Ben Kuzma’s Canucks Game Night: Balanced Line Combos Could Dull Sharp Sabers

Brock Boeser will return to the Canucks’ lineup against the Sabers, joining Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander on the top line.

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CANUCKS VANCOUVER
1-1-1, 3rd in Pacific Division

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at BUFFALO SABERS
2-0-0, 2nd in Atlantic Division

Today, 4 pm, Key Bank Center
TV: Sportsnet, Radio: Sportsnet 650

SEASONAL SERIES

First meeting of the season.

WHEN THEY LAST FOUND

December 7, 2019: Vancouver 6 at Buffalo 5 (Overtime)

WHY SEE

Teams look for an identity at the beginning of the season. The Canucks are noticeably faster and play at a better pace, while the Sabers seem to have found a way to be much better without the puck. He sets up an intriguing showdown with the Canucks sporting a power play that looks so good on paper, but is still transitioning to being a true difference maker. They have clicked for three goals in 13 chances and 20 shots and will be bolstered by Brock Boeser’s return from injury to make his season debut.

JT Miller will return to center against the Buffalo Sabers.
JT Miller will return to center against the Buffalo Sabers. Photo by Claus Andersen. /PNG

THREE THINGS

… about the Canucks

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• The Canucks need a three-line balance and moving JT Miller back to the middle to work between Justin Dowling and rookie Vasily Podkolzin will help. Miller and Podkolzin had some preseason chemistry and Miller is a monster in the fighting circle with an efficiency of 53 percent last season.

• Boeser joins Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander in an accelerated lineup and will look to build on his team’s 23 goals and 49 points in 56 games in 2020-21. There is the possibility of real firepower with Pettersson with two games of six shots and 19 attempts in three starts and Hoglander a pair of games of four shots and 13 attempts. But Pettersson has to improve in the circle. He was 2-for-7 in matchups Saturday at Detroit and is only 5-for-27 on the spot.

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• Bo Horvat remains in the middle between Tanner Pearson and Conor Garland, while Quinn Hughes had a day of maintenance Monday after recording 29:09 on Saturday with five shots and nine attempts.

Cody Eakin of the Buffalo Sabers.
Cody Eakin of the Buffalo Sabers. Photo by Scott Taetsch /PNG

… about the Sabers

• Who are these guys? They aren’t planning the parade route, but victories over Montreal and Arizona to start the season, and allowing just two goals for the first time in 13 years under new bench chief Don Granato, is reason to believe the Sabers will be much more difficult to overcome. play versus. They have rhythm and routine. “We always play fast on the bow check, on the back check and it gets a bit annoying for other teams,” center Cody Eakin said.

• Dribbling effect was fourth row on 15 shot attempts and none against Saturday in 2-1 penalty shootout win over Coyotes, fewer odd-man runs and jerky starts by goalkeepers Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski. Despite a five-goal outburst in a 5-1 win over the Canadiens to open the season, the Sabers could still struggle to score.

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• Jack Eichel continues to sit on the sidelines while waiting for a business solution and Casey Mittelstadt is injured.

CANUCKS LINES PROJECTED

Nils Hoglander – Elias Pettersson – Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson – Bo Horvat – Conor Garland

Justin Dowling – JT Miller – Vasily Podkolzin

Matthew highmore Jason Dickinson by Juho Pond

DEFENSE MATCHES

Oliver Ekman-Larsson as Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes – Tucker Poolman

Jack Rathbone as Kyle Burroughs

OBJECTIVES

Thatcher Demko, Jaroslav Halak

PROJECTED SABER LINES

Jeff Skinner – Dylan Cozens – Vinnie Hinostroza

Rasmus Asplund – Tage Thompson – Victor Olofsson

Anders Bjork – Arttu Ruotsalainen – Drake Caggiula

Zegmus Girgensons – Cody Eakin – Kyle Okposo

DEFENSIVE MATCHES

Will Butcher – Rasmus Dahlin

Christian Wolanin – Colin Miller

Robert Hagg as Mark Pysyk

OBJECTIVES

Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski

SPECIAL TEAMS

Canucks: PP 25.0% (17th) PK 57.1% (29th)

Sabers: PP 50.0% (5th) PK 100.0% (7th)

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