Friday, January 2, 2009

Canucks/Thrashers Game Day Preview

The Canucks had an optional skate today at the Phillips Arena in preparation for their lone meeting of the season against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Jason LaBarbera is expected to get his second start in as many nights between the pipes. Fresh off a 31-save performance in his Canucks debut last night, LaBarbera was the 1st star in Vancouver's 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

Mike Brown will likely draw back into the line-up in place of Alex Bolduc. Otherwise the Canucks will likely go with the same line-up as last night, with Pavol Demitra likely playing alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Vancouver has not allowed a power play goal against in the last three games. In that stretch, the Canucks are 9-for-9 on the penalty kill. In that same span, the club is 1-for-14 on the power play.

The Thrashers are expected to go with the same line-up as to what they iced in a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on New Year's Eve. Despite having nine players with 10-or-more points on the season, Atlanta is 12-21-5 on the season. They are dead last in the NHL in goals against (139) and on the penalty kill. Their one bright spot lately has been the play of forward Bryan Little, who has seven goals and one assist in his last five straight games. Their top-end scorers have been cold lately though as Ilya Kovalchuk has one goal in his last 11 games while Vyacheslav Kozlov has gone six straight without scoring.

These two clubs went once last season, with the Canucks skating away with a 2-1 win here in Atlanta. Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin scored on a night which saw Vancouver go 1-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.

Here are the expected line-ups for both clubs entering tonight's game:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Demitra
Raymond - Wellwood - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Jaffray - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Davison
O'Brien - Edler



Ilya Kovalchuk - Erik Christensen - Jason Williams
Vyacheslav Kozlov - Todd White - Bryan Little
Joseph Crabb - Marty Reasoner - Colby Armstrong
Eric Boulton - Eric Perrin - Chris Thorburn

Zach Bogosian - Mathieu Schneider
Ron Hainsey - Boris Valabik
Niclas Havelid - Tobias Enstrom

Kari Lehtonen
Johan Hedberg

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