recently, the team still remains near the top of the western conference standings.  Look for them to come out swinging, trying to enter the Christmas holidays on a high note.

The Canucks will also look to do the same.

The Canuck Way has you covered in what’s going to be an epic Christmas eve’s eve battle!

Vancouver Canucks


2017-18 record: 15-16-5

Goals for: 97

Goals against: 116

Via RotoWorldBrandon Sutter (upper body, day-to day), Bo Horvat (ankle, out six-to-eight weeks), Chris Tanev (groin, out two-three weeks), Sven Baertschi (broken jaw, out four-to-six weeks).

Who’s on offence

Loui Eriksson has points in his last two games, and has been looking better of late. With 13 points in 24 games, he would be on pace for a 44 point season if he had played all 82 games. He is also shown that he can be streaky, so if he actually does land up reaching 40 points this year that would be a good step in the right direction. He is a very intelligent player, so chances are pretty good that he can reach that mark.

More from The Canuck Way

Virtanen recorded his first multipoint game of the season on Thursday, and it looks like his confidence has skyrocketed since he started using Brock Boeser’s stick (add link).

He played 14 minutes last game, which is the second most he has played in a game this entire season. The coach seems to be trusting him more, and hopefully that trust can be used in overtime games where Virtanen’s speed and shot would be a huge asset.

Who’s on defence

Alex Biega has been playing very well in the place of analytics darling Ben Hutton. With 3 points in 2 games, he has shown that he has the confidence of Travis Green. If he keeps playing well, it looks like either Hutton will stay in the press box or Troy Stecher will be taken out of the lineup.

Speaking of Troy, he has had a rough start to the year. With his injury aside, Stecher has produced only 1 point in 22 games this year. Stecher and Hutton have a combined 5 points in 56 games this year. Alex Biega has 5 points in 19 games this year.

This is simply unacceptable. Though both have sterling analytics when it comes to getting the puck out of their zone and what not, their lack of offensive production is disturbing.

Even the hulking Erik Gudbranson who everyone likes to analytically assault has more points than Stecher. If that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is.

Who’s in goal

The Canucks goaltending is always crapshoot because both these goalies have been letting in crap shots. I think the Canucks go with Anders Nilsson in this one, since he tends to play more conservatively than Jacob Markstrom. But you never know with coach Travis Green.

Projected lineup

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jake Virtanen

Reid Boucher – Sam Gagner – Brock Boeser

Thomas Vanek – Alex Burmistrov – Loui Eriksson

Markus Granlund – Nic Dowd – Brendan Gaunce

Alexander Edler – Troy Stecher

Michael Del Zotto – Alex Biega

Erik Gudbranson – Derrick Pouliot

Anders Nilsson

Jacob Markstrom

*lineups courtesy of Daily Faceoff

St. Louis Blues

2017-2018 Record: 22-13-2

Goals For: 110

Goals Against: 93

Via RotoWorld: Carl Gunnarsson (upper body, day-to day), Sammy Blais (lower body, day-to day),  Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed, day-to-day), Jaden Schwartz (ankle, indefinitely)

Who’s on offence

Brayden Schenn has been on fire since being acquired in trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. With 17 goals and 40 points, he leads the team in both those categories. In particular, he has found instant chemistry with Vladimir Tarasenko, who is currently third on the team with 35 points.

The Blues have plenty of offensive weapons at their disposal with 12 players already in double digit scoring, with have of those players already having 20 points or more.

Who’s on defence

Alex Pietrangelo has been having an amazing year, with 24 points in 33 games to start the season. He is currently on pace to have his first 60 point season, which is extremely impressive for a defenceman. Look for him to eat up minutes in tonights game.

Colton Parayko is off to a great start too, with 20 points in his first 37 games this year. He is a constant threat on the powerplay with his heavy shot. Joel Edmundson has also been a quiet contributor with 6 goals on the year.

Who’s in net

Jake Allen is the starter for the team, but seeing that the Blues are facing the Canucks, they might turn to backup Carter Hutton for this game. With a 1.67 gaa and a 0.948 save percentage in 10 games, he has been very stellar. Good chance he starts this game.

Projected lineup

Dmitrij Jaskin – Brayden Schenn – Vladimir Tarasenko

Alex Steen – Paul Stastny – Tage Thompson

Vladimir Sobotka – Patrik Berglund – Magnus Paajarvi

Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Chris Thorburn

Joel Edmundson – Alex Pietrangelo

Colton Parayko – Robert Bortuzzo

Vince Dunn – Jordan Schmaltz

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Keys To Victory

Vancouver Canucks:

  1. Penalty Kill. The Canucks penalty kill has been absolutely abysmal as of late. They allowed three shorthanded goals in the last game, which has dropped their penalty killing rank to 27th in the league. If the Canucks want to stop losing, their penalty kill is going to have to be a lot better.
  2. Goaltending. The Canucks have allowed 4 or more goals in 7 of their last 8 games. Though this is not fully on the goaltenders, they still need to be better to help this team win.
  3. Pass it to Brock. Do I really need to say anything more?

St. Louis Blues:

  1. Capitalize on the powerplay. With the 23rd ranked powerplay, the Blues will have the perfect opportunity to improve that stat against a porous team like the Canucks.
  2. Quick Start. Get the pressure started early. The Canucks tend to give up goals early in the game.
  3. Schenn-sational. Brayden Schenn will need to keep his goal scoring ways up to help the Blues to victory.


Alex Hoegler

99. 2. 104. Final. 4

The Canucks just aren’t doing a whole lot right at the moment. The Blues are well balanced everywhere, and this visit to Rogers Arena should be a little easier than the one in November.

Andrew Nazareth

2. 99. 4. 104. Final

The goaltender finally stands on his head and makes save after save. Boeser and Virtanen get goals.

Scott Rosenhek

4. 99. 3. 104. Final

Next: Canucks roundtable: Injuries, Jake Virtanen, Sedins futures

Last time the Blues were in Vancouver, they erased a 3-1 lead to win in overtime. I expect more of the same. At least Canucks fans can watch Brock Boeser hit 20 goals before Christmas and earn that sweet bonus. Jake Virtanen will score again with Boeser’s magic hockey stick and Tarasenko and Schenn will respond with an attack of their own.