Friday, February 27, 2009

Canucks Edge Bolts In a Yawner

In wasn't a pretty night of NHL hockey at General Motors Place Friday. However, the Canucks found a way to collect two points as they skated away with a 2-1 victory over the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bolts netminder Kario Ramo had to come up with some clutch saves early on in the first period as he denied the likes of Alex Burrows in the opening minute. Ramo would be beat five minutes in during a Vancouver power play five minutes in, but Kevin Bieksa's shot rattled off the post.

Eventually the home team was able to draw first blood and it came with the man advantage. Ryan Kesler raced into the Lightning end on a dump-in from Pavol Demitra and wound up beating two Lightning defencemen to the puck. He got it out in front to Alexander Edler who missed on his first chance. Kesler then got it back into the slot for Edler who didn't make a mistake on his second chance. Edler now has seven goals on the season, four of which have come on the power play. The Canucks found themselves in the lead at 11:41.

Rookie Steven Stamkos thought he had pulled the visitors on to level terms late in the period as he had Roberto Luongo beat. However, his chance batted out of mid-air wound up being knocked off the cross bar.

The Canucks really had a tough time generating any chances in the second period as they didn't get a shot on net until past the midway point of the frame. Henrik Sedin had a great chance to put Vancouver up by a pair but he failed to capitalize on a wrap-around. Then as the Lightning skated down ice the other way, Stamkos was able to jab in loose puck in a goal mouth scramble. Martin St. Louis and Mark Recchi collect the helpers on the 12th of the season for the 1st overall pick in 2008 at 14:36.

Vancouver did generate some very good chances in the third period with the likes of Mats Sundin and Daniel Sedin being stopped on good saves courtesy of Ramo. However the Canucks were able to get a lucky break to get the lead back. Steve Bernier found a loose puck behind the Tampa Bay net and slid the puck towards the crease. It wound up deflecting off the skate of Vincent Lecavalier and underneath Ramo. For Bernier, it was his first goal in nine games. Demitra and Ryan Johnson chip in the assists on Bernier's 13th of the season. It also proved to be his third game-winning marker of the year and it came at 9:26.

Ramo was able to get to the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute of the period and the Lightning were very close to forcing the game to overtime. Lecavalier was able to get a shot free from between the circles, but it wound up deflecting off a skate and just wide of the target behind Luongo.

The Canucks finished off the game out-shooting Tampa Bay 25-21. Vancouver wrapped up the night going 1-for-5 on the power play while the Lightning went 0-for-1. For what it's worth, the Canucks have been just short-handed once in their last eight periods of play on home ice.

The month of February comes to a close for the Canucks and they couldn't really have asked for a better record following a disappointing January. The club went 9-2-0 after the first month of 2009, one that saw them go 2-5-5.

Having improved their overall record now to 31-22-8, the Canucks sit with 70 points and are two points up on the Columbus Blue Jackets for fifth spot in the Western Conference. The two teams will meet up for the final time this year on Sunday at GM Place. Game time will be 5:00pm PST.

Canucks/Lightning Game Day

The Canucks (30-22-8) open up a four-game homestand tonight for their one and only meeting of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning (20-29-12). These teams met just once last season, with the Lightning posting a 4-3 win over the Canucks in Tampa Bay Jan. 31. Taylor Pyatt (1g,1a) and Alex Burrows (2a) led the Canucks in scoring while Brad Richards (1g,2a) and Martin St. Louis (3a) paced the Lightning. Roberto Luongo took the loss while Kari Ramo collected the win on a night which saw the Bolts out-shoot Vancouver 27-26. Both players are expected to get in goal tonight.

The Canucks have won eight of their last ten games, but are just 3-5-2 in their last ten games at GM Place. That stat is a bit deceiving though, as they are 3-0-1 in their last four at home. Vancouver has an impressive record of 14-4-2 against the Lightning and have never lost at home against Tampa Bay. Mats Sundin leads all Canucks players in career scoring against Tampa Bay with 29 goals and 34 assists in 63 games.

The newest Canucks defenceman Ossi Vaananen will not be in the line-up tonight. After being acquired this morning off the NHL waiver wire from the Philadelphia Flyers, the 6'4, 215lbs d-man from Finland won't be able to make his Canucks debut until Sunday at the earliest when the team hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Lightning come to the west coast with the second-fewest wins of any team in the NHL. They're coming off a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers last Tuesday, a game that saw them get out-shot 45-29. Two nights previous though, they posted a 4-3 win at home against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins. That night, Ramo stopped 40 shots, which he has done in back-to-back games now.

Martin St. Louis (20g,38a) and Vinny Lecavalier (25g,30a) lead the club in scoring. 1st overall draft pick Steven Stamkos is starting to pick up his play in his rookie season, now with 11 goals and 15 assists. This club is operating without their top two goalies and Mike Smith has been sidelined with an upper body injury since Feb. 3. Veteran Olaf Kolzig is done for the season with rupturing a bicep tendon in the middle of December.

This game also marks a special night for linesman Brad Lazarowich. The North Delta native is going to be honoured for working his 1,500th career regular season game in the NHL.
Here are the expected line-ups for both teams:


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien



Ryan Malone - Vinny Lecavalier - Vaclav Prospal
Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Mark Recchi
Gary Roberts - Jeff Halpern - Matt Pettinger
Evgeny Artyukhin - Adam Hall - Ryan Craig

Marek Malik - Cory Murphy
Lucas Krajicek - Steve Eminger
Josef Melichar - David Koci

Kari Ramo
Mike McKenna

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Canucks Back At Home For Practice

A few different notes and tidbits to come out of today's practice as the Canucks were back on the ice for the first time since returning from their cross-Canada road trip.

