Friday, January 9, 2009

Canucks/Blues Game Day

It's the home debut for Mats Sundin tonight as the Vancouver Canucks take on the St. Louis Blues for their first of four head-to-head meetings this season.

The Canucks (22-15-5) are coming off a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. The line that led the Canucks offense that night was Steve Bernier (2g,1a), Alex Burrows (1g,2a), and Ryan Kesler (2a). They will stay together as will the lines of the Sedin twins and Pavol Demitra along with the Sundin-Kyle Wellwood-Mason Raymond trio. Raymond today was named to the NHL's Young Stars Game.

Ryan Johnson returns to the line-up tonight after missing the last 20 games. He'll be in the middle on the fourth line for the Canucks with Darcy Hordichuk and Jannik Hansen. Hansen has returned to the club after a two-game stint with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL. In his most recent game in Winnipeg, Hansen had a goal and was a +2 in a 3-2 win over Hartford. He has scored only one goal in his previous 29 games with the Canucks.

Jason Jaffray has been placed on waivers and is expected to join the Moose on the weekend. Lawrence Nycholat is expected to draw into the Canucks defence tonight in place of Rob Davison.

The Blues (15-21-3) are coming off a five-day break following a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. St. Louis has only won three of the last 13 games and remain in last spot in the Central Division. They do feature the 6th best power play percentage in the NHL (22.4%) and have forwards Brad Boyes and Keith Tkachuk each with ten power play goals. Tkachuk is about to appear in his 5th NHL All-Star Game. They are still missing key forwards in Paul Kariya (hip) and Andy MacDonald (leg).

Last season, the Canucks went 3-1-0 against the Blues. Henrik Sedin (2g,3a), Taylor Pyatt (5a), and Daniel Sedin (1g,3a) led Vancouver while Boyes (4g,2a) and Kariya (1g,4a) led the Blues offense.

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


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

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Nycholat
O'Brien - Edler



Keith Tkachuk - T.J. Oshie - David Backes
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Brad Boyes
Alex Steen - Jay McClement - B.J. Crombeen
Brad Winchester - Yan Stastny - Cam Janseen

Barret Jackman - Mike Weaver
Roman Polak - Jeff Woywitka
Carlo Colaiacovo - Tyson Strachan

Manny Legace
Chris Mason

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