Canucks gameday: Looking to regroup against the Panthers


The Vancouver Canucks’ seven-game winning streak came to a catastrophic end on Tuesday. They’ll look to regroup against the Florida Panthers.

The Vancouver Canucks will attempt to pick up the pieces after their seven-game win streak was shattered in a 9-2 blowout against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The intensity will be turned up a notch tonight when Bo Horvat and company pay a visit to the Florida Panthers.

Elias Pettersson, who leads the Canucks with 45 points, will have to bring his absolute best in a head-to-head battle against the Panthers’ leading-scorer, Jonathan Huberdeau. Florida’s best player could reach the 100-point mark for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old Huberdeau is up to 57 points in 43 games.

Vancouver swept the season series last season 2-0 with scores of 3-2 in Florida and  5-1 at home. The Canuck faithful may be yet to forget what Panthers defenceman, Mike Matheson got away with last year, when he viciously injured Pettersson.

Head coach Travis Green failed to get any response of retaliation from his club. Surely with the team’s recent defeat, things are bound to get chippy this time around. Vancouver now has the players in place to keep Pettersson out of harm’s way.

After the sunny state bout, Vancouver will visit the Buffalo Sabres, the Minnesota Wild and the Winnipeg Jets to close out the road trip. Producing a few more wins on this eastern swing is critical in the tight Pacific Division playoff race.

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Players to watch

Jake Virtanen: The 23-year-old has four goals and eight points in his last 10 outings. His 12 goals and 12 assists have helped the team win plenty of games as of late.

Pointless in his last two contests, Virtanen could look to enter the game with a physical edge in an attempt to spark the offence for Vancouver. According to Daily Faceoff, Virtanen was promoted to the top line in practice and Brock Boeser joined the third line.

Can Virtanen get himself and Vancouver back on track alongside Pettersson and J.T. Miller? There couldn’t be a better time for the New Westminster native to prove his worth.

Aleksander Barkov: The 24-year-old is pointless in his previous five games. Last time he produced, he managed two goals and an assist against the Montreal Canadiens, but he has been a ghost ever since. Barkov will look to get his groove back against Vancouver.

Alex Edler: Vancouver’s top defenceman will look to calm his five other defenders on the back end as they gave up an embarrassing nine goals against Tampa on Tuesday. Edler is the Canucks go-to guy defensively, and Green could hand him some hefty minutes as the team tries to gain some confidence back in their goaltending.

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Prediction: 4-2 Canucks

The Canucks will be determined to find a win after a horrendous 9-2 stomping. Boeser playing on the third line gives the Canucks elite talent on three separate lines. Vancouver can physically out play Florida and have a very deadly power play. Adam Gaudette could see some time in the “Boeser spot” on the first unit if the Canucks get enough opportunities on the man advantage.