The Vancouver Canucks continue their road trip in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. It’s a brutal month for a team who is likely going to have difficulties keeping up in 2018-19. Nevertheless, for a team who is predicted to finish at the bottom of the league, they’ve done a nice job on the road most recently. They already have wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers in back-to-back games, and now they will look for another against the Penguins.
Maybe they are better than originally advertised? I don’t think they are a basement dweller, there is enough talent on offence for them to avoid that, but they aren’t good by any means. Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser, along with rookie Elias Pettersson, will do enough to keep them from selecting first in the draft. There isn’t much room for injuries, though, and the Canucks are already having to deal with the injury bug. With a thin blueline, the offence can’t afford to be nicked up.
The Canucks recently announced that rookie Elias Pettersson and veteran Jay Beagle are out on Tuesday. Pettersson will be out at least two games and potentially longer depending on how he feels. He received a concussion after Mike Matheson delivered a head shot on Pettersson. Matheson has since been suspended for the hit.
Pettersson had been the best player on the ice for the Canucks. He’s already registered 5 goals and 3 assists with a +/- of 1. At only 19 years old, he has a bright future in Vancouver. Pettersson will have to wait to get back on the ice, however. Former Capital, grinder Jay Beagle, could be out for more than a month. The Canucks have called up Adam Gaudette to replace Beagle. Meanwhile, the Pens are coming off a shootout loss to the Canadiens on Saturday night. It was their second loss to the Canadiens this season. Head below for our free Canucks vs. Penguins pick.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick
With Pettersson out with a concussion, all the Canucks would need is Boeser and Horvat to get injured. It doesn’t look like this is going to be a long-term issue for Pettersson, but this just outlines the lack of depth the Canucks have. When Boeser and Horvat got injured last season, the ship sank quickly in Vancouver. Boeser has gotten off to a relatively slow start, as he’s tallied just 1 goal and 2 assists.
He will eventually get into a groove, though. Sidney Crosby has gone through dry spells in his career with people wondering what’s going on, and all of the sudden he flips a switch and catches fire. Crosby is still looking for his 1st goal this season, as he’s recorded 4 helpers with no goals thus far.
Matt Murray has been cleared to play tonight after suffering a concussion. Murray has struggled with a 0.831 save percentage and 5.50 GAA in two starts against the Capitals and Canadiens. The Pens could go with him or turn to Casey DeSmith again, who has been adequate in net with a 0.935 save percentage and 2.40 GAA.
There isn’t any reason to rush back Murray, but the Penguins might want him to get his confidence back quickly. Playing against a Canucks team who are down their hottest offensive player on Tuesday night would likely be able to provide that. Whether it’s Murray or DeSmith, the Penguins should be able to bounce back after blowing a 2-goal lead against the Habs in Montreal. The Canucks will be reshuffling the lines without Pettersson and Beagle in the lineup. On this long road trip and coming off two impressive wins, they’re probably due for a letdown spot against a Pens team looking for a complete performance back on home ice.