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Canucks Game Night: Can Demko derail Duchene as Preds’ star on a roll?

The last time Vancouver checked into Music City, Thatcher Demko stopped 31 shots in a 3-1 Canucks victory

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VANCOUVER CANUCKS

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(before Monday game)

19-19-6, 7th in Pacific Division

at  NASHVILLE PREDATORS

27-14-4, 2nd in Central Division

Today , 5 p.m., Bridgestone Arena.

TV : Sportsnet. Radio : Sportsnet 650


WHY WATCH

Can Demko channel his last outstanding Music City outing?

Thatcher Demko made 31 saves on Jan. 18 in Nashville as the Canucks ended a gruelling five-game road trip against elite teams with a 3-1 victory. With Bo Horvat, Conor Garland and backup stopper Jaroslav Halak in COVID-19 protocol, the All-Star Game-bound starter wasn’t afforded a rare night off and put in another stellar performance to help rally the club from a 1-0 deficit. Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Juho Lammikko provided the offence and Demko added confidence that the Canucks can slog through COVID-19 absences.

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POINTS LEADERS

CANUCKS

(before Monday game)

1. J.T. Miller GP 42 G 15 A 29 PTS 44 (+4)

2. Quinn Hughes GP 43 G 2 A 31 PTS 33 (+9)

3. Elias Pettersson GP 44 G 11 A 13 PTS 24 (-1)

PREDATORS

1. Roman Josi GP 43 G 13 A 30 PTS 43 (+7)

2. Matt Duchene GP 41 G 21 A 19 PTS 40 (+1)

3. Mikael Granlund GP 43 G 6 A 31 PTS 37 (+6)


SPECIAL TEAMS

CANUCKS : PP 19.7% (17th) PK 69.5% (32nd)

PREDATORS: PP 25.0% (8th) PK 81.9% (12th)


THREE THINGS ABOUT THE PREDATORS

• Duchene unlocks goal door: Matt Duchene, 31, is on pace for a career-high 42 goals because linemates Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund are the perfect chemistry fit for the third overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. Duchene had five 20-goal seasons, and a 30-goal campaign, in previous stops in Colorado, Ottawa and Columbus.

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• Forsberg debate dwindling? Trade him. Keep him. The ongoing debate over Forsberg’s future is about losing the unrestricted free agent for nothing, or reaching a costly extension to retain a key offensive cog. Forsberg, 27, is fourth in team scoring with 36 points (22-14) and tied with Duchene with five game-winners.

• Josi gets all-star call: When captain Roman Josi, who is fourth in league scoring by defencemen, was overlooked in initial All-Star Game roster formation, it was considered a snub. But with Nathan McKinnon sidelined with a facial fracture and concussion, Josi joins the Central Division lineup to drive the offence.

bkuzma@postmedia.com

twitter.com/benkuzma


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