5 points of interest ahead of puck-drop

1. Matt Hewitt. Get used to hearing that name. The New Westminster, BC product will act as the Canucks back-up goaltender tonight. Hewitt is in his fourth season with the local UBC Thunderbirds and is the team’s starter. A former Regina Pat in the WHL, Hewitt also took part in the Canucks preseason on ice testing Thanksgiving Monday. One week later, he’s closer to the NHL than he could have imagined.

2. Hewitt is the emergency backup tonight because Ryan Miller is not well enough to dress. What appeared to be a routine morning at Rogers Arena, turned out to be anything but for the goalie. Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said that Miller was “tight” this morning, after arriving at the rink. Miller did not take the morning skate and Jacob Markstrom was quickly announced as the starter vs the Blues. After a team day off yesterday and not dressing for the game tonight, there is no announced timetable for his return.

3. Markstrom earning the start is not the only change to the Vancouver lineup as the Canucks debut Jack Skille. The former first round pick of the Blackhawks in 2005 was a PTO invite to training camp. Now signed, Skille will replace Jake Virtanen in the lineup and play on a line with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat. Skille is trying to rebound off an injury shortened year with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

4. St.Louis is the first of four teams the Canucks will meet this season celebrating their 50th anniversary. The Blues celebrating this season with a gold logo on their shoulder patch and are hoping to match a franchise record four-game winning streak to start the year, if they can win tonight.

5. The Blues will be testing out their depth at the centre position, coming off a win over the New York Rangers. The blue-notes lost Jori Lehtera, Kyle Brodziak and Carl Gunnarson ahead of the third period and nearly lost the game. Outshot 15-0 in the thirrd, Carter Hutton preserved the win, however, none of the injured players will return tonight against the Canucks.          

Game info: 7pm PT with @HockeyAbbs/@DTSN1040

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