Carol Schram: Vancouver Canucks Game Day: Jan 15 at Philadelphia Flyers, Miller Returns

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Thursday January 15 – Vancouver Canucks at Philadelphia Flyers – 4:00 p.m. – Sportsnet Pacific, TSN1040

Vancouver Canucks: 23-15-3, 49 points, fourth in Pacific Division

Philadelphia Flyers: 17-20-7, 41 points, fifth in Metropolitan Division

After a disappointing but not entirely unexpected loss in Nashville to kick off their five-game road trip, the Vancouver Canucks will try to end their three-game losing streak when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.

The Canucks will be the more rested team tonight: Philadelphia dropped a 1-0 decision to Washington on the road on Wednesday.

It has been another rough season for the Flyers, who boast the NHL’s leading scorer in Jakub Voracek but are already 11 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Defense continues to be a problem: the Flyers allow 2.84 goals per game, which ranks then 23rd overall, and they’re currently without starting goaltender Steve Mason, who’s on the shelf with a lower-body injury he suffered last weekend.

Callup Rob Zepp has handled the last two games for the Flyers in the wake of Mason’s injury. Vancouver should see regular backup Ray Emery tonight.

Flyers’ rookie center Scott Laughton was injured on Wednesday, so his place in the lineup will be taken by pesky Zac Rinaldo.

All things considered, Philadelphia’s record against Western Conference teams is solid: they’re 7-5-3. As one might expect with Voracek’s numbers, their power play is also reliable—ranked fifth in the league. But their penalty kill is brutal: they’re last in the NHL with just a 74.3 percent success rate.

As for the Canucks, they haven’t lost more than three games in a row all season, though they did go five games without a win back in December. Ryan Miller’s back in action and expected to start tonight. Here’s the scoop on the rest of the bubble boys on the roster:

Looks like Vey will be a scratch tonight. Bonino says he’s good to go & Horvat will return. Tanev says he’s a game-time decision #Canucks

— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) January 15, 2015

This morning’s skate was optional, so we’ll have to wait till game time to see how the lines shake out. Here’s how things looked at practice yesterday. If you swap Bonino in for Vey, we could see Shawn Matthias up on the second line, with Chris Higgins dropped to the third.

Lines at #Canucks practice without Bonino/Tanev (who are at rink but not skating) 22-33-17/27-7-14/20-15-9/51-53-36 #TSN1040

— Jon Abbott (@HockeyAbbs) January 14, 2015

Dan Murphy thinks Tanev will be OK to play.

all 8 #canucks D will take warm-up tonight. Hamhuis won’t play and Tanev a game time decision although i think he’ll go. Miller starts.

— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 15, 2015

Dan Hamhuis should be back in the lineup tomorrow night against Carolina. That’s great news! Shorthouse Sidelined

For all their recent injury and illness issues, who would have thought it’d be the play-by-play guy who lands in hospital in Philadelphia?

Best wishes to John Shorthouse, who is in a Philly hospital after suffering some complications following a recent surgery. #getwellsoon

— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) January 15, 2015

Bringing back memories of September’s Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, Joey Kenward will step in to fill Shorty’s shoes for the next couple of games, Ziemer reports.

Best wishes to Shorthouse for a speedy recovery, and here’s hoping his U.S travel insurance is in good order! The Vibe at Home

Wells Fargo Center has a reputation as one of the most raucous and—ahem—adult arenas for fans to watch a game in the NHL. Let’s see how much of that comes through during tonight’s game broadcast.

After noting that the Nashville Predators, who have a reputation for creating a party vibe at their home games, have sold out more games than the Canucks this season, Jason Botchford went on a bit of a rant in his Provies the other night about the fun-factor that’s missing these days in Vancouver.

“If anything, games at Rogers Arena have been rendered more bland, sterile, less fun, more corporate and, unfortunately, more soul-less this season,” he writes. “The organization is at least partially to blame.”

The game presentation department certainly has its hands full, squeezing in all the ads, contests and sponsor mentions that are required over the course of the game. For me, the shots of children dancing in the crowd are way overdone.

As you know, I’m a firm believer that music can make a huge difference. I’ve appreciated the fresh approach of the new DJs this season but have also found that much of their routine was getting predictable—the exact same songs at the exact same points in the games.

The last few games before the road trip, I was hearing more variety. More ’80s rock (YAY!), a bit more country and a little less ear-crushing EDM. I hope they’ll keep tweaking and I really hope they make an effort to keep it fresh from game to game.

I know a lot of people hate the current goal song, U2’s “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” Personally, I don’t have a problem with it—I just wish we’d hear it more often these days. I also really like the metal tracks from Pantera, Motorhead and Metallica that are being used before the Canucks go on the power play.

What confuses me is the happy, upbeat songs that get played when the opposition scores. How can I groove to “Uptown Funk” when something terrible has just happened? I’d really prefer something a bit more…defiant.

Ideas?

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