Saturday, November 29, 2008

Power Play Woes Continue In Cowtown Saturday

The Vancouver Canucks maybe wasted a solid NHL debut for starting goaltender Cory Schneider Saturday night as they fell 3-1 to the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Schneider certainly did his part to give his team a chance to win on the road Saturday night. At the other end of the rink, the team in front of the 22 year-old puckstopper didn't do itself any favours. They had three power plays on the night, but generated just one shot on net with the man advantage.

Kyle Wellwood had the lone goal for the Canucks in the loss. He converted a great pass out of the corner from Jannik Hansen and had no trouble beating goalie Mikka Kiprusoff. Mattias Ohlund collected the other assist on Wellwood's 9th of the year at 6:11 in the 3rd period.

That goal did give the Canucks some life at the time as they were trailing 2-0 at the time. The opening goal of the game came in the final minute of the 2nd period while the Flames worked a power play. Dion Phaneuf's point shot took a deflection out of mid-air off the stick of Damond Langkow and found the Canucks net. Todd Bertuzzi got the other assist on Langkow's 6th of the campaign at 19:22.

The goal which proved to be the game winner occured early in the final frame. With both Henrik and Daniel Sedin stuck deep in the Calgary zone on a lengthy shift, the Flames broke up ice on an odd-man rush. David Moss elected to shoot from the left face off circle and his decision was the right one, shooting it underneath the pads of Schneider. Curtis Glencross and Robyn Regher help Moss collect his 5th at 6:11.

Before the Canucks thought about getting their net empty for the extra attacker, the Flames restored their two-goal lead on a nice set-up by their captain. Jarome Iginla fed a beautiful pass to a wide open Matthew Lombardi who made no mistake finding the back of the net. It was Lombardi's 2nd of the season and it came at 18:38.

Final shots on net favoured the Flames 31-18, which included a total of 10-3 in the 2nd period.
The Canucks went 0-for-3 on the power play while Calgary finished 1-for-5.

Now with a record of 14-8-2, the Canucks will make their way to Ohio to prepare to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

Canucks Look for Revenge In Calgary

It's official...Cory Schneider will make his NHL debut tonight for the Canucks in Calgary as Vancouver opens up a seven-game road trip. He received word of the news before practice. Near the end of practice, Curtis Sanford took a puck in the neck under the mask off a shot from Kevin Bieksa. Scarey moment as he was on the ice for a few minutes, but he's okay and will back-up tonight.

Steve Bernier will return to the line-up tonight after missing Thursday's game with a shoulder and toe injury. He'll take the spot of Mike Brown on the line with Darcy Hordichuk and Alex Bolduc.

The Flames are likely going with same line up as their 4-3 winning squad two nights ago. Wayne Primeau will be a game time decision if he returns from the flu.

Here are the expected line-ups for tonight's game at the Pengrowth Saddledome:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Demitra
Pyatt - Wellwood - Raymond
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Bolduc - Bernier

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Salo
O'Brien - Edler



Mike Cammalleri - Matt Lombardi - Jarome Iginla
Todd Bertuzzi - Damond Langkow - Rene Bourque
Curtis Glencross - Craig Conroy - David Moss
Eric Nystrom - Brandon Prust - Andre Roy

Robyn Regher - Adrian Aucoin
Mark Giordano - Dion Phaneuf
Adam Pardy - Cory Sarich

Mikka Kiprusoff
Curtis McElinney

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flames Let Off the Hook At GM Place

On a night which looked like the Canucks could have taken complete control of things on home ice, they allowed their opponents from Calgary to capitalize on turnovers and skate away with a 4-3 win in Vancouver.

They had a solid start to the game, building up a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play. Darcy Hordichuk opened the scoring at the 5:33 mark converting on a rebound kicked out by goalie Mikka Kiprusoff. Alexander Edler and Jannik Hansen picked up the assists on the first goal in a Canucks uniform for Hordichuk.

A short time later, the Flames got on the scoreboard while working a power play. Mike Cammalleri fired a pass from the corner of the Canucks zone towards the crease. The puck wound up deflecting off the skate of Sami Salo and behind netminder Curtis Sanford. Damond Langkow gets credit for the lone assist on Cammalleri's 100th career goal. It was also his 7th of the season at 8:11.

Vancouver restored a one-goal lead on a beautiful finish by Daniel Sedin. The play started in the Canucks zone as Mike Brown chipped the puck up ice for Henrik Sedin. After receiving a pass from his brother down the right side, Daniel drove to the net and beat Kiprusoff with a beautiful shot high to the short side. Daniel's 11th of the season extended his point scoring streak to seven games (6g,4a). The assist was Henrik's 400th career NHL point and it came at 11:41.

The Canucks had a golden opportunity to blow the game open in the second period was they worked a 5-on-3 power play for nearly a full minute. However Daniel missed two glorious chances in close while Mason Raymond was robbed on a big stop made by Calgary d-man Cory Sarich. A few shifts later, Hansen nearly gave Vancouver the lead as he broke free behind the Flames defence, but his move to the back hand was denied on a great pad save by Kiprusoff.

With less than three minutes to go in the period, the Flames got their all-important equalizer. With a penalty about to be called against the Canucks, Jarome Iginla fed a great cross zone pass to a wide open Cammalleri in the right face off circle. He made no mistake drilling home the one-timer for his second of the game. Matthew Lombardi tallied the other assist 17:01.

It didn't take long into the final frame for the Flames to get their first lead of the night. Good work by Iginla and Lombardi on the end boards allowed the puck to find Cammalleri in the left face off circle. His one-timer beat Sanford to give Cammalleri his first career NHL hat-trick at 1:18.

Exactly ten minutes later, the Canucks pulled level on a 2-on-1 rush. Kyle Wellwood skated up the right wing and dished a great pass to Raymond, who burried his chance. For Raymond, it was his 6th of the season and it broke a 9-game goal-scoring drought. Taylor Pyatt chipped in the other helper to get his second point in as many games.

The eventual game-winning goal came on a giveaway by Edler. After coughing the puck up the middle, he saw Curtis Glencross make no mistake beating Sanford. Glencross, who extended his point scoring streak to three games (3g,3a), netted his 5th of the campaign at 13:29 to cap off the scoring in Vancouver.

The Canucks were out-shot 33-30 on the night. They have not out-shot an opponent in their last nine games. Vancouver finished the game going 0-for-4 on the power play while the Flames went 1-for-2.

Vancouver (14-7-2) and Calgary (13-9-1) will cap off their second home-and-home series of the year on Saturday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Line-up Changes for Flames

The Canucks will see a bit more toughness in the Flames line-up tonight at GM Place.

Calgary is inserting both Brandon Prust and Andre Roy. They'll skate on the 4th line with Eric Nystrom.

Dustin Boyd and Wayne Primeau are both on the injured list and are questionable to play in the tail end of this home-and-home series Saturday in Calgary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Canucks Injury Update in Preparation for Flames

Some good news and bad news from Canucks practice today at GM Place.

Good news: Kevin Bieksa looks to be good to go to return to the line-up tomorrow against the Calgary Flames. He worked alongside his regular defence partner Willie Mitchell during practice.

Bad news: Ryan Johnson has both a broken index finger on his right hand and a broken bone in his left foot. The fracture to his foot apparently occured Oct 13 in the game against the Capitals in Washington, which was the third game of the season.

Steve Bernier did not skate today and is questionable for tomorrow. That likely puts Mason Raymond on a line with Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt. Alex Bolduc skated with the team today after being called up from the Manitoba Moose yesterday. He'll skate on a line with Darcy Hordichuk and Mike Brown.

The Flames are skating at GM Place as we speak. They are coming off a 6-2 win at home last night against the L.A. Kings. They five points behind the Canucks in the Northwest Division and have played the same number of games as Vancouver this season. Dustin Boyd left last night's game with an apparent injury and may not play tomorrow. Their lines from last night, as well as the Canucks lines from today's skate are below....