Pavol Demitra is indeed healthy enough to play, despite suffering an injury to his pinky finger against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. It is a slight fracture, or as Demitra refered to it, "a blow up" on his little finger.

Jannik Hansen did not take part in practice and will be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks with a fractured finger.

Jason LaBarbera did not skate today as he yesterday became the father of his first born son Ryder. He'll be back with his teammates tomorrow. Canucks Equipment Assistant Jamie Hendricks filled the role of the other goalie on the ice next to Roberto Luongo.

Mattias Ohlund was the only Canucks player who did not skate. He was given the day off after having some repair work done to his leg following the deep cut wound that he suffered back on Jan. 18 at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He will be able to play tomorrow.

Despite being called up this morning from the Manitoba Moose, Michael Grabner spent enough time for one practice at GM Place before being sent back to Winnipeg. Joining Grabner heading back to the AHL will be Alexandre Bolduc.

Here's how the club skated today in practice:

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

Mitchell - Salo
Bieksa - O'Brien
Edler - Davison - Nycholat

The Canucks will play their last game against a team from the Eastern Conference tomorrow as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canucks are 9-6-2 this season against teams from the East, including 2-1-1 against clubs from the Southeast Division.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Habs Hot Goalie Blanks Canucks Tuesday

Jaroslav Halak was the difference maker at the Bell Centre for the Montreal Canadiens who wound up snapping the Canucks four-game winning streak Tuesday night. The Habs netminder stopped all 34 shots Vancouver fired his way to lead his team to a 3-0 win.

Halak was absolutely dynamite from start to finish. He was very good in the first period, especially when the Canucks failed to score on a full two minute 5-on-3 power play. Just as that man advantage had expired for Vancouver, Tomas Plekanec was able to get free on a breakaway and beat Roberto Luongo to the top corner. For Plekanec, it was is 16th of the season at 18:42.

Pavol Demitra was robbed on a breakaway chance by Halak early on in the 2nd period, which was quickly followed up on a big glove off of Mattias Ohlund from the slot.

A key turning point on the night came with under seven minutes remaining in the middle frame as Alex Burrows was assessed a major penalty for cross checking and a game misconduct. Henrik Sedin had a great chance to pull the Canucks level, but his short-handed breakaway chance would be denied by a big pad save by Halak.

The Habs did extend their lead on the extended power play as Andrei Markov made no mistake snapping home a back-door pass from Plekanec. Markov netted his 8th of the season and his team-leading 48th point of the year at 16:08.

Vancouver pulled out all the stops in the final frame to get one past the goalie, but Halak was equal to the task in a period that saw the Canadiens get out-shot 13-4. With Luongo on the bench for the extra attacker, the Habs put the game on ice as Maxim Lapierre found the empty net. His 11th of the season came with six seconds remaining in the game.

Final shots on net favoured the Canucks by a margin of 34-17. Vancovuer finished the game going 0-for-6 on the power play while the Canadiens went 1-for-7.

Now with an overall record of 30-22-8, the Canucks remain in 5th place in the Western Conference standings. They return to GM Place Friday Feb. 27 for their one and only meeting of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game time of the Canucks Pay Per View broadcast will be 7:00pm PST.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Canucks/Canadiens Game Day

The Canucks (30-21-8) put the finishing touches on their cross-Canada road trip tonight at the Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens (31-22-7).

This will be the second and final meeting of the season between the two clubs. The 4-1 Canucks win at home over the Habs Feb. 15 saw a scoreline that flattered the visitors. The Canucks out-shot Montreal 29-15 through the first two periods and the line of Daniel Sedin (1g,1a), Henrik Sedin (1g,1a), and Alex Burrows (2a) combined for six points and a +6 rating. That night was just the fourth time in Canucks history the club didn't go short-handed in the game. It was also a night that saw Canadiens leading scorer Andrei Markov go -3. Tonight the Canucks go searching for their 12th straight victory against the Habs.

Burrows and Daniel each have four-game point scoring streaks on the line tonight in Montreal. Burrows has two goals and five assists while Sedin has two goals and four assists in the same stretch.

The Canucks have won four straight and eight of their last nine. Montreal native Roberto Luongo has won his last eight straight starts. They are 5-2-0 against teams from the Northeast Division this season. Their latest 3-2 shoot-out win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday was Vancouver's 12th win this season when either trailing or tied heading into a third period.

The Canadiens are coming off a 5-3 win at home Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. The Habs are 7-2-1 in their last ten home games. However this team has really struggled lately as their win against Ottawa was just their fourth victory in their last 16 games. One bright spot has been the team's success on the power play, as the Habs have scored seven power play goals in their last three games.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams heading into tonight's game:





Tom Kostopoulos-Saku Koivu-Alexi Kovalev
Max Pacioretty-Maxim Lapierre-Andrei Kostitsyn
Matt D'Agostini-Tom Plekanec-Chris Higgins
Gregory Stewart-Mathieu Dandenault-Kyle Chipchura

Andrei Markov-Mathieu Schneider
Josh Gorges-Patrice Brisebois
Roman Hamrlik-Mike Komisarek

Jaroslav Halak
Carey Price

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sundin Seals Win In Return To Toronto

It was a story-book ending for Hockey Day in Canada at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night. Mats Sundin capped off a hero’s welcome back to Toronoto in dramatic style as he scored the winning goal to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 shoot-out victory over the Maple Leafs.

