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Blues at Canucks preview: Buchnevich sits one more game

Blame Canada(ian Covid-19 restrictions).

St Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks - Game Six Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

It’s incredibly tough to believe that the Blues haven’t played the Vancouver Canucks since the 2020 playoff bubble, but to be frank, the less said about that experience the better. Since Vancouver’s victory then, they have slid out of the playoff picture in each of the next two seasons. Despite what looked like a briefly decent start, they’re tanking another season of Quinn Hughes as a rebuild (?) continues. They sit just above Friday night’s opponents, the Seattle Kraken, in the Pacific Division. The Canucks aren’t bad - they’re 18-18-4 on the season, but they’re not particularly good, either. They have drastically improved since hiring coach Bruce Boudreau, going 10-3-2 since then. Vancouver might not be known for it’s BBQ, but it seems like Boudreau found some that he likes.

The Blues romped to a 5-0 victory over Seattle on Friday night, while the Canucks lost to the Florida Panthers 2-1 in the shootout. Vancouver can make up a little bit of ground in the Pacific when their rescheduled games are played, but not much - they’ve faced the fewest postponements in the division.

The Blues have been pretty consistently good since the word go, regardless of who has been in or out of the lineup. Friday, Pavel Buchnevich returned from Covid-19 protocols, which was a (pardon the phrasing) shot in the arm to the offense. He gets to sit tonight.

Why? Because Canadian Covid regulations require people who have tested positive to wait ten days before entering the country; NHL protocols require five days. National law does, much to his chagrin, trump Gary Bettman, so Buch sits tonight. He’s eligible to return on Tuesday in Calgary.

No Buchnevich shouldn’t be an issue for the Blues if a) Ville Husso gets another start and b) he tosses out another performance like he did on Friday night. Husso made 27 saves en route to his second shutout of the season, and is the hot hand du jour. It’s not known which goaltender Craig Berube is going with tonight as he wants to get both Husso and Binnington some work, but when you have someone who is 4-0-0 in his last four starts and whose 2.02 SV% and .938 GAA leads the NHL (for goalies with at least 10 games played), well... ride that hot hand a little while longer.