Can the Vancouver Canucks make it eight in a row?
The team will continue their California road trip on Thursday night, facing off against Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings. It’s been a December to remember for the Canucks so far, who were able to keep their winning ways alive against the Ducks on Wednesday night in the first half of their back-to-back.
With the victory, the Canucks have now gone 7-0-0 under new head coach Bruce Boudreau, bringing them just four points back of the Edmonton Oilers, who currently hold fourth place in the Pacific Division and, more importantly, the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Similar to their contest in Anaheim, the Canucks were unfortunately dealt more roster changes on Thursday morning, with forward Justin Dowling becoming the most recent addition to the league’s COVID-19 protocol list. Dowling joins teammates Brock Boeser and Phillip Di Giuseppe, who will also be kept out of the line-up on Thursday after receiving their positive test results the day before.
With the loss of Dowling, it was initially expected that the Canucks would be forced to go with 11 forwards and seven defencemen in Los Angeles, given that blueliner Kyle Burroughs was the only healthy scratch on Wednesday.
However, it appears that the team could be able to roll four full lines after all, thanks to forward Matthew Highmore being activated from injury reserve.
Highmore, who had missed the past 24 games after being dealt an upper-body injury way back on October 28th, will resume his usual role on the fourth line with Tyler Motte and Juho Lammikko, meaning that Alex Chiasson will likely get a second consecutive chance to skate in the top-six rotation alongside J.T. Miller and Tanner Pearson.
Jaroslav Halak will also get the nod between the pipes for just the seventh time this season. Despite his current statistics, the 36-year-old has been solid in all of his appearances this year, and will be looking to secure his second victory in a Canucks uniform.
Halak’s last start took place on December 14th at Rogers Arena, when he and his team were able to come back from 3-0 to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets in thrilling fashion. Halak currently holds a record of 1-4-1 with a 2.88 GAA and .905 SV%, and will be definitely be relied up on to help the Canucks finish 2021 on a positive note.
Puck drop is set for 7:30pm PST from Crypto.com Arena.
What are your thoughts heading into Thursday night’s tilt in Los Angeles? Will the Canucks be able to secure another victory against the team that kickstarted their current winning streak? Make sure to drop a comment below!