Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau, looking to start his tenure 3-and-0 if he can get a win tonight against the Winnipeg Jets, said he hopes to have injured left-shot defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson back in about a week and that right-shot defenceman Travis Hamonic will probably miss two to three weeks with a lower body injury.
With Hamonic going on injured reserve, Noah Juulsen earned the call-up from the Abbotsford Canucks, but it’ll be veteran Brad Hunt and Kyle Burroughs in the third pair. Hunt should also see some time on the power play.
Hunt played 88 games with the Minnesota Wild when Boudreau coached there and is comfortable, if not downright happy, with the expectations.
“Bruce, I’ve known him for a little while now, and been around the league with him,” Hunt said. “He’s an easy guy to approach, I know what he expects, and for me that maybe makes it a little easier on myself. I just go out there and I know what he expects.”
“I expect him to be a really good player for us tonight,” Boudreau said about Hunt after the morning skate. “Obviously he’s not big and he doesn’t over-power anybody, but he’s really good on the power play, he’s a conscientious player, and he gives it everything he’s got every night. He might not be sometimes as good as you’d like him to be, but the one thing you never … the reason he’s still in this league is he’s giving it everything he’s got, every night, and he’s a complete team player.”
Hunt and his teammates will play in front of goaltender Thatcher Demko who gets his sixth straight start and his 23rd of the season. A win tonight would move his record to .500 on the season. He has a 2.73 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.
The Winnipeg Jets will start back-up goalie Eric Comrie, who started and lost the game here back in November. He made 26 saves on 29 shots in the 3-2 loss. The Jets didn’t get a power play opportunity in the match but still managed 39 shots on goal against Demko.
Burroughs scored the lone goal of his NHL career in that game.
The Vancouver Canucks morning skate line-up:
Tanner Pearson, JT Miller, Brock Boeser
Jason Dickinson, Bo Horvat, Nils Höglander
Vasily Podkolzin, Elias Pettersson, Conor Garland
Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko, Alex Chiasson
Quinn Hughes, Luck Schenn
Tucker Poolman, Tyler Myers
Brad Hunt, Kyle Burroughs