Vancouver Canucks (10-3-1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8-5-2)
When/Where: Sunday, 4 p.m., Centre Bell
TV: Sportsnet Radio: Sportsnet 650
The buzz: The Vancouver Canucks looked a little tired in their 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The Montreal Canadiens did not in beating the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime.
For the third straight game, the Canucks will play a team who are playing the second night of a back-to-back. The only difference is this time the Canucks are also playing the second night in a row. And it’s also the third game in four nights for both teams as well; the Canadiens beat the Red Wings in Detroit on Thursday, then faced the Bruins at home on Saturday.
Can the Canucks re-group and re-energize? Or will Montreal carry their confidence from their big win Saturday into Sunday?
The history: The Canucks faced the Habs twice in the first half last season, with Montreal winning 5-2 at Centre Bell last November and then Canucks winning a wild affair 7-6 a month later at Rogers Arena. But both those games were under the direction of Bruce Boudreau; his replacement Rick Tocchet has the Canucks playing a much smarter, more disciplined style.
The hope: Three road games in four days is tough; but these Canucks have proven themselves to be pretty tough so far this season. The desire to keep showing their best in front of the eastern media should keep the Canucks motivated as they close their second tough road trip of the season.
The fear: Like the Canucks, the Habs have been getting stellar goaltending: they have the third-best five on five save percentage in the league. If ever there’s a team to stop the Canucks’ high-flying offence, it’s Montreal.
The top guns: Going into Saturday’s contest in Toronto, Brock Boeser had scored five goals in five straight games. Elias Pettersson now has points in eight straight games, while Filip Hronek has points in nine straight games, all assists (12)
The wounded: Canucks: Teddy Blueger (ankle, day to day) and Guillaume Brisebois (concussion, LTIR). Canadiens: David Savard (left hand fracture, IR), Kirby Dach (torn ACL and MCL in right knee, out for season)
The quote: “Just be better overall. Not be as sloppy, not turning pucks over.” — Elias Pettersson says he can be a lot better than he’s been.
Höglander-Lafferty-Beauvillier (Blueger is expected to suit up in place of one of these three.)
Casey DeSmith is expected to start in goal.
The prediction: They may be tired but this Canucks are here to prove a point. 4-2 win for Vancouver.
(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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