Vancouver Canucks, Rick Tocchet

Canucks Game Day 7: Unpredicta-Blues, Tocchet Vs. Berube

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks

Where: Rogers Arena

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet / AM-650

Key Factors:

Starting goalkeepers: Thatcher Demko for Vancouver, Jordan Binnington for St. Louis.

The Blues are off to a pretty decent start this season at 3-and-2, considering that like the Canucks, they’ve been known to get off to slow ones. That includes 2018-’19 when they started horribly, but ended up winning the Stanley Cup with Binnington in net.

Vancouver comes home to play its first back-to-back of the season with the New York Rangers looming for a Saturday night tilt. Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet can apply the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” logic to the line-up for this one as the team returns off a five game road trip feeling pretty good about itself.

For the second time this season Vancouver has won two games in a row.

“I really liked our practice yesterday so I think that’s a good sign for tonight,” Tocchet said Friday morning “I think if you let the “long-road-trip-letdown”, if you let that in your mind, maybe it affects you, but you have to be strong minded, and I think yesterday’s practice solidified the fact the guys were business-like and we’ll be business-like tonight.”

Tocchet is close to Blues head coach Craig Berube from their days together as players with the Philadelphia Flyers. They talk a lot.

“He knows what I want (in a game) and vice versa, so I just think it’s whatever team plays better tonight wins the game,” Tocchet said.

The Blues played last night in Calgary and shut-out the Flames 3-0.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Especially considering that Tocchet is watching Ilya Mikheyev’s minutes because he’s coming off injury, the Russian winger has been pretty good since returning to the line-up with a goal and assist in the last two games. He gels with his countryman and linemate Andrei Kuzmenko outside of centre Elias Pettersson. Mikheyev could take another step tonight.

Big 29-year-old Swedish winger Oskar Sundqvist is coming off a goal and an assist night against Calgary. He also added an assist in the 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on the weekend.

Special Teams

The Canucks are popping on the power play, number-three in the NHL at 33.3%. They went 0-for-1 on Tuesday.

The Canucks killed off all three Predators power plays earlier this week and slid up to a 78.3% efficiency rate on the season. They’ve killed 17 of 24 opposing man advantages.

The Blues power play is horrid at 5.3%, The penalty kill is a below average 75% and 19th in the NHL.

Coming In:

Blues: 3-and-2, coming off a 3-0 road victory over the Calgary Flames Thursday night.

Canucks: 4-and-2 record. In their last game, they beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Last season the Canucks lost to the Blues on December 19th at home during the latter stages of head coach Bruce Boudreau’s tenure. Or at least it should have been the latter stages; he was hung out to dry for a couple of weeks longer.

The Canucks then won in St. Louis on February 23rd, 3-2 in OT under Tocchet. The head-to-heads finished up during sloppy season on March 28th in St. Louis with the home team prevailing in overtime 6-5.

The Canucks will next see the Blues in St. Louis on January 4th.


— Canucks Morning After; Homestand Begins In 2nd Place

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.