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Demitra
Pyatt - Wellwood - Raymond
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Brown - Bolduc

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Salo
O'Brien - Edler
Nycholat - Davison



Mike Cammalleri - Matt Lombardi - Jarome Iginla
Todd Bertuzzi - Damond Langkow - Dustin Boyd
Curtis Glencross - Craig Conroy - Rene Bourque
Eric Nystrom - Wayne Primeau - David Moss

(scratches Andre Roy and Brandon Prust)

Robyn Regher - Adrian Aucoin
Mark Giordano - Dion Phaneuf
Adam Pardy - Cory Sarich

Mikka Kiprusoff
Curtis McElinney

Monday, November 24, 2008

Canucks Upend Wings In Overtime

In a tight-checking and disciplined effort on their return to GM Place, the Vancouver Canucks used a power play to their advantage in overtime to post a 3-2 come-from-behind victory against the Detroit Red Wings. This win came in a similar fashion as their road win last week against the Minnesota Wild as goalie Curtis Sanford did his part to collect his 3rd straight victory.

The Canucks did a great job in the early going forechecking the Wings in their own zone and not allowing Detroit much in the way of good scoring chances. However the visitors did get on the score board first as Mikael Samuelsson beat Sanford with a back hand shot high on the short side. Andreas Lilja and Henrik Zetterberg help Samuelsson collect his 5th of the season at 9:22.

With about two minutes remaining in the opening period, Sami Salo had a shot ring off the post and then Jannik Hansen was robbed by a sprawling save made by Red Wings netminder Chris Osgood.

Vancouver used that momentum to carry on into the early part of the middle frame and were rewarded for their efforts. Taylor Pyatt was able to force Jiri Hudler to turn the puck over in the Wings face off circle and wasted no time drilling a wrist shot over the glove side of Osgood. Pyatt's 3rd of the season came unassisted at 2:27.

After that goal, Detroit really dominated play in the Canucks end. Marian Hossa had a couple of great chances in close, but Sanford was equal to the task. Sanford's biggest stop of the period may have came with his team short-handed. A pass out of the corner was deflected off the skate of Willie Mitchell and destined to find the back of the net. However Sanford's quick glove hand grab kept the game tied going into the 3rd period.

The first half of the final stanza was tight-checking and neither team was willing to give up much in the way of great scoring chances. With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, Alex Burrows was put in the penalty box for a hooking call and the Wings made him pay. Pavel Datsyuk let a bullet of a shot go from the right face off circle that went through Mitchell's legs and off the far post and in. Samuellson and Niklas Kronwall get the helpers on the 8th of the season for Datsyuk at 16:25.

Just when it looked like the Canucks were done for the night, Daniel Sedin had other ideas. Salo's drive from the right point would be deflected out of mid-air by Daniel's stick and past Osgood. Mason Raymond chips in the other assist on Daniel's 10th goal of the year. It was also his 400th career NHL point and it occured at 17:35.

Once the game got into OT, the Canucks applied plenty of pressure on the Wings defence. On the opening shift of the extra period, Ryan Kesler had a close goal-mouth chance hit the post while Mattias Ohlund was stoned in close quarters by Osgood.

The Canucks were given a gift a short time later as Johan Franzen was put in the penalty box for an interference call. Daniel worked the puck to the right side of the zone for Pavol Demitra who looked like he might shoot. Instead he fed a cross zone pass for Salo, who whistled home a one-time behind Osgood. The Canucks poured off the bench to celebrate Salo's 2nd of the year at 2:33 and it improved their overtime record to 3-0 on the season. The goal also extended Demitra's point-scoring streak to six straight games (5g,6a).

Vancouver was out-shot in this game 34-24, but they did out-shoot Detroit 8-0 in overtime. Both clubs finished the night going 1-for-3 with the power play.

Mitchell went +2 for the contest, upping his plus-minus rating to +16. He's one plus behind Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL lead in that department. Meantime, Henrik Sedin saw his point scoring streak snap at five straight games (7a).

Now having won four straight, the Canucks record improves to 14-6-2. The club will have a couple of days off for practice in preparation for the next home game which will be Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

Luongo Likely Out Until Mid-December

Here's the press release from the Canucks this afternoon:

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today after further consultation with team doctors that goaltender Roberto Luongo has an Adductor Strain (groin) and his return status is week-to-week.

Luongo was injured in the first period on Saturday, November 22nd at the Canucks/Pittsburgh game.

Luongo will be available to the media tonight in the Norm Jewison Media Room at General Motors Place at 6:45 pm

Canucks & Red Wings Game Day

The status of Roberto Luongo remains up in the air as the Canucks prepare to step on to home ice tonight to entertain the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings.

Vancouver's captain is to undergo a MRI today after suffering a groin injury last Saturday in their 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Fellow netminder Curtis Sanford, who was won back-to-back games for the Canucks, will get the start tonight at GM Place. 22 year-old goalie Cory Schneider has been re-called from the Manitoba Moose of the AHL, where he's posted a 10-1-0 record.

The Canucks (13-6-2) are playing their first game at home after going 3-0-1 on their most recent road trip from last week. Henrik Sedin was named as one of the NHL's 3 Stars from the past week. He recorded seven assists in four straight games. His linemates Daniel Sedin and Pavol Demitra are currently riding five-game point scoring streaks. Daniel has four goals and three assists while Demitra has five goals and four assists in the same stretch.

Sami Salo will be a game-time decision to play tonight, after missing the last two games with the flu. If he goes into the line-up, Lawrence Nycholat will likely be a healthy scratch.

The Red Wings (14-2-3) are capping off a three-game road trip after posting a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers and a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames. Detroit is without forwards Tomas Holmstrom (back) and Dan Cleary (eye). Fellow forward Valtteri Filppula (flu) will be a game-time decision to dress against the Canucks.

These two teams have split their opening two games of the season. The Canucks were 4-3 winners in overtime at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 16 while the Red Wings collected a 3-2 victory in Vancouver November 2. In the two games combined, the Canucks are 0-for-11 on the power play while the Red Wings are 5-for-10.

Here are the expected line-ups for both clubs heading into tonight's match-up:


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

Ohlund - Davison
Salo - Mitchell
O'Brien - Edler


Red Wings:

Valtteri Filppula - Pavol Datsyuk - Marian Hossa
Mikael Samuellson - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler - Kris Draper - Kirk Maltby
Derek Meech - Tomas Kopecky - Darren McCarty

Nicklas Lindstrom - Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Brett Lebda - Andreas Lilja

Chris Osgood
Ty Conklin

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Canucks End Trip With Character Win Over Pens

The Vancouver Canucks capped off a fantastic road trip Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Despite the loss of team captain Roberto Luongo in the early part of the first period, the Canucks managed to keep their focus and skate away with a 3-1 win over the Penguins, extending their winning streak to three straight games.

The game started off with some fireworks as former Canuck Matt Cooke wound up taking out Alexander Edler at the knees with a low hip check. Cooke was then challenged by Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows to fight but he wanted no part of it. Eventually Burrows took on Brooks Orpik and then Cooke and Hansen went at it. With their scrap being the second of a multiple-fight situation, Cooke and Hansen were each given game misconducts 25 seconds into the contest.

The scariest moments for the Canucks came just prior to the five-minute mark of the period. A shot coming from the point seemed to be going to the left of Luongo. However it took a deflection in the slot and went the opposite direction. Luongo, attempting to go from his left to his right, strained his groin in the process. He needed to be helped off the ice and wound up being replaced for the remainder of the game by Curtis Sanford.

The opening goal of the game came late in the period. After Daniel and Henrik Sedin worked the puck down low to the left corner, Pavol Demitra skated towards the crease. After getting the puck over netminder Dany Sabourin in the crease, he was able to bank it off the goalie’s pads and across the line. For Demitra, it was his 6th goal of the year. It also extends his point-scoring streak to six straight games and it came at 18:05.

Early on in the middle frame, the Canucks built on their lead. Henrik won a face off to his brother Daniel. He wound up driving the net and jabbed it past Sabourin just inside the post. Daniel’s team-leading 9th of the year proved to be his 3rd game-winner of the season as well and it occurred at 6:40.

