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GAME DAY: Vancouver Canucks at Ottawa Senators

Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson
Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson

Vancouver (34-22-6) at Ottawa (21-31-12)

Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Canadian Tire Centre, TSN5, RDS2, TSN 1200 AM, Unique 94.5 FM

THE BIG MATCHUP

Thomas Chabot vs. Elias Pettersson

The Senators defenceman has been a busy man since returning to the lineup Monday against the Jackets, playing two games with 32-plus minutes in ice time. He played only 4:20 against Montreal last weekend, leaving the game as a result of a hit from Brendan Gallagher in the first period. Chabot has his work cut out for him in this one because Pettersson has four goals and six points in three career games against Ottawa. Shutting Pettersson down is pivotal for the Senators in this one.

FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Start Marcus Hogberg

At some point, he’s going to get sent back to the club’s AHL affiliate in Belleville because he’s an emergency recall and when Anders Nilsson is ready to go Hogberg will have to go back to the AHL. This is a good opportunity for Hogberg to get some NHL experience and, perhaps, coach D.J. Smith will just play musical goalies down the stretch with the netminders alternating the rest of the way.

2. Step up as the top centre

The decision to trade Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the Islanders has rocketed Chris Tierney up the depth chart to the No. 1 spot. He’s going to get plenty of ice time, especially with Colin White injured, and, as a result, Tierney has to chip in offensively. He had a tremendous chance with a shorthanded breakaway against the Predators and missed the net. The Senators need those ones.

3. Stay out of the box

The Senators gave up two power-play goals against the Predators and their penalty killing has been slipping. Of course, moving Pageau and Vladislav Namestnikov means the club is down a couple of guys who killed penalties and Vancouver’s power play is lethal. The Senators have to have more disciplined and they need to avoid the too many men on the ice penalties because they’ve got 15 this season.

4. Don’t forget Tyler Toffoli

The Canucks were aggressive at the deadline by acquiring former 67’s forward Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings as a rental. He has 21 goals and 39 points in 62 games this season and is expected to make an impact by providing more offence to help Vancouver down the stretch. This is a pivotal two points for the Canucks.

5. Welcome back Gord Wilson

The legendary TSN 1200 colour analyst is expected to be back where he belongs in the broadcast booth with Dean Brown doing the play-by-play Thursday night. Wilson, who hasn’t missed many in his career since he started working the Senators broadcasts on Day 1 in 1992, had a heart issue and had stents put in. He’s been recovering at home and he’ll be welcomed back with open arms.

SPECIAL TEAMS

OTT: PP 15.3% (29th); PK 77.4% (24th)

VAN: PP 24.3% (4th); PK 80.2% (16th)

SENS GAME DAY LINES

Forwards

Brady Tkachuk-Chris Tierney-Connor Brown

Nick Paul-Artem Anisimov-Bobby Ryan

Rudolfs Balcers-Matthew Peca-Jayce Hawryluk

Mikkel Boedker-TBD-Scott Sabourin

DEFENCE

Thomas Chabot-Ron Hainsey

Mike Reilly-Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Englund-Christian Jaros

GOALTENDERS

Marcus Hogberg

Craig Anderson

CANUCKS GAME DAY LINES

J.T. Miller- Elias Pettersson-Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson-Bo Horvat-Loui Eriksson

Antoine Roussel-Adam Gaudette-Jake Virtanen

Tyler Motte -Jay Beagle-Brandon Sutter

DEFENCE

Quinn Hughes-Christopher Tanev

Alexander Edler-Troy Stecher

Oscar Fantenberg-Tyler Myers

GOALTENDERS

Thatcher Demko

Louis Domingue

SICK BAY

OTT: Mark Borowiecki, Anthony Duclair, Anders Nilsson, Colin White

VAN: Brock Boeser, Michael Ferland, Tyler Graovac, Josh Leivo, Jacob Markstrom

ALSO IN SPORTS

SNAPSHOTS: The Ottawa Senators are determined to compete until the final buzzer

Top prospect Erik Brannstrom sidelined with wrist injury in Belleville

Bobby Ryan suits up at the Canadian Tire Centre for the first time in three months

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