Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Canucks/Sharks Game Day

The Canucks (22-19-6) play their final game before the NHL All Star Break against the Western Conference leading San Jose Sharks (33-6-5).

Vancouver has gone 2-5-3 in the last ten games, including a 6-5 shoot-out loss at home last Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 12 different players registered points in the game for the Canucks on a night in which they home team gave up a 3-1 lead but managed to battle back from a 5-3 deficit.

Pavol Demitra will not dress tonight as he is out with a groin injury. Mason Raymond, a healthy scratch last Sunday, will take Demitra's spot on a line with Mats Sundin and Jannik Hansen.

Sami Salo returns to the line-up tonight and will be paired up to start the game on defence next to Willie Mitchell. Kevin Bieksa will be paired up along-side Mattias Ohlund while the final pairing sees Alexander Edler next to Shane O'Brien.

The Sharks are coming off a hi-lite reel performance on home ice last Saturday night, edging out the Detroit Red Wings 6-5. 11 different Sharks players hit the score sheet, including Ryane Clowe who registered four assits. San Jose's home ice record is a sparkling 21-1-2 this season, with their only loss coming last Thursday in a 3-2 defeat to the Calgary Flames. Rob Blake is not expected to play tonight after injuring his jaw last week.

Claude Lemieux will make his Sharks debut tonight after playing his last game in the NHL in 2003! The four-time Stanley Cup winner is now 43 years old. He started this season playing with the China Sharks in Shanghai before moving to San Jose's AHL affiliate in Worcester. In 23 games in Worcester, he posted three goals and eight assists.

This is the third meeting of the season between the Canucks and Sharks. In their first meeting, the Sharks were 5-0 winners at home Dec. 23. All the goals came in the opening 22 minutes of action. In their most recent match-up, the Sharks scored twice in the third period to double up the Canucks 4-2 at GM Place Jan. 10. Henrik Sedin (2a), Daniel Sedin (1g), and Mats Sundin (1g) lead the Canucks in head-to-head scoring while Patrick Marleau (3g,2a), Joe Thorton (1g,3a), Blake (3a), and Dan Boyle lead the Sharks. Vancouver has gone 1-for-8 on the power play while the Sharks have gone 4-for-12.

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


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Bieksa
Edler - O'Brien



Patrick Marleau - Joe Thorton - Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe - Joe Pavalski - Milan Michalek
Mike Grier - Marcel Goc - Jonathan Cheechoo
Jody Shelley - Thomas Plihal - Claude Lemieux

Alexi Semenov - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Dan Boyle - Douglas Murray
Christian Ehrhoff - Derek Joslin

Evgeni Nabokov
Brian Boucher

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