It’s a Friday afternoon showdown for the Vancouver Canucks.
After a 593-day hiatus, the team was finally able to travel south of the border to face off against the Philadelphia Flyers. This will be the regular season opener for Claude Giroux and his squad, who are hoping to appease their fans in attendance.
Meanwhile, the Canucks will be looking to get back into the win column after falling to the Edmonton Oilers in a shootout on Wednesday night during their regular season opener.
As expected, the Canucks participated in their morning skate at Wells Fargo Center on Friday, giving fans and media alike a better idea of which players will be suiting up for the game, and it appears that head coach Travis Green will be going with a similar roster to Wednesday.
The biggest change, of course, is the expected addition of rookie Vasily Podkolzin to the top-six forward rotation. Podkolzin made his NHL debut on Wednesday, playing alongside Justin Dowling and Juho Lammikko, but appears to have found a new home on the second line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.
Podkolzin will be slotting in for Brock Boeser, who is still sidelined with an undisclosed injury that he suffered during training camp. Boeser skated as an extra in practice with forward Nic Petan, which points toward the right winger sitting his second consecutive game.
Boeser’s position was initially filled by Alex Chiasson on Wednesday night. Chiasson, who recently signed a one-year, $750,000 contract after landing a PTO at the beginning of training camp, struggled to carry the top-six responsibility, and has been demoted to the fourth line as a result. We’ll have to wait and see if Chiasson also gets the boot from the team’s top powerplay unit.
It also appears that Green won’t be making any changes on the blueline, with Jack Rathbone and Kyle Burroughs expected to suit up as the team’s third-pairing duo for the second straight contest. Rathbone and Burroughs nudged out Brad Hunt and Luke Schenn to make the opening night roster on Wednesday night, and definitely made the most of their ice time and opportunity against the Oilers.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers, Quinn Hughes and Tucker Poolman will round out the top-four defensive core, with fans still buzzing about Myers’ bone-crushing hit on Duncan Keith.
Thatcher Demko will also be starting between the pipes. Demko stopped 32 of 34 shots on Wednesday night, bringing his numbers to a 1.85 GAA and a .941 SV%.
Zack MacEwen won’t be in the Philadelphia lineup on Friday. MacEwen, who was claimed off waivers by the Flyers on Wednesday, is still in the process of securing his work visa. The 25-year-old notched six goals and three assists in 55 games with Vancouver.
Puck drop is set for 4:00pm PST.
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