Sunday, January 18, 2009

Canucks/Blue Jackets Game Day

The Vancouver Canucks look to snap out of their current six-game home ice winless streak tonight as they entertain the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be the first meeting of the season between the two clubs at GM Place. In their two previous meetings at the Nationwide Arena, the Jackets came out on top (4-2 Oct. 23 and 3-2 Dec. 1).

The Canucks (22-19-5) are playing their 3000th NHL game this evening and will make a couple of changes to their line-up. Sami Salo will be a game-time decision as to whether or not he returns to the Vancouver line-up. He's missed the last 14 games after recovering from a fractured rib injury. Mason Raymond will likely be a healthy scratch in this game as Kyle Wellwood returns to the line-up after watching Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes from the press box.

In the current four game losing streak, the Canucks are a combined 1-for-13 on the power play. In that same stretch, the club has allowed five power play goals against on 15 penalty kills.

The Blue Jackets (21-19-4) have won seven of their past ten games. They've been without the services of their leading scorer Rick Nash (17g,22a) for the last four games as he's been nursing a knee injury. However he's been taken off the injured list and could return to the line-up tonight. Veteran forward Manny Malhotra is riding a four-game point scoring streak (1g,4a).

The big story surrounding the Jackets comes in net as 20 year-old rookie Steve Mason continues his push to be a Calder Trophy candidate. He leads the NHL in goals against average (1.61) and shut outs (6). He'll have a new back-up tonight as Wade Dubielewicz makes his first appearance in a Blue Jackets uniform after being acquired off waivers yesterday from the New York Islanders.

Here are the expected line-ups for the Canucks and Blue Jackets

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

Mitchell - Bieksa
O'Brien - Edler
Ohlund - Salo
(gametime decision)
If Salo's out, I think they'll go with Davison



20 Kristian Huselius - 27 Manny Malhotra - 11 Craig MacDonald/61 Rick Nash
33 Fredrik Modin - 18 R.J. Umberger - 93 Jakub Voracek
21 Alexandre Picard - 19 Michael Peca - 15 Derek Dorsett
14 Raffi Torres - 29 Jason Williams - 40 Jared Boll

22 Mike Commodore - 8 Jan Hejda
51 Fedor Tyutin - 3 Marc Methot
10 Kris Russell - 55 Ole-Kristian Tollefsen

Steve Mason
Wade Dubielewicz

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