Sundin was honoured with a two-minute standing ovation during the first television time out in the opening period. Choking back the tears, Sundin drew a well-deserved reaction from the ACC faithful who thanked him for his 13 years of service as the leader of Leafs Nation.

After the much-anticipated hoop-la died down, the game took a while to pick up and was void of any huge scoring chances for either team. The Leafs did get on the scoreboard first though and it came with the man advantage. Pavel Kubina’s shot from point wound up being deflected off the stick of Jason Blake and past goalie Roberto Luongo. Lee Stempniak collects the other assist on Blake’s team-leading 22nd goal of the season at 12:26.

Both teams had decent chances to score in the opening minutes of the middle frame. Shane O’Brien, attempting to snap his 117-game goal-scoring drought, had a long shot get past netminder Vesa Toskala. However the puck wound up ringing off the outside of the post. At the other end of the rink, Jamal Mayers snap shot from the left face off circle took an awkward deflection off the skate of Willie Mitchell. Luongo had no chance as he luckily saw the puck bounce off the post and wide.

The Canucks were able to get their equalizer they were hoping for and it came on a power play just prior to the midway stage of the period. Henrik Sedin was able to move the puck to the right point for Pavol Demitra. Instead of shooting, he found Sami Salo at the opposite side of the blue line. Salo stepped into a shot that deflected off a Leafs stick and in. Salo, who has scored every one of his goal on the power play this season, now has four on the year and it came at 9:49.

Before the period was out, the Leafs restored their lead with what proved to be just their second short-handed goal of the season. Ian White got the puck out of his own zone for Matt Stajan who skated into the Canucks end against two Vancouver defenders. His long shot squeaked through the pads of Luongo and into the net. It was a big goal for Stajan, giving him 14 for the campaign at 16:11.

The Canucks had some great chances to tie things up throughout much of the third period. Ryan Kesler was denied on a good pad save by Toskala off a redirect from the slot five minutes in. Then Sundin missed a glorious chance during a goal mouth scramble just before the midway stage of the period.

Vancouver was given a golden opportunity to draw level when Dominic Moore took a double minor penalty for high-sticking after he cut open Mitchell on the nose. However the visitors weren’t able to generate a shot on goal against a Leafs club that came into the night sporting the worst penalty killing percentage in the NHL.

Just when it looked like the Canucks weren’t able to have what it took to pull off another third period comeback, Alex Burrows had other ideas. After Henrik picked off a clearing attempt, Daniel Sedin was able to let a long snap shot go off the right boards just inside the Leafs blue line. As the puck sailed through the air, Burrows was able to get his stick off the ice and deflect it down past Toskala. Burrows celebrated his 15th of the year to give the Canucks at least a point for their efforts.

In overtime, both teams had some great chances. The Leafs started off the extra period with a power play, but were denied on every opportunity either by Luongo or on the penalty killers in front of him. At the other end, Toskala had to come up with some big stops off the likes of Daniel Sedin and Kevin Bieksa to keep the game level.

The game wound up having to be decided in a shoot-out and none of the 19,504 fans on hand would leave their seats for the wild finish. Demitra would be the first Canuck to score while Kyle Wellwood missed his opportunity on a wrist shot. Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman were both stoned on good saves made by Luongo, but Mikhail Grabovski was able to connect with his chance. That set the stage for Sundin to win the game against his former team. Calmly he skated in against Toskala and had little trouble beating him with a great move to the back-hand. The Canucks poured off the bench to celebrate with Toronto’s former captain as he netted his first shoot-out goal in a Vancouver uniform, which no doubt warranted 1st Star honours.

Final shots on net favoured the Maple Leafs 38-37. Both teams wound up going 1-for-5 on the power play.

Now with four straight wins, the Canucks improve their overall record to 30-21-8. Having won eight of their last nine, the club now heads to Montreal where they’ll play the Canadiens for the second time in just over a week. Game time at the Bell Centre on Tuesday goes at 4:30pm PST.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Canucks/Maple Leafs Game Day

The Canucks (29-21-8) are in the centre of the universe for Hockey Day in Canada for the second and final meeting of the year against the Toronto Maple Leafs (21-26-11).

In their previous meeting Nov. 15, the Canucks doubled up the Leafs 4-2 at GM Place. Ryan Kesler, Willie Mitchell, Daniel Sedin, and Kyle Wellwood scored the goals for Vancouver while Pavol Demitra chipped in three assists. Matt Stajan and Ian White were the only Leafs players to score on Roberto Luongo, who made 28 saves. At the other end of the ice, Vesa Toskala gave up all four goals on just nine shots before being replaced by Curtis Joseph.

To nobody's surprise, it was a huge media turnout for the morning skate today as Mats Sundin prepares to face his former team. He played 981 games as a Leaf, collecting a franchise record 987 points (420 goals and 567 assists). This day also marks the return of Wellwood to the Air Canada Centre. In 189 games with Toronto, Wellwood had 31 goals and 77 assists.

Vancouver has won seven of the last eight, and out-scored the opposition 35-22 in that stretch. Alex Burrows (1g,5a) and Daniel Sedin (2g,3a) both have three-game point scoring streaks heading into this game tonight. Those two, along with Henrik Sedin, combined for nine points in a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators Thursday night.

