The Vancouver Canucks will ice the following defensive pairs on Wednesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s a depth chart where almost all of the pieces are out of place, precipitated by the illness and absence of top D-man Quinn Hughes, who remains home in Vancouver.
“Still sick, still not feeling much better today,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the morning skate.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Luke Schenn
Travis Dermott, Tyler Myers
Brad Hunt, Kyle Burroughs
It more closely resembles a line-up you’d see during a preseason exhibition game. It breaks up the usual OEL/Myers combo.
“It’s wild, I’ve never really played with a D that big, seeing how well he moves is astonishing to me,” Dermott said of his partner Myers. “He moves like a guy who’s less than six foot, a guy who’s relying on his movement to make it here and he’s that big and able to do that.”
They’ll be put to the test this evening inside the very loud, unfriendly confines of ‘the fortress’.
Meanwhile, Kyle Burroughs will be playing his first Vancouver Canucks game since February 19th.
“It’s been awhile, but before he went out in the Anaheim game, he was really playing well for us,” Boudreau said. “So I think he deserves the chance to play well again. He played well, earned his spot, worked hard on rehab to come back early, did anything he could to come back and here’s his chance, I think he’s deserved it.”
“For me it was tough to be out of the mix and away from the guys,” Burroughs said Tuesday. “I love to play hockey, I love to be around the guys, it’s a great group in there, to have the chance to come back and play is exciting.”
The 26-year-old right shot playing for his hometown team has participated in 36 games this season with one goal, four assists and 33 penalty minutes. He’s distinguished himself for being unafraid to sacrifice his body to make plays, to deliver big hits, to drop the mitts if necessary.
Jack Rathbone, the 22-year-old lefty D-man who overcame injury and helped lead the Abbotsford Canucks to a postseason berth in the AHL this season is on the trip with the big Canucks as an emergency replacement. He’ll play Thursday night only if the team loses another D-man to illness or injury.
Thatcher Demko starts in net in Vegas with Jaroslav Halak getting the nod against the Arizona Coyotes.