Less than one week into the regular season, and the Vancouver Canucks already have their first back-to-back games of the year.
The team will be continuing their six-game road trip on Saturday afternoon with a contest against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. The Canucks are coming off their first victory of the 2021-22 campaign, beating the Philadelphia Flyers in the shootout on Friday afternoon, and will be looking to stay in the win column versus Troy Stecher and company.
The Canucks didn’t participate in a morning skate on Saturday morning, with head coach Travis Green giving his team some rest during the day. The bench boss briefly spoke to the media post-game on Friday night, and it appears that he won’t be making too many roster changes against Detroit.
The team entered Friday’s contest only with a few line-up changes, including Vasily Podkolzin making his first appearance on the top line alongside Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. Podkolzin was eventually replaced by Nils Höglander to start the middle frame, which provided a much-needed energy spark for the team en route to their four-goal second period, but it was still a solid outing for the Russian rookie.
Podkolzin finished the night with two SOG in just over 7 minutes of ice time but, more importantly, notched his first NHL goal in eye-popping fashion, thanks to this top-corner bullet past Carter Hart.
Don’t expect Podkolzin to return to the top-six rotation on Saturday afternoon, especially given Höglander’s strong and energetic start to the season, but fans should still be very excited that the 20-year-old winger has hit the scoresheet so quickly in his early NHL career.
The Canucks will also be without Brock Boeser for a third consecutive game. The 24-year-old winger is still nursing an undisclosed injury, but is very close to a return.
It appears that Green also won’t be tweaking his blueline pairings, either, opting for the services of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Quinn Hughes and Jack Rathbone on the left side, as well as Tyler Myers, Tucker Poolman and Kyle Burroughs on the right.
As expected, Hughes and Ekman-Larsson led the pack for ice time on Friday night, with both players logging over 25 minutes. Poolman rounded out the top three at 21:41, but was unfortunately on the ice for Philadelphia’s two last-minute goals in the final frame,
The only noticeable change will be between the pipes, as Green will likely be going with veteran Jaroslav Halak. This will be Halak’s first regular season appearance with his new team.
Halak will be facing off against fellow veteran Thomas Greiss between the pipes. Detroit will also be without the services of Dylan Larkin, who is serving a one-game suspension after his altercation with Mathieu Joseph of the Tampa Bay Lightning during Detroit’s season opener.
Puck drop is set for 4:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts heading into Saturday afternoon’s contest? Let us know in the comments!