Can the Vancouver Canucks make it three in a row?
The team will continue their current six-game homestand on Friday night, facing off against Kyle Connor and the Winnipeg Jets.
Vancouver, who has looked rejuvenated and focused over their past two contests, will be looking to secure another victory for new head coach Bruce Boudreau, while Winnipeg will be hoping to rediscover their winning ways, having lost six of their past 10 contests.
The Canucks hit the ice at Rogers Arena on Friday for their morning skate, giving fans and media a glimpse at how Boudreau is planning to organize his line combinations.
It appears that the 66-year-old bench boss will once again rely on the defensive services of Bo Horvat, Jason Dickinson and Nils Höglander to shutdown Winnipeg’s top guns. The trio did an excellent job against the Perfection Line on Wednesday night, and will be looking to keep the momentum going against the Jets.
Boudreau will also be looking for Elias Pettersson to rediscover his explosive offence. The young Swede has struggled this season, having only registered 13 points in 27 games while also still searching for his first even strength goal of the year. Pettersson has looked much better under the new coaching regime, and appears to have created solid chemistry with Conor Garland and Vasily Podkolzin, but desperately needs to make a bigger impact on the scoresheet soon.
Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko and Alex Chiasson will round out the fourth line, while Brock Boeser will look to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games, playing alongside Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller.
Fortunately, since arriving in Vancouver, Boudreau hasn’t had to make many changes to the forward group, who has scored five goals in the past two games, but that unfortunately can’t be said for the blueline.
As a result, Brad Hunt and Kyle Burroughs will draw back into the line-up, while Luke Schenn and Tucker Poolman will have to take on a more elevated role with increased minutes. Noah Juulsen also practiced with the team on Friday after being recalled from Abbotsford.
During his media availability after practice, Boudreau confirmed that Hamonic will be sidelined for majority of December, while Ekman-Larsson should be back next week.
Thatcher Demko will get the nod between the pipes, searching for his third consecutive victory. Demko has been red-hot over the past two games, posting a 0.48 GAA and .985 SV% in six periods. He will be up against back-up netminder Eric Comrie, who hasn’t played a NHL contest since his team’s 3-2 loss against Vancouver back on November 19th.
The organization also went through few off-ice changes on Friday afternoon, with multiple sources reporting that Senior Director Jonathan Wall and Assistant GM Chris Gear have been relieved of their duties.
This was the first major decision under the direction of new President of Hockey Operations and Interim GM Jim Rutherford, who was hired by the team on Thursday.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts heading into Friday night’s tilt against Winnipeg? Make sure to drop a comment below!