Gameday Skate: Things to watch for in Canadiens vs. Canucks matchup on HNIC

Canucks Host Canadiens

Canucks gameday links: NWSB Matchup Insight | NWSB Preview + Prediction

The Vancouver Canucks will look to get back into the win column tonight against Montreal Canadiens as they continue their early season road swing tonight on Hockey Night In Canada. The Canucks were soundly beaten by the Sharks again on Thursday, and will have to adapt to a slightly new lineup tonight opposite their Canadian rivals.

Below are five keys to tonight’s Hockey Night In Canada showdown.

Edler Sits

Alex Edler will miss the first of three games tonight due to suspension after a dangerous hit to the head of Sharks forward Tomas Hertl during Thursday’s loss.

While Canucks fans were upset with the latest round of supplemental discipline handed out to a Canuck, the NHL has clearly begun to crack down on contact to the head, whether it be intentional or not.

Edler didn’t seem to target Hertl’s head, but clearly struck the young forward in a a dangerous position and wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt as a repeat offender.

Zack Kassian should be fresh in his first regular season action tonight against the Habs.

Zack Kassian should be fresh in his first regular season action tonight against the Habs.

Yannik Starts

While the Canucks will surely miss Alex Edler tonight the vacancy on Vancouver’s blue line allows for Yannik Weber to start against his old team tonight. Weber played 115 regular season games with the Habs, racking up 5 goals and 27 assists with the club.

Weber is also expected to receive some power play time tonight, filling in for the absent Edler.

Kassian Playing Catchup

Zack Kassian will make his regular season debut tonight for the Canucks after sitting out for five regular season games after a reckless high stick on Oilers forward Sam Gagner during the pre-season.

With Alex Burrows out of the lineup many expected Kassian to get his shot alongside the Sedin twins, but after a slow start to the pre-season Kassian will have to earn his spot in the top six under John Tortorella.

Kassian is expected to start on the Canucks’ third line tonight alongside Brad Richardson and David Booth.

Santorelli Rewarded

Mike Santorelli has been one of the Canucks’ most consistent players to start the season, and has been rewarded with a starting spot alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin tonight against the Habs. Santorelli has been Tortorella’s Swiss Army knife so far this year, thriving in a number of roles up and down the lineup.

Look for the former 20-goal scorer to be the benefactor of some wizardous Sedinery again tonight.

Stop Subban

Reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban has had hot start to the season for the Canadiens, putting up one goal and five assists over the first four games of the year.

The dynamic defenceman is a key part of the Canadiens’ scoring attack, and deserves special attention from the Canucks tonight if they are to slow down his point-per-game pace.

Subban has 44 points over his last 46 regular season games heading into tonight’s action.


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About Kevin Vanstone

Born in Vancouver, and a student at UVIC. "The Flying V" follows all things Canucks hockey and covers the best in CIS athletics around the Pacific Northwest. He loves to write about the athletes that used to show him up in his playing days.
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