Devils Jack Hughes, Canucks Quinn Hughes

Canucks Game Day 39: Roadie Bounce Back, Hughes-Fest Interrupted?

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: Vancouver Canucks at New Jersey Devils

Where: Prudential Center

When: 4 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet / AM-650

Key Factors:

Expected starting goalkeepers: Thatcher Demko for Vancouver, Nico Daws for New Jersey.

The Canucks begin a three-game-in-four-nights stretch, games 2, 3, and 4 of their seven-game road trip.

The Devils played last night at home against the Chicago Blackhawks and won 4-2.

Jack Hughes, the Devils leading scorer and the younger brother of Canucks captain Quinn, fell awkwardly in the 3rd period, left the game, and didn’t return. He won’t play Saturday evening.

Two of three Hughes brothers will play in Saturday’s match, with Devils D-man Luke Hughes available to go. He played 20:52 and had one shot-on-goal against Chicago.

Canucks D-man Carson Soucy has been activated for the Canucks. He hasn’t played since November 12th against the Montreal Canadiens. Behemoth Nikita Zadorov will sit out.

Vancouver lost forward Phil Di Giuseppe to a lower body injury in Tuesday’s game against Ottawa and replaced him on the roster with call-up Linus Karlsson. PDG has been place on long-term injured reserve. The Swede played 9:17 in Thursday’s loss.

As expected, winger Andrei Kuzmenko was the healthy scratch on Thursday evening. He’ll switch places with Karlsson against the Devils.

The two teams met on December 5th at Rogers Arena with the Devils winning 6-5. Jack had a goal and two assists, while brother Luke added a goal for New Jersey. Oldest brother Quinn had two assists for Vancouver.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Conor Garland scored the lone goal for the Canucks on Thursday night, with assists to Teddy Blueger and Dakota Joshua. No surprise considering the third line’s effectiveness over the last three weeks. Center Blueger is the poster boy, with ten points over his last nine games.

J.T. MIller is 7th in league scoring, sitting on 50 points, while Hughes’s lead atop the D-men scoring table has slipped to one point over Cale Makar of the Avalanche, 46 to 45.

Kuzmenko’s game had slipped enough again to be scratched. From the sounds of it, Nils Höglander might also be on coach Rick Tocchet’s rotation list.

Before his injury, prognosis unavailable, centre Jack Hughes was on top of Devils scoring with 45 points.

21-year-old Swedish winger Alexander Holtz has five points over his last four games, including back-to-back two-point games.

19-year-old defenceman Simon Nemec had two points against the Blackhawks and was voted the game’s 1st star.

Special Teams

The Canucks power play went 0-for-1 against the Blues two nights ago while the PK stopped both St. Louis PP chances.

On the season Vancouver has produced a 24% success rate on the man advantage while the penalty kill succeeds 78.1% of the time.

Remarkably, the Devils top-rated NHL power play went a whopping 0-for-6 against the Blackhawks last night, slipping their season efficiency rate to 30.6. (Chicago’s PK ranks 29th in the NHL). They also gave up a shorthanded goal.

The Devils penalty kill gave up a goal on five Blackhawks chances. The NJ PK is at a subpar 76.7% on the season.

Coming In:

Canucks: 24-11-and-3 for 51 points, the fifth most in the NHL, coming off a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Devils: 21-14-and-2 for 44 points, good for 5th place in the Metro Division after a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

Recent Canucks:

— Canucks Prospect Named World Juniors MVP

— Friday’s Video featuring Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek talking Canucks …

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek on “Simmer’s Morning Skate”

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.
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