The Leafs are coming off a 4-3 shoot-out loss on the road to the Columbus Blue Jackets two nights ago. Toronto has taken points in seven of their last ten games, but are 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Jason Blake has been a nice surprise for the Leafs on a struggling team this season. The 35 year-old leads the team in goals (21), points (46), and shots (200).

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams tonight at the Air Canada Centre:


D.Sedin - H.Sedin - Burrows
Demitra - Sundin - Kesler
Raymond - Wellwood - Bernier
Pyatt - Johnson - Bolduc

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien


Maple Leafs:

Alexi Ponikarovsky - Matt Stajan - Nik Antropov
Niklas Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Niklas Hagman
Jason Blake - Dominic Moore - Lee Stempniak
John Mitchell - Jamal Mayers - Boyd Deveraux

Jeff Finger - Luke Schenn
Ian White - Pavel Kubina
Jonas Frogen - Jamie Sifers

Vesa Toskala
Curtis Joseph

Friday, February 20, 2009

Canucks Arrive In Toronto

The Canucks skated this afternoon in Ottawa and have now arrived in Toronto in preparation to play the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Vancouver has won three straight and collected wins in seven of the last eight. Roberto Luongo has posted seven straight wins for the first time since Jan. 7/07. Last night's 5-2 win over the Senators was the first time this season the Canucks scored more than two goals in the first period on the road. The Canucks have not lost in Ottawa since Nov. 20/01.

Of course tomorrow's game features the long awaited return of Mats Sundin to Air Canada Center. The last time the Canucks were in Toronto, they posted a 6-1 win over the Leafs on Jan. 13/07. The Canucks have not lost a game in Toronto since Nov. 24/01.

The Canucks and Leafs did not play each other last season. Lifetime, the Canucks have a winning record against Toronto (52-50-24), but are 22-28-11 when playing on the road.

The Canucks will be without the services of Darcy Hordichuk for an indefinite period as he has returned to Vancouver to be with his wife. She is about to give birth to their first child.

The team will also be without the services of Jannik Hansen. He suffered an injury to a finger in Thrusdays' win over the Sens and there is no time-table for his return to the line-up.

The club has called up Alexandre Bolduc from the Manitoba Moose. He has appeared in five games for the Canucks this season, collecting one assist and two minor penalties. In 44 games with the Moose, he has scored 10 goals and 15 assists.

Sedins & Burrows Put On Clinic In Ottawa

Instead of playing the roll of "Comeback Kids", the Vancouver Canucks got off to a blistering start Thursday night and were full value for a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. The line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alex Burrows led the offense for the Canucks, as they combined for nine points and were a collective +7.

Burrows opened the scoring early in the first period. Henrik wound up blocking a clearing attempt by Ottawa d-man Filip Kuba on the right boards. He quickly fed the puck to Burrows in the slot, who wound up whistling a wrist shot past goaltender Brian Elliott. For Burrows, it was his 14th goal of the year and it put the visitors up by one at 3:14.

The Canucks made it a 2-0 contest just past the midway point of the period on a beautiful passing play between the twins. Burrows was able to pick off an errant pass by the Sens inside the blue line and quickly found Daniel between the circles. Instead of shooting, he fed an unreal pass to Henrik who was left all alone beside the net. No troubles for Henrik who cashed in with his 12th of the season at 10:49.

Kevin Bieksa put the Canucks in the driver's seat when skating on a power play. After Henrik and Kyle Wellwood worked the puck back to the point, Bieksa's shot wound up deflecting off the stick of Jason Smith and behind Elliott. Bieksa now has 10 goals, four of which have come on the power play, and this one gave the Canucks a three-goal lead 15:23.

Henrik capped off a four-point performance by helping set up Vancouver's lone goal in the middle frame. After blocking another clearing attempt from the Ottawa defence, he saw the puck deflect down to Burrows. Just as we made his way across the slot, Burrows dished a back-handed drop pass to Daniel into the slot. He made no mistake driving it home to the back of the Sens net. Daniel's team-leading 25th came at 8:35.

The shut-out bid of Roberto Luongo wound up being broken a few minutes later while Ottawa worked on a power play. Dany Heatley got free in the right face off circle and snapped home a bullet to the top corner. Antoine Vermette and Ryan Shannon collect the helpers on Heatley's team-leading 27th at 12:37.

Before the period was over, the Sens got to within a pair on a lucky break in the Vancouver crease. Mike Fisher dropped a pass inside the Vancouver line for Chris Phillips. Fisher then knocked down Mattias Ohlund, who wound up knocking Luongo into the net. Phillips let a shot go that Fisher deflected in. Vermette tallies the other assist on Fisher's 8th at 16:18.

Luongo did his part in the third period to keep his team in the lead. His best save on the nine shots he faced came off of Heatley on a breakaway. Heatley's move to the back-handed looked surely to have the Canucks captain beat. But a quick kick of the left leg allowed the netminder to make the save and help preserve his seventh straight win.

Pavol Demitra iced the Canucks third straight win with an empty net tally. Mats Sundin hits the score sheet for Demitra's 16th of the campaign and it came with just 12 seconds left on the clock.

The Canucks wound up being out-shot 27-24. Vancouver finished the night going 1-for-2 with the power play while the Sens went 1-for-5.