The Penguins attempt at mounting a comeback came in the opening seconds of the third period. Just as a power play had expired, Mike Zigomanis let a shot go from low in the left face off circle. The puck made its way underneath Sanford and into the Canucks net. Tyler Kennedy and Alex Goligoski get credit for the helpers on the 2nd of the season for Gigomanis just 22 seconds into the frame.

Pittsburgh’s top guns like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora, and Jordan Staal attempted to step up the offence for the remainder of the game, but the Canucks defence did a great job in limiting their chances. Eventually Sabourin wound up being pulled to the bench for the extra attacker and the Pens got the puck in deep. However, Mattias Ohlund threw a crunching body check on Maxime Talbot on the end wall to force a turnover. Henrik wound up chipping the puck up ice for Daniel who broke free on a 2-on-1 rush. He had little trouble dropping a pass to Demitra who slid home the insurance marker Vancouver needed. Demitra’s 2nd of the game and 7th of the season came with 11 seconds to go on the clock.

Final shots on net were tied 19-19. Power plays in the game were not a factor as the Canucks went 0-for-2 and the Pens went 0-for-4.

Now with an overall record of 13-6-2, the Canucks cap off their road trip with a 3-0-1 record. Having not lost a game in regulation since November 2, the Canucks have returned home to prepare to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champs. The Canucks will host the Detroit Red Wings Monday evening, with the face off going at 7:00pm.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Canucks Pens Matinee at the Igloo

With the snow falling all over Pennsylvania, the Canucks get set to wrap up their four-game road trip with a Saturday afternoon meeting with the Pittsburgh Penguins. This will be the one and only meeting of the season for two clubs, each going eight straight games without a regulation loss.

The Canucks (12-6-2) are coming off a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild Thursday night. It was the Canucks second win of the season when allowing their opponents to score the opening goal of a game. It was also Vancouver's third win of the year when scoring three or fewer goals.

The line of Daniel Sedin (8g,8a), Henrik Sedin (3g,15a), and Pavol Demitra (5g,5a) have developed some great chemistry on this current road trip and were the difference makers in St. Paul against the Wild.

Sami Salo has returned home to Vancouver with a lower body injury and will not be able to suit up against the Penguins. Fellow d-man Willie Mitchell is coming off a +2 effort against the Wild. He now leads all NHL defencemen in plus minus (+14).

Mitchell and the rest of the Canucks blue-line will be put to the test against the Penguins (12-4-3). Having gone 7-0-1 in their last eight games, the Pens are coming off a 3-2 win on the road against the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday. Sidney Crosby was the 1st star of the night, scoring a goal and adding two assists. Despite a good start to the season, Crosby is not the Pens leading point getter. Evgeni Malkin leads his team and the NHL in scoring with seven goals and 24 assists.

In their lone meeting last season, the Canucks dropped a 2-1 decision in a shoot-out at GM Place on Dec. 8. Roberto Luongo was busy that night turning aside 32 shots, which included a penalty shot save on Luongo. Also busy was Pittsburgh netminder Dany Sabourin, who made 35 saves. He'll likely get the start against Vancouver Saturday as their #1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is injured.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams:


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

Ohlund - Nycholat
Mitchell - O'Brien
Edler - Davison/Baumgartner



Miroslav Satan - Sidney Crosby - Maxime Talbot
Petr Sykora - Evgeni Malkin - Ruslan Fedotenko
Matt Cooke - Jordan Stall - Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis - Mike Zigomanis - Eric Godard

Rob Scuderi - Hal Gill
Phillipe Boucher - Alex Goligoski
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang

Dany Sabourin
John Curry

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Canucks Cap Comeback Win Over Wild

The Canucks erased two one-goal deficits and wound up helping goalie Curtis Sanford collect his first win of the season as they edged out the Minnesota Wild 3-2 at the Xcel Energy Center. The win not only puts Vancouver three points clear of the Wild for top spot in the Northwest Division, but it also gave Alain Vigneault his 100th victory as the Canucks bench boss.

The game did not get off to a blistering start as both teams were scoreless through the first period and combined for no more than three quality scoring chances.

Wild captain Mikko Koivu opened the scoring on a goal Sanford would like to have back. Koivu while skating down the left wing wired a slap shot that squeeked underneath the arm of the Canucks puckstopper. Antti Miettinen and Stephane Veilleux collect the assists on Koivu's 4th of the year at 7:16.

Vancouver got the all-important equalizer with eight minutes remaining in the period. Willie Mitchell's point shot wound up being blocked in left face off circle. Kyle Wellwood poked the loose disc to Steve Bernier who chipped the puck over the shoulder of goalie Niklas Backstrom. For Bernier, who had gone eight games without a goal, tallied his 5th of the season.

The Canucks had a great chance to get into the lead while working on a power play. However Daniel Sedin's pass out of the corner went astray through the Wild zone and to a wide open Koivu who raced home on a breakaway. He made no mistake snapping home his 5th of the year at 14:22.

A short time later, the Canucks found themselves on another power play and this time they were able to convert, albeit on a lucky bounce. Pavol Demitra, playing against his former team mates fed the puck from low in the face off circle towards the crease. His pass wound up deflecting off of the stick of Marek Zidlicky and past Backstrom. Henrik Sedin and Alexander Edler get credit with the assists on Demitra's 5th at 16:10.

There were not a lot of great chances in the early part of the third period, but the deadlock would be broken at the tail end of a Canucks man advantage. Good work by Demitra low in the zone allowed the puck to get to Henrik in the right face off circle. He quickly dished it to his wide open brother who burried it home. Daniel moved into a tie with Wellwood for the club goal-scoring lead with his 8th of the season. It also proved to be his 2nd game winner of the campaign and it came at 11:41.

Minnesota applied some decent pressure in the second half of the 3rd period, but Sanford was there to shut the door and preserve the win. He wound up stopping 28 shots for his first win since December of 2007!

With his two point performance, Demitra now has points in four straight games (3g,4a). Daniel Sedin also has points in the same stretch (3g,2a). And with a +2 effort on the night, Mitchell now leads all NHL defenceman in plus minus (+14).

The Canucks wound up being out-shot 30-27 on the night. Vancouver went 1-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. The second goal by Koivu turned out to be the first short-handed goal allowed by the Canucks this season.

Now with an overall record of 12-6-2, the Canucks have found themselves taking points in their last eight straight games. They'll head back to the Eastern time zone on Friday morning in preparation to play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Game time for the matinee match-up against Sidney Crosby & Co. will be 11:00am PST.

Canucks/Wild Game Day In St. Paul

The Canucks (11-6-2) appear at the Xcel Energy Center for the first time this season to play on the road against the Wild (11-4-1). Whoever wins this game will enter the weekend in sole possession of top spot in the Northwest Division.

Vancouver only had a few players on the ice this morning for an optional game day skate. After facing 42 shots in a 6-3 win last night over the New York Rangers, Roberto Luongo is going to get a well-deserved rest. After watching the last 14 games from the bench, Curtis Sanford will get the start against Minnesota. His one and only start of the season (also his last appearance on the ice) was Oct. 17 in Buffalo. That night, the Sabres built up a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes and wound up winning 5-2. Sanford made 26 saves in the loss.

Sami Salo is not likely to play tonight as he's under the weather. The Canucks have called up Nolan Baumgartner from the Manitoba Moose. He's led all Moose d-men in scoring this seaosn with a goal and five assists in 12 games in the AHL.

The Wild are currently averaging 1.91 goals against this season. With just 31 goals allowed in 16 games, they lead the league in that category and they also sport the top penalty kill in the NHL (4 goals in 64 PK's). What makes it even more interesting is that they're the most penalized team in the league, averaging just over five minors per game.

They're coming off back-to-back shoot-out wins over Pittsburgh on Tuesday (2-1) and Columbus last Saturday (3-2). D-man Marek Zidlicky scored the winner in both games.

