Game Day: Desjardins juggles lines as Canucks prepare for final eastern opponent

 

 
 
 
 
The Vancouver Canucks will have a couple of new-look lines when they meet the New York Islanders tonight at Rogers Arena. Coach Willie Desjardins is splitting up the tandem of Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, who have been together for much of the season. Horvat will skate tonight with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey, while Baertschi will play on a line with newly acquired centre Markus Granlund and rookie Jake Virtanen. Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, top, shouts instructions to his players as he stands behind Jared McCann (91), Radim Vrbata (17), of the Czech Republic, and Bo Horvat (53) during the second period of the Coyotes’ NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz.
 

The Vancouver Canucks will have a couple of new-look lines when they meet the New York Islanders tonight at Rogers Arena. Coach Willie Desjardins is splitting up the tandem of Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, who have been together for much of the season. Horvat will skate tonight with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey, while Baertschi will play on a line with newly acquired centre Markus Granlund and rookie Jake Virtanen. Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, top, shouts instructions to his players as he stands behind Jared McCann (91), Radim Vrbata (17), of the Czech Republic, and Bo Horvat (53) during the second period of the Coyotes’ NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photograph by: Ross D. Franklin, AP

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks will have a couple of new-look lines when they meet the New York Islanders tonight at Rogers Arena (7 p.m. Pacific time, on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040).

Coach Willie Desjardins is splitting up the tandem of Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, who have been together for much of the season.

Horvat will skate tonight with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey, while Baertschi will play on a line with newly acquired centre Markus Granlund and rookie Jake Virtanen.

Baertschi and Granlund are no strangers. They played together in the AHL with both the Abbotsford Heat and Adirondack Flames.

“It has been good to play with him in the past and I am excited to go back and play with him again,” Baertschi said after this morning’s optional game-day skate.

“His speed and his grit, he goes to the net really well, his play-making abilities, there’s a lot I like about his game. I love his game, actually, so having a chance to go out there with him is something exciting for me.”

Horvat, who just has one assist in his last six games, said he was looking forward to skating with Etem and Vey.

“I don’t think anything really changes,” Horvat said. “Linden and Emerson and great players and we’re good friends off the ice so hopefully it translates to on the ice, too. They have some good skill, they like to work the puck down low and get in the cycle game. Hopefully, we can have a good one here tonight.”

Unlike last season, the Vancouver Canucks haven’t exactly feasted on the East this season.

The Canucks went an impressive 21-10-1 versus Eastern Conference opponents on their way to a 101-point season in 2014-15. This season, it has been tougher sledding. Vancouver enters tonight’s game against the Islanders - their final Eastern opponent this season - with a rather ordinary 13-11-7 record against the East.

The Canucks beat the Islanders 2-1 in a shootout in Brooklyn on Jan. 17. Goalie Ryan Miller stopped 47 of 48 shots in that game, but Jacob Markstrom gets the start tonight for Vancouver.

The Islanders, who are playing the fifth game of a season-long seven-game road trip, will start Thomas Greiss on goal.

The Canuck players are looking forward to putting the distractions of the trade deadline behind them tonight.

“You never want to lose teammates or friends,” said Vancouver winger Alex Burrows. “You have played with them for so long, you want to compete with them and keep it going. Now that it’s over, we can just go out and play. We are focusing on tonight, trying to win this game and get back in the race.”

The Canucks enter tonight’s game eight points out of a wildcard playoff spot in the West. The Islanders are clinging to third spot in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

New York is coming off a 3-1 loss in Edmonton on Sunday. The Canucks dropped a 4-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

INJURIES:

The Canucks are without C Brandon Sutter (broken jaw) and D Alex Edler (broken fibula). RW Radim Vrbata (lower body) is questionable.

The Islanders are missing C Mikhail Grabovski (upper body) and D Adam Pelech (upper body).

ICE CHIPS: Dan O’Halloran and Tim Peel are tonight’s referees … The Canucks close out their five-game homestand Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks.

bziemer@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
The Vancouver Canucks will have a couple of new-look lines when they meet the New York Islanders tonight at Rogers Arena. Coach Willie Desjardins is splitting up the tandem of Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, who have been together for much of the season. Horvat will skate tonight with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey, while Baertschi will play on a line with newly acquired centre Markus Granlund and rookie Jake Virtanen. Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, top, shouts instructions to his players as he stands behind Jared McCann (91), Radim Vrbata (17), of the Czech Republic, and Bo Horvat (53) during the second period of the Coyotes’ NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz.
 

The Vancouver Canucks will have a couple of new-look lines when they meet the New York Islanders tonight at Rogers Arena. Coach Willie Desjardins is splitting up the tandem of Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, who have been together for much of the season. Horvat will skate tonight with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey, while Baertschi will play on a line with newly acquired centre Markus Granlund and rookie Jake Virtanen. Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, top, shouts instructions to his players as he stands behind Jared McCann (91), Radim Vrbata (17), of the Czech Republic, and Bo Horvat (53) during the second period of the Coyotes’ NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photograph by: Ross D. Franklin, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice