Can the Vancouver Canucks keep their playoff hopes alive?
After coming away with the much-needed two points in a chaotic 4-2 win over San Jose on Saturday night, the team will be looking to keep the momentum going against Jack Eichel and the Vegas Golden Knights.
With the win over the weekend, the Canucks managed to extend their current winning streak to three games, and will be hoping to maintain that trend against another Pacific Division rival on Tuesday.
More importantly, of course, the Canucks were able to move within just six points of the Dallas Stars for the second and final wild card position in the Western Conference.
The big issue? Vancouver is also desperately trying to catch up to Vegas, who are only two points back of Dallas, setting us up for what should be a photo finish ending to the regular season.
Both teams have nine games remaining on the schedule.
After taking a day off on Sunday, the team took to the ice for practice on Monday morning, giving fans and media a glimpse of the possible line combinations ahead of Tuesday’s pivotal tilt.
As expected, head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t make too many changes to his roster, hoping that he can rely on the same personnel, such as Vasily Podkolzin, J.T. Miller and Alex Chiasson, that helped secure six points over the past three games.
Of course, Boudreau is also quite limited on who he can utilize given the team’s current injury list.
According to the 67-year-old bench boss, the Canucks will still be without winger Brock Boeser, who suffered an upper-body injury during last Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Vegas, as well as Tanner Pearson, Matthew Highmore and Nils Höglander.
Pearson could return to the team as early as next week, but it doesn’t appear as hopeful for Highmore and Höglander, both of whom have been sidelined since mid March.
As expected, Thatcher Demko will get the nod between the pipes.
The 26-year-old, who secured his 30th win of the year on Saturday, will once again be relied upon during this final stretch to try and keep his team’s slim playoff aspirations alive.
Demko will likely be squaring off again Robin Lehner, who will be looking for his third win since returning from injury on April 3rd.
Vegas could also have one more player returning from IR in Mark Stone, who has been listed as a game-time decision for Tuesday night. Stone, who has been out of the line-up since February 8th, could return to the wing alongside Chandler Stephenson and Max Pacioretty.
This will be the fourth and final contest between these two teams for the 2021-22 season. As most fans unfortunately remember, Vegas wiped the floor with Vancouver back in November, a 7-4 beatdown under former bench boss Travis Green.
The Canucks were able to bounce back in the next two outings, securing three of a possible four points from the Golden Knights, including a convincing 5-1 victory on Wednesday.
However, given the current playoff race, there’s no doubt that Tuesday’s game will have the biggest implications for both clubs and their postseason dreams.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts ahead of Tuesday night’s tilt against Vegas? Let us know in the comments!