Gameday preview: Canucks vs Panthers (January 21)

After nine straight games on the road, the Vancouver Canucks will be finally playing a game at home. Their opponent is the Florida Panthers.

The Canucks and Panthers last met in Sunrise on January 11. The Panthers ended up winning that game 5-2. Florida is playing the second game of a back-to-back. They were in Edmonton on Thursday night and beat the Oilers 6-0. The Panthers have won five out of their last six games. They also have a 27-8-5 record and are in first place in the NHL.

The Canucks are coming off a five-game road trip where they went 2-3. Their last game was a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators. However, they will be without Thatcher Demko and J.T. Miller as they entered the COVID-19 protocol on Thursday. They join Bo Horvat, Conor Garland and Jaroslav Halak in the COVID protocol.

So this is how the Canucks lined up for the morning skate.

With Demko and Halak out, the Canucks have Spencer Martin and Michael Dipietro as the goaltending tandem. Martin will get the start against the Panthers. He has started three NHL games and they were all in the 2016-17 season when he was with the Colorado Avalanche. Marin went 0-2-1 with a goals against average of 4.35 and a save percentage of .865.

The Panthers will have Spencer Knight in goal. So it’s the battle of the Spencers.

Here is how the Canucks power play units looked at the morning skate. Alex Chiasson was back on the first unit.

It is also “Hockey Talks” night. It is a night where the organization raises awareness and supports positive change around mental health issues. Hockey Talks is a program that was inspired by former Canuck Rick Rypien who dealt with mental health issues throughout his career and tragically took his own life in August of 2011.

The Canucks coaching staff was seen wearing “37 RYP” sweaters at practice and the players will wear Hockey Talks stickers on their helmets throughout the game.

Players to watch

Vancouver Canucks- Elias PetterssonPettersson has three goals in the last two games. We shall see if he can continue his scoring ways against the Panthers. Is he really back?

Florida Panthers- Jonathan Huberdeau: Huberdeau leads the Panthers with 54 points in 40 games. (15 goals and 39 assists.) He is tied for second in the NHL in points with Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers and is two points behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the league lead.

Puck drop is at 7:00 PM. You can watch the game on Sportsnet Pacific or listen to it on Sportsnet 650.