Saturday, January 10, 2009

Canucks & Sharks Game Day

The Vancouver Canucks have their work cut out for them tonight at GM Place as they take on the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks.

Curtis Sanford will get the start in goal for Vancouver after Jason LaBarbera made 30 saves in a 6-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues last night. Sanford has not been in game action since injuring his groin against the Philadelphia Flyers Dec. 30. He came on in relief in the Canucks previous meeting with San Jose, stopping all 16 shots he faced in a 5-0 win by the Sharks at HP Pavillion.

Rob Davison will draw back into the line-up on the Canucks defence taking the spot of Lawrence Nycholat. Otherwise the Canucks (22-16-5) will go with the same line-up as to what they had last night.

Last night was just Vancouver's 2nd regulation loss of the season when scoring four goals or more (13-2-1). Heading into tonight's action, the team is 4-2-1 when playing on zero days rest.

The Sharks (30-5-5) posted a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers last night. That came after a disappointing 5-2 loss two nights previous to the Calgary Flames. San Jose sports the third best road record in the league (11-5-3) and they are currently 5th best in the NHL in both the power play (22.6%) and penalty kill (85.6%).

This team is stacked offensively, as they feature nine players with 20-or-more points Joe Thorton leads the club in points (47) and assists (38) while Patrick Marleau leads the squad in goals (21) and has points in three straight games (3g,1a).

The only significant change for the Sharks tonight will be in goal as Brian Boucher will get the start instead of Evgeni Nabokov. Boucher might have the best numbers of any "back-up" in the league as he is 8-1-1 with a goals against average of 1.86.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams tonight:


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

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Davison
O'Brien - Edler



Patrick Marleau - Joe Thorton - Devin Setoguchi
Milan Michalek - Joe Pavalski - Ryane Clowe
Jonathan Cheechoo - Marcel Goc - Mike Grier
Alexi Semenov - Thomas Plihal - Brad Staubitz

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Rob Blake
Doug Murray - Christian Erhoff
Derek Joslin - Dan Boyle

Brian Boucher
Evgeni Nabokov

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