Vancouver Canucks (9-2-1) vs. Ottawa Senators (4-6-0)
When/Where: Thursday, 4 p.m., Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Sportsnet Pacific. Radio: Sportsnet 650
The buzz: The Canucks are shooting the lights out and getting outstanding goaltending to boot. Everything is going right for this team, who have won four straight and are beginning a three-game road trip in Eastern Canada starting with Thursday’s game in Ottawa. The vibes are excellent — but you know a bump is coming.
The history: The Canucks beat the Senators twice last season, once under Bruce Boudreau, once under Rick Tocchet. They are better this year than they were last year, while the Senators continue to be coached by D.J. Smith. That said, the Sens have also scored the fifth-most goals per game this season.
The hope: The Canucks just keep rolling, even as the bounces stop going their way. Thatcher Demko is in the stratosphere, but his talent is good enough to still fly at a slightly lower altitude. The offence is definitely going to dry up some, the question is how much?
The fear: The Senators should be tired, having played in Toronto on Wednesday. But sometimes the energy from the night before carries over, especially when you’re hosting a team that has been off for a couple days like the Canucks have.
The top guns: Have you heard Quinn Hughes is on fire? He has 12 points in five games. Have you heard Elias Pettersson is on fire? He’s the NHL scoring leader. For the Senators, captain Brady Tkachuk had eight goals in 10 games before Wednesday’s tilt versus the Leafs. Tim Stützle and Claude Girous both have 11 points in 10 games.
The wounded: Canucks: Teddy Blueger (ankle, day to day) and Guillaume Brisebois (concussion, LTIR). Senators: Artem Zub (concussion, day-to-day), Ridly Greig (lower body, week-to-week), Erik Brannstrom (concussion, day-to-day), Mark Kastelic (high-ankle sprain, week to week), Thomas Chabot (fractured hand, LTIR)
The quote: “It’s just crazy that we lived together and I’ve known him so long and we’re pretty close growing up. I’ve seen all the stupid things he’s done and he’s seen all the stupid things I’ve done at 15 and just to see where he’s gone is pretty special. He’s an amazing person and a great teammate and Ottawa is lucky to have him. ” — Canucks captain Quinn Hughes to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy about Senators captain — and old friend — Brady Tkachuk.
Höglander-Lafferty-Beauvillier (Blueger also skated on the fourth line on Wednesday during practice)
The prediction: The tired Senators are a fun team but the Canucks are firing on all cylinders. Vancouver will win this one 5-3.
(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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