Vancouver did a solid job of shutting down Ottawa's top line of Heatley, Jason Spezza, and Chris Kelly. Combined, the trio was held to just one point and was a collective -8.

Now having won seven of their last eight, the Canucks overall record improves to 29-21-8. Next up will be the long-awaited match-up between the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The circus for Sundin's return at the Air Canada Centre should be an interesting one to say the least. Game time Saturday afternoon will be 4:00pm PST.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Canucks (28-21-8) on a day where President Barack Obama is in Canada's capital, prepare to play the Ottawa Senators (22-25-9).

This will be the 2nd and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Canucks were 3-0 winners at GM Place December 28. Pavol Demitra (1g,1a), Henrik Sedin (1g,1a) and Daniel Sedin (2a) led the Canucks in scoring. Curtis Sanford was in net that night for Vancouver while Martin Gerber played in goal for the Sens. Shots were 32-18 in favour of the Canucks.Vancouver has won six of their last seven games and are 5-3-2 in their last ten road games.

Tonight also marks the 15th game this season the Canucks play an Eastern Conference opponent. The Canucks are 7-5-2 against the East this season. There could be one line-up change for the Canucks tonight as Mason Raymond or Darcy Hordichuk will be game-time decisions as to who plays on the line with Ryan Johnson and Jannik Hansen.

The Senators have taken points in seven straight games and are 5-1-2 since Cory Clouston took over the coaching duties following Craig Hartsburg's dismissal. However they are currently 13 points out of a playoff spot in the East. Tonight marks the Sens first home game after playing five straight on the road. In their last game, they fell 3-2 in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche. Former Canucks forward Ryan Shannon scored both goals in the loss for the Sens.

Ottawa will be without forward Daniel Alfredsson, who fractured his jaw against the Avs. Alfredsson's regular linemates are Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza. Heatley has 4g,1a in his last four games while Spezza has 2g,3a in his last five.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams heading into tonight's game:


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien



Dany Heatley - Jason Spezza - Chris Kelly
Nick Foglino - Mike Fisher - Ryan Shannon
Antoine Vermette - Josh Hennesey - Jarko Ruutu
Shaon Donovan - Dean McAmmond - Jesse Winchester

Chris Phillips - Anton Volchenkov
Filip Kuba - Brian Lee
Brandon Bell - Jason Smith

Brian Elliott
Alex Auld

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Canucks Pull Out Comeback Shoot-Out Win

Another night on the road...and another evening where the Canucks didn't make things easy on themselves to get two points. For the first time in more than 3 1/2 months, the Canucks took home two points via a shoot-out as they came from behind Tuesday night to defeat the Calgary Flames 4-3.

This was a real goaltenders duel and some of Roberto Luongo's best efforts came early on in the game. He robbed Curtis Glencross with a save off his arm four minutes into the action and then stoned Matthew Lombardi in close with the two teams skating 4-on-4. Eventually the Flames did open the scoring as Jarome Iginla made no mistake from the bottom of the left face off circle with a snap shot. Craig Conroy and Rene Bourque get the helpers as Iginla snaps a seven-game goal-less drought with this 21st of the season at 9:51.

In the final two minutes of the period, Kyle Wellwood was called for a high sticking penalty in the Flames end. It just happened to be his first minor penalty in 160 games, dating back to April of 2006! However the Canucks bailed him out as Ryan Kesler was able to deposit a shot on a rebound given up by Mikka Kiprusoff. Alex Burrows get the lone assist on Kesler's 17th of the season with just 15 seconds to go in the period.

Luongo came up big in the middle frame as well as he stoned Lombardi on a breakaway with a swift move to the poke check. Then with the Flames on a power play, Dion Phaneuf wound up being denied on a great glove-handed stop by the Canucks captain.

Late in the period, the Canucks were able to get into the lead on a power play opportunity. Alexander Edler's point shot whistled wide of the target. Steve Bernier got to the loose puck on the end boards and fed it in front to Kesler who wound up whacking it in out of mid-air. His 2nd of the game was also his 7th power play marker of the season. Kesler's 18th came at 17:05.

Just over a minute later the Canucks saw their lead slip away as Damond Langkow was able to stuff in a loose puck at the side of Luongo's crease. Glencross and David Moss pick up the assists on the 18th of the year for Langkow at 18:09.

Bourque got the home team back up by a goal in the third period as he led a 2-on-1 rush with Iginla. His shot squeeked through the pads of Luongo and across the line. Bourque now has 20 goals on the year, all even-strength, as Iginla and Conroy register the helpers at 6:52.

Kiprusoff did his part to keep the Flames in the lead near the midway point of the period. He came up with a big glove save off of Mats Sundin from low in the slot. Then a couple of shifts later, Wellwood was absolutely stone-cold robbed by Kiprusoff as his shot towards an empty net would be denied by the sprawling paddle of the netminder.

Luongo eventually got to the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute and the Canucks were able to get the all-important equalizer. Daniel Sedin and Willie Mitchell worked the puck to the middle of the point for Kevin Bieksa. His blast deflected off of Lombardi and found the back of the net. Bieksa now has nine goals on the season and it was a big one come at 19:10.

Overtime would solve nothing so the two clubs went to a shoot-out against each other for the first time this season. Pavol Demitra was the only shooter to beat Kiprusoff and his snap shot found its way through the five-hole. Kesler wound up being denied by the netminder, but neither Iginla or Mike Cammalleri (both stopped by Luongo), nor Todd Bertuzzi, who hit the post with a move to the back-hand were able to score for the Flames. The Canucks poured off the bench and celebrated Luongo's sixth straight win and Vancouver's first shoot-out victory since last Halloween!

