Canucks Game Day: Bounce back in the Desert?

The Canucks might be tired having played in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but they’ve got plenty to play for

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Vancouver Canucks (46-21-8) versus Arizona Coyotes (31-38-5)

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When and where: Wednesday, 7 p.m., Mullett Arena

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TV: Sportsnet. Radio: Sportsnet 650

The buzz: It’s not often you get an immediate chance to bounce back from a stinker. Tuesday’s 6-3 loss in Sin City was ugly. It stung. What’s worse is even in their early stumbles they looked like they might pull the game back; don’t forget they managed to make it 2-1 before an ugly goal made it 3-1. And then in the third they had clawed the game back to 5-3, only to make another series of gaffes to give up a sixth goal. Arizona is not good but they’ve been punchy lately. The Canucks absolutely must find a win. It really should be a big-sized win, not just any old win. The playoffs will be here soon.

• Tuesday’s loss also pulled the Oilers back into the picture: they’re just five points back of Vancouver with two games in hand. The Canucks desperately want to finish first in the division. That’s something to play for.

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• Watch out for the Coyotes’ offence: they have 19 goals in their last three games.

The history: The Canucks beat the Coyotes 2-1 on Jan. 18. The two teams will meet one more time before the season ends, a week from now at Rogers Arena.

The hope: No matter how things go Thursday in Vegas, the Canucks will be raring to go emotionally. And they’re fighting for a lot more than the Coyotes are this season: Vancouver wants to win the division, while the Coyotes, again, won’t be in the big dance.

The fear: The Coyotes are well-rested: they haven’t played since Saturday. And this won’t be an easy game: the Yotes may have sold off a number of players at the trade deadline, but they’re 5-5 in their last 10 games, and they’ve won 20 times at home this season.

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The top guns: J.T. Miller has six points in five games. He’s been a scoring machine in the second half and now needs just five points to hit 100 for the first time. Conor Garland has been a wizard lately: he had four goals and six assists in March. But this is troubling: Elias Pettersson is pointless in seven of his last nine games. He was the NHL’s third star of the month in January. It all seems a long time ago.

The quote: “You have to have a strong mindset. The structure, the guys have been doing a good job, it’s really the changes or the turnovers, it’s the miscellaneous stuff we’ve been struggling with. And that’s a mindset thing.” — Head coach Rick Tocchet on finding the next gear they need to achieve as they approach the playoffs

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The wounded: Canucks: Elias Lindholm (undisclosed, day to day), and Thatcher Demko (lower-body, week to week). Coyotes: Travis Boyd (upper body, week-to-week), and Barrett Hayton (lower body, week-to-week).

The lineup:

Forwards

Höglander-Pettersson-Boeser

Joshua-Miller-Garland

Mikheyev-Suter-Lafferty

Podkolzin-Blueger-Bains

Defence

Hughes-Hronek

Soucy-Myers

Zadorov-Juulsen

Goalie

Artūrs Šilovs

The prediction: The Coyotes aren’t great but this is a potential banana-skin game. You’d better hope the Canucks are motivated for this one after Tuesday’s debacle. Watch them reverse the 6-3 loss they suffered to the Golden Knights and beat the Coyotes by the same score.


(FAN FORUM: Do you have a specific question for a player? Pass it along to @provincesports and we’ll get it in a future edition.)

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reference: theprovince.com

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