Monday, October 13, 2008

Ovechkin & Co. Set To Host Canucks

The Canucks are in the U.S. capital preparing for their one and only meeting of the season with Washington tonight. With both teams coming off victories and with this featuring a head-to-head meeting between one of the best goalies and best goal scorers in the NHL, this is a game I'm really looking forward to watching.

A few changes to the Canucks roster are likely to take place. For starters, Kevin Bieksa is not with the team. After suffering a knee injury in Calgary Saturday, Bieksa has returned home and will undergo a MRI Tuesday. In his absence, Rob Davison will factor into the line-up and make his Vancouver debut on the blue line.

Also possibly making his Canucks debut could be forward Kyle Wellwood. Coach Alain Vigneault mentioned after the pre-game skate this morning that it would be a game-time decision on whether Wellwood or Darcy Hordichuk will play on a line with Ryan Johnson and Rick Rypien.

The Capitals are also expecting to make a few changes after a 1-1-0 start to their season. Sergei Fedorov is likely to play on defence for the first time this season while goalie Brent Johnson is expected to get the start over Jose Theodore. The Caps are coming off a 4-2 win at home Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Alexander Ovechkin had a pair of goals to lead the home team to their first win, after Washington had been shelled 7-4 the night before in Atlanta against the Thrashers.

Here are the line combos and defensive pairings expected for tonight's match-up:


D.Sedin - H. Sedin - Bernier
Raymond - Demitra - Pyatt
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk/Wellwood - Johnson - Rypien

Salo - Mitchell
O'Brien - Ohlund
Edler - Davison


Scratches (Bieksa, Mike Brown, Lawrence Nycolet)


Alexander Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Viktor Kozlov
Brooks Laich - Michael Nylander - Alexander Semin
Thomas Fleischmann - Boyd Gordon - Chris Clark
Donald Brashear - David Steckel - Matt Bradley

Shaone Morrison - Mike Green
Tom Poti - Jeff Schultz
Sergei Fedorov - Milan Jurcina

Brent Johnson
Jose Theodore

Scratches: (Eric Fehr, John Erskine)

Couple of side notes to be aware of for this game:

-coach Vigneault is one win away from 200 for his NHL coaching career
-Daniel Sedin is the NHL Player of the Week. His two goals and three assists through Vancouver's first two games has him atop the NHL scoring lead
-Canucks have won their last five meetings against the Caps
-Roberto Luongo (since 2004) is 7-0-3 against Washington
-Alexander Edler is appearing in his 100th career game with the Canucks
-the Caps have a whopping seven of their former 1st round draft picks in their line-up (Backstrom, Fehr, Gordon, Green, Ovechkin, Schultz, and Semin)
-Sergei Fedorov is one goal away from tying Alexander Mogilny for most NHL goals scored by a Russian-born player. Mogilny's record is 473
-NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will be in attendance at the Vorizon Center for this game

This will also be the first Canucks Pay-Per-View game of the season. Whether you'll be watching it or listening to it, it's got the makings of a great game!

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