Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bieksa Back For Battle Against Blackhawks

The Canucks have a completely healthy line-up as they prepare for their first of four meetings this season against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Defenceman Kevin Bieksa is set to return to the line-up this evening after missing three games with a knee injury. He'll be paired up again with Willie Mitchell, who has collected three assists in his last two games.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Brown make his regular season appearance for Vancouver today. Born and raised on the out-skirts of the Windy City, Brown likely will play on a line with Darcy Hordichuk and Ryan Johnson. That will be a game time decision though as Brown and Rick Rypien will both take the pre-game skate.

Pavol Demitra ranks 8th amongst active NHLers for most career points against Chicago. He has collected 23 goals and 27 assists against the Hawks over the years. The Canucks would love nothing better than have #38 hit the score sheet at the United Center this evening.

As for the Hawks, they're coming off a 4-3 loss in a shoot-out last night on the road against the St. Louis Blues. This will be the first home game for Chicago since Joel Quenneville took over the reigns as Head Coach following the firing of Denis Savard.

Last season, the Canucks went 3-1-0 against the Hawks. Vancouver has only lost once to Chicago since the 2001-02 season. The United Center has been a friendly place to play for the Canucks the last few years, as they're 4-1-0 in their last five meetings there.

Here are the expected line combonations, defensive pairings, and staring goalies for both squads:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Bernier
Raymond - Demitra - Pyatt
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown or Rypien

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Edler
Salo - O'Brien



Martin Havlat - Patrick Sharp - Dustin Byfuglien
Kris Versteeg - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Andrew Ladd - Dave Bolland - Jack Skille
Ben Eager - Colin Fraser - Adam Burish

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Jordan Henry - Brent Sopel
Aaron Johnson - Brian Campbell

Christobal Huet
Nikolai Khabibulin

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