Final shots on net favoured the Canucks 43-41. The Canucks finished the game going 1-for-4 on the power play and went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Now with an overall record of 28-21-8, the Canucks carry on their cross-Canada road trip into the nation's capital on Thursday. Game time against the Ottawa Senators will be 4:30pm PST.

Canucks/Flames Game Day

The Canucks (27-21-8) open their Canada-wide road swing tonight at the Pengrowth Saddledome against the Calgary Flames (33-18-5).

Tonight with be the fifth meeting between the two teams and the final one this season in Calgary. The Canucks have out-scored the Flames 15-11 but have gone a combined 1-for-21 on the power play. Both Canucks wins came with Roberto Luongo in net. This will be the first time the Flames take on Vancouver with Mats Sundin in the line-up. In 43 career games against Calgary, Sundin has 25 goals and 28 assists.

Daniel Sedin (3g,3a), Henrik Sedin (1g,4a) and Mattias Ohlund (1g,3a) lead the Canucks in head-to-head scoring while Mike Cammalerri (4g,1a), Damond Langkow (1g,3a), and Dion Phaneuf (4a) lead all Flames skaters.

The Canucks have two regulation losses in their last ten games. There won't be any line-up changes tonight for Vancouver. Despite taking yesterday's practice off, Sami Salo is good to go tonight.

As for the Flames, they're coming off a 7-5 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, a season high for Calgary in goals. They took five points in their recent three-game road trip. Jarome Iginla leads the team in scoring, but has gone seven games without a goal. Mikka Kiprusoff has a NHL-leading 33 wins and will be playing in his 53rd game of the season tonight.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams this evening:


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler

Bieksa - O'Brien




Todd Bertuzzi - Damond Langkow - Jarome Iginla
Mike Cammalleri - Matthew Lombardi - Rene Bourque
Curtis Glencross - Craig Conroy - David Moss
Eric Nystrom - Dustin Boyd - Andre Roy

Robyn Regher - Adrian Aucoin
Mark Giordano - Dion Phaneuf
Adam Pardy - Cory Sarich

Mikka Kiprusoff
Curtis McElhinney

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Canucks Dump Habs Sunday Night

On a night where the home team didn't take a single minor penalty through 60 minutes of play, the Canucks made it five-straight wins with Roberto Luongo in net as they cruised to 4-2 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

Vancouver had a fantastic opening period and were well-deserving to be up by a pair just past the midway point of the frame. Daniel Sedin was able to release a wrist shot from low in the right face off circle. The puck wound up deflecting off the stick of Habs defenceman Josh Gorges and past netminder Jaroslav Halak. Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows collect the assists on Daniel's 24th of the season at 10:28. It was also his 171st as a Canuck, moving him into 10th place on the all-time franchise lead for goals.

48 seconds later, the Canucks built on their lead and it came with a penalty about to be called against Montreal. Mattias Ohlund got the puck to the left point for Alexander Edler who wasted no time letting a slap shot go. His attempt along the ice found its way through traffic and into the Canadiens net. Jannik Hansen gets the other assist on the 6th of the season for Edler.

Before the period was over, the Habs got on the scoreboard as their captain Saku Koivu converted a shot from low in right face off circle. Patrice Brisebois and Tom Kostopoulos help Koivu tally his 10th of the year at 18:14.

There would be no more scoring until nearly the same point in the second period and it came on a beautiful rush up the ice. Burrows fed Daniel down the right side. He fed a great pass across the Canadiens zone for Henrik who burried home a one-timer. Henrik now has 11 goals on the season and the line capped off a combined six-point performance with what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 19:12.

Ryan Kesler finished off the scoring for the home team early on in the third period on a nice 2-on-1 finish started by Mats Sundin. Pavol Demitra gets credit for the other assist on the 16th of the year for Kesler at 5:54. That would be the last goal allowed by Halak, as Williams Lake, BC product Carey Price came on in relief duty after the Montreal starter faced 33 shots.

Andrei Kostitsyn got one more goal for the Habs before the night was out as his long range bullet was able to get past the Canucks captain. Francois Bouillon and Chris Higgins register the assists on the 20th of the year for Kostitsyn at 17:33. It wouldn't be enough the propel the Habs to a comeback though as the Canucks hung on for their 11th consectutive win against the 100 year-old franchise.

Final shots on goal did favour the Canucks 34-27. The Canucks went 0-for-2 on the power play and as mentioned off the top didn't take a single trip to the penalty box. That's now four straight periods of penalty-free hockey for Vancouver. It's just the fourth time in franchise history that a Vancouver team has not put an opponent on the man advantage.

With the victory, the Canucks jump from 9th to 5th in the Western Conference standings. Now with an overall record of 27-21-8, the Canucks get set to embark on a four-game Canada-wide road trip which begins Tuesday in Calgary against the Flames. Game time from the Pengrowth Saddledome will 6:30pm PST.

Canucks/Canadiens Game Day

The Canucks (26-21-8) get set to host the Montreal Canadiens (30-20-6) for the first time in three seasons. These two clubs did not play each other last season. In their last meeting in GM Place, the Canucks built up a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes and went on to win 6-2 Jan. 21/06. The Canucks are also 9-0-1-0 in their last ten head-to-head meetings with the Habs. Mats Sundin leads all Canucks in career head-to-head scoring against the Canadiens (85GP-32g,48a).