In their last meeting, the Canucks posted a 2-0 win over the Wild at GM Place Nov. 8. Salo and Daniel Sedin each scored while Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa each had a pair of assists. Luongo collected the shut-out as both teams were tied 29-29 in shots.

Canucks Suck the Life Out of MSG

On the grandest stage in the National Hockey League Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks found themselves in a situation most teams haven’t in recent years: holding a 5-1 lead at the midway point of the game on route to a 6-3 win over the home town and Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers.

It didn’t take long for the Madison Square Garden faithful to have their collective yaps shut as the Canucks built up a 2-0 lead after the opening period. Kyle Wellwood opened the scoring with a breakaway finish that gave Rangers starter Henrik Lundqvist no chance. Mattias Ohlund and Taylor Pyatt collect the assists on Wellwood’s team-leading 8th of the year at 4:16.

Before the midway point of the frame, the home team was dealt a huge blow as Alex Burrows netted a breakaway while short-handed. Jannik Hansen gets the lone helper on the 2nd SHG of the year for Burrows. It was also his 5th of the season at 9:38.

The Canucks did not take their foot off the gas pedal into the 2nd period and were rewarded for their efforts early on. Hansen forced a turnover low in the New York zone and found Burrows in front of the net. He made no mistake for his 2nd of the game and 6th of the year at 1:23.

Less than a minute later, the Canucks made it a 4-0 contest. Ohlund worked the puck down low in the Rangers zone for Pyatt. He immediately found Ryan Johnson alone in the slot and he snapped his chance behind Lundqvist. For Johnson, it proved to not only be his 1st in a Canucks jersey but also the game winner at 2:21. Johnson now becomes the 10th Canucks skater to score a goal that lifted Vancouver to a win this season.

The Rangers were able to break the shut-out bid of Roberto Luongo while going to work on a power play a few shifts later. Wade Redden fed a nice pass up the middle to Chris Drury who split the Canucks defence. His move past the Canucks captain allowed him to slide home his 8th of the year. Lundqvist got credit for the other assist at 3:12.

A few minutes after the home team scored, the Rangers found themselves in penalty trouble with two players in the box. The Canucks looked to have scored on the 5-on-3 as Daniel Sedin’s goal-mouth scramble chance squeeked across the line. Despite replays that looked to show the puck having crossed the line, the off-ice reviewing officials deemed the puck did not fully enter the net.

However the Canucks did eventually capitalize with the 5-on-3 chance. Pavol Demitra’s shot from the right face off circle rattled off the post and in. Henrik Sedin and Sami Salo chip in the assists on Demitra’s 4th of the year. Now with two goals and three assists in his last three games, Demitra’s insurance marker came at 5:33. That would prove to be the last goal allowed by Lundqvist, who looked to have pulled himself from the game after allowing five goals on 17 shots. He wound up being replaced by Stephen Valiquette, who didn’t allow another goal against on 15 Vancouver shots.

Exactly three minutes after the visitors made it 5-1, the Rangers netted their second goal of the game. In a scramble around the Canucks crease, Aaron Voros jabbed the puck underneath Luongo. Despite lying on his back and freezing himself, the puck got past the Canucks goalie and across the line. Nigel Dawes and Dmitri Kalinin get credit for the helpers on the 7th of the year for Voros at 8:33.

New York really poured on the pressure in the third period, one that saw them out-shoot Vancouver 17-5. However the only goal the were able to tally came on a power play. Former Canucks captain Markus Naslund fed a nice pass to a wide open Ryan Callahan, who made no mistake drilling home his 6th of the year. Drury gets the other assist at 7:45.

Despite getting Valiquette to the bench for the extra attacker late in the game, the Rangers weren’t able to pull any closer. In fact, with the net empty, the Canucks scored one more for good measure as Daniel Sedin re-directed a shot off the stick of Ohlund. Ryan Kesler gets the other assist on Daniel’s 7th of the year with three seconds left on the clock. Ohlund finished the night with three assists and a +4 rating.

Final shots on net did favour the Rangers by a margin of 42-33. The Canucks wound up going 1-for-4 on the power play while New York went 2-for-6.

Now with a record of 11-6-2, the Canucks prepare for a quick turnaround as they get set to take on the Wild in Minnesota Thursday night. Game time is 5:00pm PST.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Canucks & Rangers Game Day

The one and only meeting of the season between the Canucks (10-6-2) and Rangers (14-5-2) takes place tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Canucks had an optional skate at MSG today. Roberto Luongo will start in goal while Alexander Edler is back in on defence after missing the last two with the flu. Likely Rob Davison will be a scratch on D.

Canucks are 14th overall in goals scored in the NHL (54). Pavol Demitra who has 1g,3a in his last two games will start this game skating again with Daniel & Henrik Sedin. Daniel has 1g,1a in his last two games as well. In Vancouver's last two losses (2-1 @ NYI and 2-1 vs COL), the Canucks scored the opening goal of the game. They are 9-1-2 when that happens this season.

The Rangers are currently off to one of their best starts in franchise history. Currently setting team records for points (30) and wins (14) through their first 21 games. Last time they did that was the season they won the Cup in '94.

Three of New York's four games have gone to shoot-outs, their most recent a 2-1 SO win at home against Ottawa on Monday. New York has the 2nd best PK in the NHL, one that has not allowed a power play goal against in their last four games. They're currently missing Scott Gomez, who has missed three straight games with a leg injury.

In their lone meeting last season, the Canucks shut-out the Rangers 3-0 at GM Place on Jan. 3. Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, and Jason Jaffray scored for Vancouver while Luongo made 28 saves for the shut-out. Rangers #1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist did not appear in that game, as Steve Valiquette made 16 saves in the loss.

Here are the expected line combos for both teams tonight:


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

Ohlund - Salo
Mitchell - O'Brien
Nycholat - Edler



Markus Naslund - Chris Drury - Ryan Callahan
Nikolai Zherdev - Brandon Dubinsky - Aaron Voros
Nigel Dawes - Lauri Korpikoski - Dan Fritsche
Fredrik Sjostrom - Blair Betts - Colton Orr

Dmitiri Kalinin - Michal Rozsival
Paul Mara - Marc Stall
Wade Redden - Dan Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist
Steve Valiquette

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Canucks Earn Point On Long Island

Despite a great start Monday against the New York Islanders, the Canucks could only salvage a point for their efforts as they fell 2-1 in a shoot-out at the Nassau Coliseum.

Pavol Demitra tallied his third goal of the season just 49 seconds into the game after blasting a one-timer from the right face off circle past Islanders goalie Joey MacDonald. Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who were put on a line with Demitra, both picked up assists to give Demitra four points in his last two games.

MacDonald played well for the rest of the opening period, one that saw the Canucks out-shoot the home team 10-5. However any kind of offensive mindset Vancouver had going into the intermission disappeared in the middle frame as the Islanders came out buzzing. If it wasn't for the netminding efforts of Roberto Luongo, the Canucks could have easily found themselves down by a couple of goals. The lone goal that did get by the Vancouver captain came on a New York power play. Doug Weight's point shot took a deflection off the stick of d-man Shane O'Brien and found its way to the back of the net. Bill Guerin and Frans Neilsen collect the helpers on Weight's 4th of the year at 14:35. That would be the only goal in a period where the Islanders out-shot Vancouver 18-9.

There were not a lot of great scoring chances for either team in the third period. Sami Salo might have had the best on a Canucks power play from the slot, but his wrist shot rattled off the post.

No goals were scored in overtime, despite some fantastic back-and-forth play by both teams. Lawrence Nycholat had two glorious chances late in the extra session, but MacDonald came up big stops to force the game to a shoot-out.

Neilsen was the first and only Islander to beat Luongo and his back handed attempt would be tucked under the cross bar. Josh Bailey and Trent Hunter failed to convert on their opportunities which gave Vancouver some hope. However Kyle Wellwood had his wrist shot denied by MacDonald. Then Demitra's weak attempt was stopped easily by the goaltender. Finally MacDonald's best save came when he poke-checked Alex Burrows on the Canucks last attempt.

