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Canucks Game Day, Line-up, Sharks, Covid

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Vancouver Canucks, Brock Boeser
Brock Boeser rips home the first goal of the game for the Vancouver Canucks vs. Carolina on December 12th.

The Vancouver Canucks held a morning skate in San Jose in preparation for Thursday night’s match against the Sharks. They added an emergency replacement player to the D-corps with the call up of Guillaume Brisebois from the Abbotsford Canucks of the AHL. He’s played nine NHL games in his career without a point, eight of those games coming two seasons ago. In 185 AHL games the 24-year-old lefty from Longueuil, Quebec has 11 goals and 35 assists.

Pending another day of Covid-19 tests for the club, Brisebois replaces Tucker Poolman in the line-up and joins the current group made up of Quinn Hughes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers, Kyle Burroughs, and Noah Juulsen. Poolman was pulled from Tuesday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after the 1st period after learning of a positive Covid-19 test result. Defencemen Luke Schenn and Brad Hunt had tested positive earlier in the day on Tuesday while Travis Hamonic is missing due to a non-Covid related injury.

It now appears Poolman’s Covid test result on Tuesday was likely a “false-positive” and he could be eligible to play Saturday at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. With two negative results in the last two days, a third would apparently clear him.

The Canucks pulled off their entire four-goal comeback victory over the Blue Jackets over two periods with just five defencemen. Brisebois and Juulsen will get a chance to help the club extend its five-game winning streak. Juulsen is playing in just his second Vancouver game after previously playing 48 NHL games over three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers. He’s played 17 AHL games this season.

“They make the simple plays simple, move pucks quick, it’s nothing different for them from what they’ve been doing, it’s just the pace they’re gonna see is gonna be a little quicker.” said Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. “They’re all good hockey players. To get to the American League, to get to the NHL, you gotta be pretty good, so (just) do what they did to get here. Don’t try to do too much, we don’t need the new guys trying to be Quinn Hughes out there, just do their job and they’ll be fine.”

The San Jose Sharks got off to a hot start to this season before levelling off. They’re 5-and-5 in their last ten games and are coming off a 3-1 loss at home on Tuesday to the Seattle Kraken. With a regulation win the Canucks would move to within a point of San Jose for fifth place in the Pacific Division standings. The LA Kings presently sit between them. Canucks forward Brock Boeser said the comeback win on Tuesday just added to the growing confidence the Canucks team has under Boudreau.

“We’ve done a really good job of sticking together and learning the new systems and working hard,” Boeser said. “It’s been great so far, it’s been a great feeling, we obviously want to keep this streak going, but tonight is going to be a tough match-up and we’ve gotta be ready to go.”

Thatcher Demko gets the start in net for Vancouver while the Sharks will counter with Adin Hill. Hill and James Reimer have split the season evenly in terms of starts with Reimer producing the much better results and numbers. (1.99 – .936 compared to 2.82 – .903) Reimer has nine of the team’s wins, Hill has five.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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