Vancouver saw their four-game winning streak come to an end last Friday with a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. It was just the second time in their last nine games where they didn't collect a point. Shane O'Brien is the only Canuck with points in back-to-back games (2a). The club will go with the exact same line-up as what they did in Dallas two nights ago.

Montreal enters the action having won three times in their last ten games. They snapped a four-game losing streak Friday night with a 4-2 win on the road against the Colorado Avalanche. It was a big night for goalie Jaroslav Halak, who made 46 saves for the victory and he is expected to get the start tonight. Carey Price, despite having more than a couple hundred fans on hand at practice from his hometown of Anaheim Lake, BC is expected to be watching this game from the bench.

The Canadiens have 15 players on their current roster who were Montreal picks in the NHL Entry Draft. They are led in scoring by defenceman Andrei Markov (7g,35a), who is 3rd in the NHL in power play assists (21). Out of all the teams that are currently in the Top 8 in the Eastern Conference standings, they have allowed the most goals against (56GP-168GA).

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams heading into tonight's action:


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien



Tom Kostopoulos - Saku Koivu - Alex Kovalev
Andrei Kostitsyn - Chris Higgins - Mathieu Dandenault
Matt D'Agostini - Maxim Lapierre - Max Pacioretty
Sergi Kostitsyn - Steve Begin - Georges Laraque/Kyle Chipchura

Andrei Markov - Mike Komisarek
Roman Hamrlik - Patrice Brisebois
Francois Boulion - Josh Georges

Jaroslav Halak
Carey Price

Friday, February 13, 2009

Canucks/Stars Game Day

The Canucks (26-20-8) go searching for their fifth win in a row tonight as they wrap up a three-game road trip against the Dallas Stars (26-20-7). In their previous meeting of the season, the Stars posted a 3-2 shoot-out win at GM Place Jan. 4. Kyle Wellwood and Darcy Hordichuk had the Canucks goals while Mike Modano and Mike Ribeiro scored for Dallas. James Neal, who is currently the NHL's leading rookie goal scorer, had the winner in the shoot-out.

Jason LaBarbera is expected to get the start tonight in goal after Roberto Luongo appeared in the last nine games. LaBarbera's last game was Jan. 9 in a 6-4 home ice loss to the St. Louis Blues. His last start on the road was a 4-2 Canucks win over the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 7.

The Canucks will go with the exact same line-up tonight as they did in their 4-3 win last night against the Phoenix Coyotes. Canucks defencemen contributed for seven points in last night's victory. Pavol Demitra enters the action riding a four game point scoring streak (2g,6a).

The Stars are coming off a 1-0 loss at home against the Coyotes on Wednesday. Prior to that Dallas had won seven of their last nine. This team has been excellent at home, going 11-2-1 in their last 14 at the American Airlines Arena. While their power play sits 20th overall in the NHL, they have been very good lately, going 12-for-39 in their last seven games (30.8%).

The Stars are featuring one of the hottest lines in the NHL right now. The combo of Ribeiro, Jere Lehtinen, and Steve Ott has combined for 36 points in their last nine games. Goalie Marty Turco will be making his 25th straight start in net for Dallas tonight, which will also be his 51st game of the season.

Here are the expected line combonations for both clubs for tonight's game:


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien



Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Jere Lehtinen
James Neal - Mike Modano - Fabian Brunstrom
Joel Lundqvist - Mike Richards - Loui Eriksson
Brian Sutherby - Toby Petersen - Krys Barch

Trevor Daley - Stephane Robidas
Darryl Sydor - Matt Niskinen
Nicklas Grossman - Andrew Hutchinson

Marty Turco
Brent Krahn

Another Comeback Makes It 4 Straight Wins

The Canucks are continuing to find ways to win hockey games. However they’re not making it easy on themselves as for the second straight game on the road, they battled back from a pair of two-goal deficits to eventually pull out a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The home team was able to finish off the first period with a 2-0 lead. Enver Lisin opened the scoring by beating Roberto Luongo on a long-range snap shot following a Canucks turnover. His 10th of the year came unassisted at 2:20. Then just past the midway point of the period, the Coyotes scored on the power play. Steven Reinprecht was able to capitalize on a goal-mouth scramble. Lisin and Daniel Carcillo pick up the helpers on the 10th for Reinprecht with nine minutes left in the period.

The Canucks had a couple of good chances early on in the middle frame as Kyle Wellwood had a close range shot hit the post while Jannik Hansen was stopped on a good pad save by Ilya Bryzgalov. Eventually Vancouver was rewarded for their efforts as Mattias Ohlund one-timed a bullet from the point off the post and in. Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin register the assists on Ohlund’s first goal in 15 games. It was his 4th of the year and it came at 17:51.
Before the period was over, the Coyotes got their two-goal lead back and it came with the two clubs skating 4-on-4. Derek Morris let a long shot go from just inside the blue line which wound up taking a deflection off of Ryan Kesler. Ed Jovanovski and Olli Jokinen hit the score sheet on the 5th of the season for Morris at 19:27.

Cue the comeback for the Canucks in the early part of the third period. Good puck movement around the offensive zone by Sami Salo and Shane O’Brien allowed Pavol Demitra to get free in the left face off circle. His snap shot made its way to the top far corner behind Bryzgalov. Demitra, extending his point scoring streak to four straight games, now has 15 on the year and it came at 2:16.