Final shots on net were 35-32 in favour of the Islanders. The Canucks finished the game going 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Now with a record of 10-6-2, the Canucks will have Tuesday off in Manhattan to prepare for their next action which will be against the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Game time is 4:30pm PST.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Canucks & Islanders Game Day

The Canucks (10-6-1) open up this week's 4-game road trip at the Nassau Colisseum tonight against the New York Islanders (6-9-2).

The Canucks are playing an Atlantic Division opponent for the first time this season. Last year the Canucks went 3-1-1 against teams from that division, which inlcuded a 3-2 shoot-out win at home against the Islanders Jan. 8/08. Alexander Edler had the winning goal in the shoot-out that night for Vancouver.

One interesting note for the Canucks regarding their special teams...through 17 games, the club has had the same number of power plays and it has penalty kills (88). They club is also 18th overall in both departments in the NHL standings.

No line-up changes are expected for Vancouver for tonight's game compared to Saturday's 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Edler is with the team but is still side-lined with the flu and will not dress tonight. The one question that is up in the air is who will Daniel and Henrik Sedin start the game with. I think Mason Raymond will skate with them again despite not playing much of the third period against Toronto alongside the twins. However I wouldn't be surprised to maybe see Taylor Pyatt take Raymond's spot on that line and then Raymond skate with Kyle Wellwood and Pavol Demitra.

The Islanders are coming off back-to-back wins last week against Ottawa. Currently with the second-worst home ice record of any team in the Eastern Conference (3-6-1), they have scored the second-most short-handed goals of any team in the NHL (6). Last year, the Islanders went 1-1-3 against teams from the Northwest Division.

Here are the expected line-ups for tonight's game:


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

Mitchell - O'Brien
Nycholat - Ohlund
Salo - Davison



Sean Bergenheim - Doug Weight - Bill Guerin
Jeff Tambellini - Frans Nielsen - Trent Hunter
Andy Hilbert - Josh Bailey - Kyle Okposo
Jon Sim - Richard Park - Tim Jackman

Andy Sutton - Mark Streit
Chris Campoli - Radek Martinek
Brett Skinner - Bruno Gervais

Joey MacDonald
Yann Danis

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Canucks Cruise Past Leafs Saturday

A great playoff-like atmosphere at General Motors Place Saturday night saw the Vancouver Canucks wrap up their six-game home stand with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The first seven minutes were controlled by the Leafs. They were rewarded with a 5-on-3 power play and generated numerous chances. However, netminder Roberto Luongo came up with some clutch saves before the first in-house time-out. At that time, Vancouver was out-shot 10-0.

The Canucks were able to score on their first shot the way of Vesa Toskala. Off a face off in the Toronto zone, Shane O'Brien got the puck down to the right corner for Pavol Demitra. He wasted no time dishing the puck towards the slot for Kyle Wellwood, who wound up quickly re-directing it high under the cross bar on the short side of the netminder. Wellwood, playing against his former Leafs team mates for the first time, collected his team-leading 7th of the season at 7:43.

Before the period was out, the Canucks cashed in on a power play. This time Demitra found Mattias Ohlund at the middle of the point. His shot would be kicked away by Toskala, but the rebound would be snapped home by Ryan Kesler. For the Canucks assistant captain, it was his first power play goal of the year and his first goal in six games. Kesler's 5th of the campaign came at 18:10.

Vancouver built on their lead early on in the middle frame and it came on an odd-man rush. Jannik Hansen got the puck up the right wing for Alex Burrows who skated wide into the Toronto end. Instead of returning the puck to Hansen who drove the net, Burrows dropped the puck to the trailer being Willie Mitchell. He made no mistake depositing his first of the season. Mitchell also becomes the 9th Canucks skater this season to net what proves to be a game-winner and it occured at 3:35.

Just under five minutes later, the Canucks made it a 4-0 affair. Demitra, parked behind the Leafs net, found Lawrence Nycholat in the right face off circle. Instead of shooting, the d-man dished the puck to the low slot where Daniel Sedin redirected the puck home. Sedin's insurance marker at 8:31 would be the last goal given up by Toskala, who would be replaced by Curtis Joseph after allowing four goals on nine Canucks shots.

Niklas Hagman had a couple of great chances for the visitors to break the shut-out bid of Luongo. Late in the 2nd, he rattled a shot off the post and then was robbed on a great glove save near the midway point of the 3rd while working a power play.

Eventually the Leafs got on the scoreboard as the Canucks were unable to clear the puck on three different chances from their own end. Ian White snapped a shot through traffic that found its way to the back of the net. Jeff Finger and Anton Stralman get the helpers on White's 3rd of the season at 14:53. It was the first even-strength goal allowed by the Canucks in a whopping 365 minutes of action!

The final goal of the game came on a lucky break for Toronto as they worked a late power play. Matt Stajan had a pass bounce off his skate and across the goal line. Tomas Kaberle and Alexi Ponikarovski hit the score sheet on Stajan's 5th at 17:30.

Despite getting the extra attacker on the ice for the final moments of the game, the Leafs couldn't take another couple of steps to force the game to overtime. The Canucks were out-shot 30-15 on a night which saw Vancouver go 1-for-5 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill.

The home club skated this game without defencemen Kevin Bieksa (foot) and Alexander Edler (flu). Both Nycholat and Rob Davison appeared in the line-up and put in a combined 26+ minutes of ice time.

The Canucks (10-6-1) concluded their lengthy home stand with a record of 4-1-1. Now the club will embark on a four-game trip to the eastern U.S. First up will be New York Islanders on Monday night. Game time from the Nassau Colisseum will be 4:00pm PST.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Canucks Ready For Leafs Nation

The Vancouver Canucks prepare to host the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time in three seasons when the two clubs lock horns Saturday night at General Motors Place.

Both teams have full skates at GM Place Friday. The Canucks (9-6-1) were without Kevin Bieksa who has been side-lined for up to a month with a hair-line fracture in his left foot. The injury was suffered in the game against the Nashville Predators November 4 in a collision with teammate Michel Ouellet.

In Bieksa's absence, the Canucks have re-called d-man Lawrence Nycholat from the Manitoba Moose. However he won't likely factor into the line-up Saturday as Rob Davison draws in to appear for just his third game of the season.

Forward Pavol Demitra will make his much-anticipated return to the roster Saturday after missing ten games with fractured cartilage in his ribs. He's expected to skate on a line with Taylor Pyatt and Kyle Wellwood. That means Steve Bernier would play on right wing with Ryan Johnson and Darcy Hordichuk.

As for the Maple Leafs (7-6-4), they arrive on the west coast in 8th spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They're coming off a 5-2 win over the Oilers in Edmonton Thursday night, a game which saw them score three times on the power play. Surprising to many hockey fans, inside and outside of Toronto, they are the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference (55 goals). What might not be surprising is the fact they are dead last in the NHL on the penalty kill, allowing 19 goals against in 67 penalty kills.

Here are the expected line-ups for Saturday's 4:00pm match-up:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Raymondd
Pyatt - Wellwood - Demitra
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Johnson - Bernier

Mitchell - Ohlund
Salo - Edler
O'Brien - Davison


Maple Leafs:

Niklas Hagman - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Alexi Ponikarovsky - Matt Stajan - Nik Antropov
Jason Blake - Alex Steen - Ian White
Ryan Hollweg - Dominic Moore - Jamal Mayers

Tomas Kaberle - Luke Schenn
Jeff Finger - Pavel Kubina
Carlo Colaiacovo - Anton Stralman

Vesa Toskala
Curtis Joseph

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shut Out Streak Snaps Against Avs

Despite a new franchise record being set for most consecutive minutes without allowing a goal against, the Vancouver Canucks wound up falling 2-1 in a shoot-out Wednesday night against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

Much like the past couple of games at GM Place, this contest was a goaltenders duel. Roberto Luongo and Peter Budaj were both outstanding through 65 minutes of action and certainly gave their respective teams every opportunity to get a maximum two points for their efforts.

The lone goal to beat Luongo in regulation came on a goal mouth scramble during a Colorado power play. Paul Stastny gets credit for the tally at 1:28 of the third period. That officially saw Luongo's club-record shut-out streak come to a hault at a total of 242 minutes and 36 seconds.

Vancouver's lone marker on the night came early in the second period on a penalty shot. After having his stick broken out of his hands while on a clear scoring opportunity, Taylor Pyatt stepped up and whistled one high past Budaj. For Pyatt, it was his first ever penalty shot goal in the NHL and also his 2nd of the season at 2:43.

Luongo was at his busiest at the early and late stages of the game. The Canucks captain stopped every shot he faced in the opening frame, one that saw the Avs lead the shot clock 16-8. However his best efforts came in the third period as he stopped Tyler Arnason from the slot and Wojtek Wolski from the right face off cirlce with 0.7 seconds left on the clock.

At the other end of the rink, Budaj was equally if not better than his counterpart. His best saves came when Vancouver worked a power play around the middle of the third period. Mason Raymond was stoned in close at the beginning of the man advantage before Budaj made a huge cross crease save on Henrik Sedin with 9:30 remaining.

Neither club generated much in the overtime period so the game would be decided in the shoot-out. Kyle Wellwood and Pyatt both missed their opportunities but Alex Burrows kept Vancouver's hopes alive. However Wolski and Marek Svatos were able to get their shots past Luongo and lifted the Avalanche to the extra point.

Final shots on net favoured the visitors by a margin of 34-32. The Canucks, despite generating some great opportunities on the power play, finished the night 0-for-4. Colorado meantime went 1-for-5.

The Canucks (9-6-1) have taken points in six of their last seven games. However there record when scoring the first goal of a game now stands at 8-2-0 while their record when leading after 40 minutes shows up at 5-0-1.

Vancouver will practice Thursday and Friday at GM Place as they prepare to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday afternoon. Game time is at 4:00pm PST.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Canucks & Avalanche Game Day

Tonight will be the first meeting of the season between the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche. Both teams are coming off shut-out efforts in their last games and both teams are at opposite ends of the Northwest Division standings.

The Canucks (9-6-0) have won five of their last six outtings, which includes three straight shut-outs. Roberto Luongo has gone 201:08 minutes without allowing a goal against. He is 9:26 away from his career best 212:12 shut-out sequence, which was established last season.

Kevin Bieksa has the longest current point-scoring streak for Vancouver. In the Canucks last three victories, Bieksa has tallied one goal and three assists.

Jannik Hansen will return to the Canucks line-up tonight after missing the last four games with a groin injury. Coming out of the line-up will be Michel Ouellet, who in fact has been re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose. Ouellet had appeared in three games with the Canucks, collecting no points and a +1 rating.

The Canucks have been perfect against teams from the Northwest this season (4-0-0). In fact, every one of the Canucks victories this season has come against a Western Conference opponent.

The Avalanche (6-8-0) have been labelled as one of the streakiest teams in the NHL this year. And that's for good reason as they just snapped a five-game losing streak last Saturday with a 1-0 win at home against the Nashville Predators. Prior to that losing skid, the Avs had won five in a row.

Colordao will be without their captain for this game as Joe Sakic has stayed at home in Denver to get treatment on his sore back. Although they didn't skate in line combos during their morning practice, rookie forward T.J. Hensick very likely could take Sakic's spot on the line between Milan Hejduk and Wojtek Wolski.

Here are the expected line-ups for tonight's meeting:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Raymond
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Pyatt - Wellwood - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Salo
Edler - O'Brien



Wojtek Wolski - T.J. Hensick - Milan Hekduk
Ryan Smyth - Paul Stastny - Marek Svatos
Darcy Tucker - Ben Guite - Ian Laperriere
Cody McLeod - Tyler Arnason - David Jones

Scott Hannan - Adam Foote
John-Micheal Liles - Brett Clark
Ruslan Salei - Jordan Leopold

Peter Budaj
Andrew Raycroft

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hansen To Return/Sakic To Sit Out

The Canucks had a full practice on Remembrance Day at General Motors Place.

Jannik Hansen was back skating in drills with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows. Hansen has missed the last four games with a groin injury suffered October 31 in Anaheim.

Pavol Demitra skated a full practice today as well. He likely won't be back to 100% health until the weekend.

Vancouver (9-6-0) will put their three-game home ice winning streak on the line Wednesday night when they entertain the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs (6-8-0) were last in action Saturday when they posted a 1-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Darcy Tucker had the lone goal in the game, his 200th of his NHL career.

Colorado team captain Joe Sakic left that game with a sore back. He has been battling back problems for much of the early going this season. The Rocky Mountain News from Denver is reporting Sakic will not travel to Vancouver to play against his hometown team tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Luongo Shuts Down Wild Saturday

Another night at GM Place. Another shut-out for Vancouver's captain.

Saturday night, against the team sporting the lowest goals against totals in the NHL, the Canucks shut the door for a third straight game as they blanked the Minnesota Wild 2-0.

Roberto Luongo was the difference maker in this one for the home team. He stopped all 29 shots the Wild fired his way to collect his NHL-leading 5th shut-out. His best period was the middle frame as both Andrew Brunette and Pierre-Marc Bouchard each had a pair of close range opportunities that looked like sure goals. However Luongo came up with some hi-lite reel saves to denied the Wild forwards.

The game winning goal came past the midway point of the first period and it came on a power play. Henrik Sedin was able to get the puck off the half boards to the right point for Kevin Bieksa. He wasted no time dishing it across the line for a wide open Sami Salo, who drilled it by Wild #1 goalie Niklas Backstrom. For Salo, it was his first goal of the season and it came at 13:36. In the process, Salo became the 8th Canucks player to net a game-winning goal this year. It also turned out to be just the fourth goal the Wild surrendered this season while skating short-handed.

Daniel Sedin capped off the scoring for the home team with a key insurance goal on a breakaway. With under three minutes to play in regulation, Daniel received the puck from his brother Henrik and got free behind the defence. A beautiful finish to the back hand gave Backstrom no chance. Bieksa collects his second point of the night on Daniel's 5th of the year at 17:20.

The two clubs finished the night tied on the shot clock with 29 apiece. Vancouver wound up going 1-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. In their last three shut-out victories on home ice, the Canucks have killed off 12 straight minor penalties.

Luongo has stopped 81 shots in his last three victories. The last goal he gave up was against the Detroit Red Wings on November 2. Since that goal, he has gone 201:08 minutes without allowing a goal against! By the way, Luongo holds the club record for the longest consecutive shut-out streak. Last season over a span of three complete games, he went 210:34 without having the red light behind him turned on.

Now sporting an overall record of 9-6-0, the Canucks are now in first place in the Northwest Division. What's equally as impressive is the fact the Canucks are 4-0-0 against teams in their own division.

Winners of five of their last six games, the Canucks will have a well-deserved day off for rest on Sunday and prepare to get back to practice on Monday. They'll be back on home ice Wednesday November 12 to entertain the Colorado Avalanche.

Canucks & Wild Game Day

After winning four of their last five games, the Vancouver Canucks will look to make it three straight victories on home ice tonight as they entertain the Minnesota Wild.

Vancouver (8-6-0) is coming off back-to-back shut-out wins at GM Place. Captain Roberto Luongo has gone a combined 141:08 without allowing a goal against. He leads the league in shut-outs (4) and has 15 as a Canuck. Only Kirk McLean has more clean sheets in a Vancouver uniform (20).

Minnesota (8-3-1) comes to the west coast after a 3-1 win on the road against the Colorado Avalanche last Thursday. The Wild currently lead the league in goals against (26) and penalty killing (3 goals against in 48 short handed situations=93.8%).

