Can the Vancouver Canucks get back on track for their current playoff push?
After surrendering a much-needed point during their 4-3 shootout loss to the Senators on Tuesday, the team hit the road to square off against Kirill Kaprizov and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
With the deflating defeat on Tuesday, the Canucks found themselves five points back of the Los Angeles Kings, who were able to come away with a massive 2-1 victory against Anaheim that same night. The Kings currently hold the third position in the Pacific Division, with one less remaining game than Vancouver.
The Canucks are also chasing the Vegas Golden Knights, who maintained their lead over their Pacific Division rival with a comeback overtime victory against Washington on Wednesday night, setting us up for a photo finish into the playoffs.
As expected, head coach Bruce Boudreau addressed the media following their morning skate on Thursday, giving both fans and media a glimpse of what to expect for their pivotal road match-up.
The biggest update will take place in the forward group, with Boudreau confirming that Alex Chiasson will return to the line-up after missing the past two contests with a non-COVID illness.
Chiasson, who was red-hot prior to his absence with five goals and four assists during a personal five-game point streak, is expected to play alongside J.T. Miller and Vasily Podkolzin, while Conor Garland will slot down to the second line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.
The Canucks will also be without back-up netminder Jaroslav Halak, who was forced to leave Tuesday’s game with an apparent injury. Halak, who stopped 14 shots prior to his exit, appeared to be in quite a bit of discomfort after a goal mouth scramble late in the first period.
As a result, the team was forced to recall Spencer Martin from the AHL under emergency conditions. Martin, who has been stellar with Abbotsford as of late, will be serving as the understudy for Thatcher Demko.
Thursday night will mark the third and final contest between the two clubs.
Minnesota was able to secure three of a possible four points in the first two contests, but had a much more difficult time against Vancouver in their most recent match-up. The Canucks were able to come back from behind to force overtime, but eventually fell to Joel Eriksson Ek, who notched the OT winner for the home team.
Thursday will also mark the third time that the Canucks will be squaring off against Cam Talbot.
Talbot, who is coming off a 2-0 shutout victory against Montreal earlier in the week, will be looking to continue his winning ways against Vancouver. In his two contests against the Canucks this season, Talbot has only surrendered four goals while also posting a 1.99 GAA and .923 SV%.
Puck drop is set for 5:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts heading into Thursday’s pivotal match-up against Minnesota? Let us know in the comments!