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

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