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams heading into the game:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Raymond
Pyatt - Wellwood - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Ouellet
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Salo
Edler - O'Brien



Andrew Brunette - Mikko Koivu - Antti Miettinen
Craig Weller - Eric Belanger - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Stephane Veilleux - James Sheppard - Cal Clutterbuck
Derek Boogaard - Benoit Pouliot - Colton Gillies/Krystofer Kolanos

Marc-Andre Bergeron - Marek Zidlicky
Nick Schultz - Kim Johnsson
Martin Skoula - Erik Reitz/Tomas Mojzis

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Canucks Keep Coyotes At Bay Thursday

For the third time in a week, Roberto Luongo chalked up another NHL shut-out. This time, he denied all 28 shots that came his way in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.

It did turn out to be a goaltenders duel as Luongo and his counterpart Ilja Bryzgalov gave their teams every opportunity to collect points at GM Place. The Coyotes #1 netminder stopped 31 Vancouver shots while Luongo wound up collecting his NHL-leading 4th clean sheet on the season, now giving him 42 for his career.

The lone goal that came in this game occured with a little more than eight minutes to go in the first period. Darcy Hordichuk did a great job to get the puck up the left wing to Ryan Kesler. As soon has he crossed the line he fed a pass to Alex Burrows who went towards the net. Instead of shooting, he dropped a pass to a wide open Kevin Bieksa who had joined the rush. Bryzgalov had no chance as Bieksa snapped home his 3rd goal of the season. It also proved to be his first game-winner of the campaign at 11:56.

Bieksa was the best skater on the ice in this game. He racked up 25:16 minutes of ice time, including 7:06 on the power play. While only credited with two shots on net, he was also credited with four attempts that were blocked and three that missed the net. He now leads all Vancouver blue-liners in scoring with three goals and nine assists.

This game should have definitely been more than a 1-0 contest. The Canucks had numerous chances to build on their lead, especially in the middle frame when they didn't allow the Coyotes a shot on net for the first twelve minutes! Mason Raymond had the best chance of them all but Bryzgalov robbed him with a huge glove stop with about eight minutes to go. Raymond in the process saw his four-game point scoring streak come to an end.

The Canucks finished the game going 0-for-7 on the power play while Phoenix went 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Likely because the contest was so close, there wasn't a lot of heavy duty physical play in this game. The lone fight did occur early in the game as Mike Brown went at it with Coyotes sparkplug Daniel Carcillo.

This was not a night to remember for Kyle Turris. The New Westminster-born 19 year-old was a healthy scratch in a game many expected he would play. That's now two straight games Wayne Gretzky has elected to have Turris watch from the press box.

The Canucks (8-6-0) have won four of their last five and are currently 3-1-0 on their current six-game home stand. The club will skate at the Pacific Coliseum on Friday in preparation for their next action which will be Saturday November 8. That night, the Minnesota Wild will make their first appearance at GM Place.

Canucks Host Desert Dogs Thursday

If recent history is any indication for Canucks fans, we could be in for a very high scoring affair tonight at GM Place as the Phoenix Coyotoes make their first appearance of the season in Vancouver.

The Canucks (7-6-0) are coming off a 4-0 blanking of the Nashville Predators Tuesday night. That was Roberto Luongo's NHL-leading third clean sheet of the season. However, remember what happened after the two previous Canucks wins this year where they held their opponents off the score sheet.

On opening night in Vancouver Oct. 9, the Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 6-0. Two nights later in Calgary, Vancovuer skated away with 5-4 win in overtime.

Last Thursday, the Canucks shut out the Kings 4-0 in Los Angeles. One night later in Anaheim, they came away with two points in a nightmare of Halloween hockey, edging out the Ducks 7-6 in a 26-skater shoot-out.

With that in mind, the Canucks likely prepare to play a very sound, structured game on home ice against the Coyotes tonight. Phoenix (5-5-0) comes to town on the heels of its' most impressive road win of the season, doubling up the Flames 4-2 Tuesday evening at the Saddledome.

This will be the first chance for Vancouver fans to see one of the youngest teams in the NHL this season. The Coyotes do boast some very talented veterans in the likes of Shane Doan (7g,5a) and Olli Jokinen (4g,7a). But they do also feature their two first round picks from last summer's draft in Mikkel Boedker (8th overall) and Viktor Tikhonov (28th overall), plus their previous two 1st rounders in former Everett Silvertips all-star Peter Mueller (2006) and New Westminster native Kyle Turris (2007).

Here's how the line-ups should look in preparation for tonight's match-up:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Ouellet
Burrows - Kesler - Raymond
Pyatt - Wellwood - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Salo
Edler - O'Brien



Shane Doan - Olli Jokinen - Peter Mueller
Kevin Porter - Steven Reinprecht - Mikkel Boedker
Daniel Winnek - Martin Hanzel - Viktor Tikhonov
Daniel Carcillo - Kyle Turris - Todd Fedoruk

Ed Jovanoski - Zbyenk Michalek
Kurt Sauer - Derek Morris
David Hale - Ken Klee

Ilya Bryzgalov
Mikael Tellqvist

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wellwood Leads Team to Shut Out Over Preds

He started the season watching from the press box. Then he basically was left waiting for a place to play. Now Kyle Wellwood finds himself leading the Canucks in goal scoring as his two-goal performance helped lead Vancouver to a 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night.

Wellwood snapped a scoreless contest just prior to the midway point of the second period while on the power play. After Henrik and Daniel Sedin were able to cycle the puck down low to get it into crease, Wellwood was able to jab it behind Dan Ellis. It was the Canucks first power play goal on home ice after going 0-for-10 in their last two games at GM Place.

Mason Raymond built on the Canucks lead early on in the third period on another goal mouth scramble. Steve Bernier and Kevin Bieksa were able to get the puck into the blue paint and cause havoc around the Predators goal. Eventually Raymond scooped it in for his 5th of the campaign. In 8 of his last 9 games, Raymond has five goals and five assists.

59 seconds later, Wellwood potted the prettiest goal of the game. After Taylor Pyatt won a face off, Wellwood got free in front of Ellis and beat him high under the cross bar. Wellwood now has six goals on the season, which includes four power play markers and two game winning tallies.

Daniel Sedin wrapped up the scoring for the Canucks on another play where they were rewarded with getting to the dirty areas. Willie Mitchell's point shot was deflected by Henrik off the post, but Daniel managed to slide it across the goal line for his 4th of the season.

Roberto Luongo certainly did his part to earn his third shut-out of the season and 41st of his career. He looked very zoned in early on in the game, especially in the first period. At one point in the opening frame, the Canucks were out-shooting their opponents 10-3. By the end of the period the shots were 11-11. Luongo's best save came came in the second period as a great acrobatic effort denied Nashville's leading scorer J.P. Dumont.

The Canucks out-shot the Predators 39-24, giving them their highest shots-on-goal total of the season. Vancouver finished the game going 2-for-7 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Every Canucks defenceman had a minimum of two shots on target against Nashville. Mitchell and Sami Salo led the club in the shots column with five each.

Now with a record of 7-6-0, the Canucks will prepare to play host to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. Wayne Gretzky's squad comes to the west coast at 5-5-0 and on the heels of having beat the Flames 4-2 in Calgary Tuesday night.

Canucks & Predators Game Day

The Canucks will make a couple of changes to their roster in preparation for tonight's game at home against the Nashville Predators.

Michel Ouellet will make his Vancouver debut after being called up from the Manitoba Moose. He'll wear #25 and he'll play on the right side with Kyle Wellwood in the middle and Taylor Pyatt on the left wing. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler will now have Mason Raymond on RW while Steve Bernier goes back to play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Jason Krog has been re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose.

The Predators are opening up a season-long six game road trip. At 6-4-1 on the year, they're only 1-3-1 on the road. Head Coach Barry Trotz will be behind the bench for his 750th career game in the NHL, all of which have been with Nashville.

