The Vancouver Canucks (16-18-3) will play their first game since March 24th when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs (28-12-4) on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Arena. Catch the action with me and Corey Hirsch at 4:00pm on Sportsnet 650 and the Sportsnet Radio Network. Satiar Shah and Bik Nizzar will host the Land Rover Pre-Game Show starting at 3:00pm. They’ll also bring you live coverage at the intermissions and on the Kintec Footwear and Orthotics Post-Game Show.
Listen to game day coverage on Sportsnet 650 AM or 96.9 HD channel 3. You can also listen online on Sportsnet.ca/650, through the Sportsnet app or stream the game on your smart speaker. Just say, “play Sportsnet 650.”
The Maple Leafs are 3-2-0 against Vancouver in the season series, but the Canucks have won the last two straight meetings. Mitch Marner leads all players in scoring in the season series with seven points in the five games against Vancouver.
The Canucks will be without Nate Schmidt and Jake Virtanen, who are still in COVID-19 Protocol, while Travis Green said on Saturday that Tyler Motte, Thatcher Demko and Olli Juolevi will not be ready to return to the Canucks’ lineup either. Vancouver is scheduled to conclude its regular season with 19 games in 32 days, starting on Sunday, after the two week delay in the club’s return to play because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Canucks equipment manager Pat O’Neill will work his 3,000th game in the National Hockey League on Sunday.
The Maple Leafs sit three points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets atop the North Division, but Toronto has lost three games in a row after a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Jets on Thursday. Auston Matthews missed Thursday’s game with an apparent hand injury and is listed as day-to-day while Frederik Andersen remains sidelined with a lower body injury. William Nylander, who has missed the Leafs’ last five games because he has been in COVID-19 Protocol, could be available to make his return on Sunday.
Vancouver captain Bo Horvat has seven points in his last seven games. Maple Leafs captain John Tavares is on a four-game point streak with two goals and four assists along the way.
“The human side of this is the most important part of it. You worry about your players. You worry about the families…When you coach a team and you care about your players so much, it’s almost like your kids. You want to make them feel better, and, you know, you can’t.”
– Canucks coach Travis Green on his team’s COVID outbreak
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“In regards to Vancouver, they’re a gritty, resilient group that before this situation was playing as good hockey as anybody in the division. I’m expecting them to get back to their identity right away. That’s all that we can prepare for. The biggest thing for us is just to get our game right and get ourselves right.”
– Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe