Vancouver Canucks Game Day: December 5 vs. Boston Bruins, Panic Mode?

December 5, 2015, 2:27 PM ET [289 Comments]  
Carol Schram
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Saturday December 5 - Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins - 7:00 p.m. - CBC, TSN1040

Vancouver Canucks: 27 GP, 9-10-8, 26 pts, fourth in Pacific Division
Boston Bruins: 24 GP, 13-8-3, 29 pts, fifth in Atlantic Division

The coach pulled no punches about the importance of tonight's meeting with the Boston Bruins during his postgame comments after Thursday's loss to Dallas.

From Jason Botchford's Provies:

“Boston’s a must game, we have to see a good performance against Boston,” the coach said.

“We have to see it.”

Last season, the Canucks romped over the Bruins with a 5-2 win at Rogers Arena on February 13th—the game that features Shawn Matthias' hat trick and the accompanying garbage can full of hats.

The season before, the home win against Boston on December 14th was the high-water mark of Torts' tenure in Vancouver. The team was riding a six-game winning streak, and the coach used a second-period time out with the score tied 1-1 to shake his team out of complacency as they cruised to a 6-2 win.

That's also the night Milan Lucic got into his postgame scrap on Granville St. and subsequently disowned the City of Vancouver.

Things do get interesting when Boston comes to town. Brad Marchand's still bound to inspire some sour feelings even if Lucic has moved on.

The Bruins are arriving for the second half of a back-to-back after losing in overtime last night in Calgary. That game was a see-saw affair, amped up by the emotion of the team's first encounter with their old pal Dougie Hamilton. Boston's only lead came when Marchand scored on a shorthanded penalty shot after an error on the power play by Hamilton to make the score 4-3 with 1:04 left in the third period.

But Jiri Hudler tied the game for the Flames with 1.2 seconds remaining, then Hamilton atoned for his mistake when he fed Johnny Gaudreau for the game-winner—and his second NHL hat trick—at 3:20 of overtime.

Will the Bs be amped up or deflated after such a hard-fought game? That's what we'll have to wait and see.

The same is true for the Canucks. Daniel Sedin's usually a pretty even-keeled guy—and he may not be aware that .500 hasn't been a good benchmark since the loser point was introduced—but he's advocating for a little extra from the boys tonight:

My latest piece for Canucks Army, which you can find here, looks at the impact that the Canucks' tough schedule is having on the team, but I also discovered that Vancouver's not making the most of its easier opportunities. They're just 1-3-0 at Rogers Arena this season against opponents who are coming into town on a back-to-back, like Boston is tonight. 

Here's the group on the ice for this morning's optional skate:

Prust and Hamhuis both missed practice yesterday but are now back with the group, so this suggests they'll probably be available tonight.

The game-day preview at suggests that Ben Hutton and Chris Higgins will also be back in the lineup, though Luca Sbisa will likely remain sidelined.

Sbisa and Jared McCann spent time at Rogers Arena with 80 minor hockey players last night as part of the First Strides Hockey Camp initiative. Can you get a read on the condition of Sbisa's hand from these photos?

Jacob Markstrom is now confirmed to be starting:
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