Here are the expected line combos and pairings for both teams:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Raymond
Pyatt - Wellwood - Ouellet
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Edler
Salo - O'Brien




J.P. Dumont - Jason Arnott - Patric Hornqvist
Ryan Jones - David Legwand - Martin Erat
Jerred Smithson - Radek Bonk - Joel Ward
Nick Tarnasky - Vernon Fiddler - Jordin Tootoo

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Dan Hamhuis - Greg de Vries
Greg Zanon - Kevin Klein

Dan Ellis
Pekka Rinne

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tough Night on PP/PK Lead to Loss vs Wings

If one lesson was learned by the Vancouver Canucks Sunday night, it was that they have to play near, if not, 100% mistake-free hockey to beat a team that is in the upper tiers of the NHL. The Canucks were burnt numerous times by the Detroit Red Wings while skating short-handed and wound up falling 3-2 at GM Place.

Every goal scored by the defending Stanley Cup Champs came when they had a power play. However every goal that was scored came as a result of unsuccessful clearing attempts by the Canucks defence while in their own zone. Sami Salo coughed up a puck that led to the opening marker by Mikael Samuelsson in the 2nd period. Mattias Ohlund's failed clearing attempt in the middle frame saw Brian Rafalski convert on a point shot. Then late in the 2nd, while down 5-on-3, Kevin Bieksa's opportunity to clear the zone was foiled and eventually resulted in the evenutal game winner courtesy of Henrik Zetterberg.

A team like the Red Wings, who came into the game sporting the #1 power play in the league, will more often than not capitalize on mistakes made by teams in their own zone. This was very evident Sunday and the Canucks should be thankful they were only short-handed four times in the game.

At the other end of the rink, the Canucks failed to convert on any of their seven man advantages. They may have deserved a bit of a better fate on the scoreboard through based on how they played 5-on-5, especially in the third period. Henrik Sedin got the Canucks their only goal in the opening 40 minutes after taking a beautiful pass from the end boards courtesy of Daniel Sedin. Then in the final stanza, just as a power play expired, Kyle Wellwood drilled home a shot after the puck had bounced off the end boards.

After that, it was the Chris Osgood show. The Wings #1 netminder stoned the Canucks who put on plenty of pressure in a period that saw them out-shoot the visitors 13-3. The best chances came to Alexander Edler who was denied from the left face off circle and Ryan Kesler, who's bullet from the slot wound up being drilled right at the goalie.

Now with a record of 6-6-0, the Canucks will prepare to take on the Nashville Predators at home on Tuesday. The Preds come to Vancouver at 6-4-1 and are one point ahead of Vancouver in the Western Conference standings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stanley Cup Champs Invade GM Place

After taking four points from their two-day trip into California this past week, the Vancouver Canucks get set to open up a six-game home stand tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Canucks are coming off their marathon 7-6 win in a shoot-out against the Anaheim Ducks on Halloween. The win did come at a price to Vancouver as Jannik Hansen suffered a groin injury while playing in overtime. He will not dress tonight at GM Place and as a result, Jason Krog comes back into the line-up to take his spot on the line with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows.

The Wings are coming off three straight games in California, all of which saw them give up points. After collecting a 4-3 shoot-out win over the L.A. Kings, Detroit lost 5-4 in overtime to Anaheim last Wednesday and then dropped a 4-2 decision to San Jose on Thursday. However, they are still a strong club entering this game with a 7-2-2 record. The Wings are also the highest scoring team in the NHL with 41 goals for.

This will be the second meeting of the year between the two teams. In their previous meeting at Joe Louis Arena on October 16, Burrows scored the winning goal in a 4-3 overtime win for Vancouver.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Raymond
Pyatt - Wellwood - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Krog
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Edler
Salo - O'Brien


Red Wings:

Tomas Holmstrom - Pavel Datsyuk - Marian Hossa
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Mikael Samuelsson
Dan Cleary - Kris Draper - Jiri Hudler
Kirk Maltby - Tomas Kopecky - Darren McCarty

Nicklas Lidstrom - Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Derek Meech - Andreas Lilja

Chris Osgood
Ty Conklin

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Canucks Edge Out Ducks In Shoot Out

This game should have been played on Friday the 13th rather than Halloween. Exciting, sloppy, entertaining, draining: all appropriate words to describe a 7-6 Canucks shoot-out win over the Ducks in Anahiem Friday evening. What was most important for Vancouver was that they earned two points and return home with back-to-back wins from their California road trip.

Anaheim built up a 2-0 lead in the first period with power play goals courtesy of Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne. However, Steve Bernier responded quickly for the Canucks by burying a rebound past J.S. Giguere. Bernier’s 3rd of the season came 19 seconds after Selanne tallied his 7th of the campaign.

After killing off a couple of penalties early in the middle period, the Canucks pulled level. Ryan Kesler rushing to the puck was able to chip it over the netminder from high in the slot. Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen helped Kesler notch his 4th of the year at 7:57.

Vancouver took the lead while having to kill off a double minor high sticking penalty to Sami Salo. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Kevin Bieksa poked the puck up the right side for Burrows who wasted no time blasting a shot behind Giguere. For Burrows, it was his first short-handed goal of the season and 4th overall at 11:23.

The Canucks really took control of the game on back-to-back shifts. First it was Mattias Ohlund snapping home a shot from the right face off circle while on the power play. Salo and Mason Raymond get the helpers on Ohlund’s 2nd of the year at 14:38. That would be the last goal given up by Giguere who wound up being replaced by Jonas Hiller.

The first shot Hiller faced found the back of the net. With Burrows setting a screen in front, Bieksa’s shot from the right point found the top left corner. Hansen picks up the lone assist on Bieksa’s 2nd at 15:19.

Just when it looked like the Canucks had the game in total control, the Ducks were able to rally in a big way. Steve Montador started the comeback by converting a rebound chance given up by Roberto Luongo for his 1st of the year at 15:37. 23 seconds later, Ryan Getzlaf deflected home a shot off the stick of Chris Pronger for his 4th of the season. Then a short time later on the power play, Selanne jumped on a rebound to tie the game up 5-5 with his team-leading 8th of the year, seven of which have come of the man advantage.

The scored stayed the same until the 8:34 mark of the third period when the Canucks cashed in on another power play. Luongo moved the puck to Bieksa in the Vancouver zone, who immediately drilled it up the middle of the ice. His pass missed Bernier, but the Canucks forward caught up to it as it bounced off the end boards and immediately snapped it by Hiller. For Bernier it was his second of the game and 4th of the year.

Anaheim was able to press and force the game to overtime with under a minute to go in the period. With Hiller to the bench for the extra attacker, Corey Perry was able to jab in a shot on the short side of Luongo. Perry, who had already collected four assists on the night, tallied his 3rd goal of the year with 57 seconds left on the clock.

Neither team was able to score in overtime, despite some good back-and-forth end-to-end action in both ends of the rink. What was in store to come was something nobody thought would occur.

The Canucks and Ducks needed 13 shooters each to find a winner. Kyle Wellwood made a beautiful move to open the scoring for the Canucks. Getzlaf who was the second Anaheim shooter beat Luongo. After that, the goaltenders put on a clinic by denying everybody that came their way. Burrows, Raymond, Kesler, Bernier, Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler, Taylor Pyatt, Bieksa, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Johnson, and Salo all failed to beat Hiller. At the other end of the rink, Luongo came up with some huge saves, including big time stops off the likes of Brendan Morrison and Scott Niedermayer.

Eventually Ohlund wound up ripping a snap shot high to the top corner to seal the win for Vancouver. It wasn’t a pretty win, but the Canucks will take it as they collected their first win of the season after allowing the first goal of a game.

The Canucks wound up being out-shot 37-29 through 65 minutes at the Honda Center. Vancouver finished the night going 2-for-5 on the power play while Anaheim went 3-for-9. This was the longest shoot-out in Canucks history

Now with an overall record of 6-5-0, the Canucks will have the day off on Saturday to prepare to host the defending Stanley Cup champions Detroit Red Wings. Sunday evening the Canucks will host the Wings for the first time since pulling out a 4-3 win in overtime at Joe Louis Arena. Game time is 7:00pm PST.