Bieksa got the equalizer for Vancouver a few minutes later off a key draw won in the Coyotes end. Wellwood got the puck to the right point for Alexander Edler, who wasted little time dishing it across the line for his defence partner. Bieksa’s 8th of the season at 8:22 gave the visitors a huge boost of momentum.

A little more than two minutes later, the Canucks were awarded a power play and didn’t take long to score. Salo’s point would be stopped by Bryzgalov but the rebound came free to Daniel Sedin. Instead of shooting, he found Henrik Sedin wide open beside the crease. He made no mistake scooping in his 10th of the year. It also proved to be his 3rd game-winning goal of the season and it occurred at 10:47.

The Coyotes were able to press down the stretch and eventually got the extra attacker on to the ice in the final minute. However they wound up taking a penalty and the Canucks were able to preserve their 4th win of the season when trailing after two periods of action.

The Canucks wound up out-shooting the home team 32-27 on a night which saw the Canucks go 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. For the second straight game, the Canucks did not find themselves short-handed in the final period of play.

Now riding a four-game winning streak, the Canucks improve their overall record to 26-20-8, good enough for 60 points. Next up will be a meeting with the Dallas Stars. Game time tonight is 5:30pm PST.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Canucks/Coyotes Game Day

The Canucks (25-20-8) look to make it four consecutive victories as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes (25-25-5) who have just posted their first win in seven straight games.

This will be the third meeting of the season between the two clubs. The Canucks were 1-0 winners at GM Place Nov. 6 on a night which saw Roberto Luongo make 28 saves for the shut-out. In their last match-up, the Coyotes won 4-1 in Vancouver Jan. 15. Joakim Lindstrom had a pair of goals while Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves.

The Canucks will make a couple of line-up changes following their 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues last Tuesday. Kyle Wellwood will come into the line-up while Mason Raymond will likely be a healthy scratch. Shane O'Brien is expected to draw into the mix on defence in place of Rob Davison.

The line of Ryan Kesler, Pavol Demitra, and Mats Sundin continues to stay in tact. In the last three games together as a unit, the three forwards have combined for eight goals and 13 assists. Alex Burrows will play on a line tonight with Daniel and Henrik Sedin after those three skated together in the third period against the Blues.

As for the Coyotes, they are coming off a 1-0 road win over the Dallas Stars last night. Bryzgalov posted 33 saves for his third shut-out of the season. He has been terrific against the Canucks. Dating back to last season, the "Cool Breeze" as he's known in Phoenix has posted a 1.27 GAA and .957 save percentage in his last four games against the Canucks.

The Coyotes enter tonight's game sitting 12th in the Western Conference with 55 points, three back of the Canucks who are currently holding down the last playoff spot.

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


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien



Shane Doan - Steven Reinprecht - Joakim Lindstrom
Jeff Hoggan - Olli Jokinen - Steven Goertzen
Todd Fedoruk - Joel Perrault - Enver Lisin
Daniel Carcillo - Daniel Winnek - Viktor Tikhonov

Ed Jovanovski - Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle - Ken Klee
David Hale - Derek Morris

Ilya Bryzgalov
Mikael Tellqvist

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3rd Period Rally Give Canucks 3rd Straight Win

Scoring six goals on the road is a challenge for any team in the NHL. Scoring four of those six in the final period is something altogether different. The Canucks were able to accomplish both Tuesday night in a 6-4 triumph against the St. Louis Blues.

The home team led 2-0 after the opening period after scoring both goals inside the final two minutes. Steve Wagner was able to get the Blues on the scoreboard with his 2nd of the season by converting on a second opportunity from the top of the left face off circle. Then with time winding down and the Blues on a power play, Brad Boyes was able to one-time a blast from the left side that whistled by Roberto Luongo. For Boyes, it was his team-leading 24th of the year and it came with four seconds left in the period.

The Canucks were able to break the shut-out bid of Chris Mason early on in the middle frame while working on a man advantage. Kevin Bieksa got the puck to the bottom of the right face off circle for Pavol Demitra. His wrist shot rattled off the post but the puck bounced down to a wide open Mats Sundin. He made no mistake stuffing in his 5th of the year and it came at 3:48.

Vancouver would be short-handed a few shifts later and the Blues were able to restore their two-goal lead. A hard shot by Patrik Berglund would be kicked away by Luongo, but the rebound wound up being pounced on by Keith Tkachuk and drilled home for his 17th of the season.

Two minutes later, Sundin picked up his second of the night in nearly the same spot he scored his first. Bieksa let a long wrist shot go from the right boards towards the net. After finding its way through bodies, the puck came to an untouched Sundin who made no mistake. Alexander Edler gets the other assist on Sundin's first multiple-goal game in a Canucks uniform eight minutes into the period.

The score stayed 3-2 in favour of the Blues into the third period, but the Canucks were able to even things up with another goal on the power play. Edler moved the puck to the left point for Demitra, who fed a beautiful cross-zone pass to Kesler. He drilled his 15th of the season at 7:58.

It didn't take long afterwards for St. Louis to get back into the lead as Andy McDonald converted on a shot from between the hash marks. McDonald, playing his first game after missing 36 with a fractured leg, tallied his 7th at 9:26.

After that goal, it was all Canucks as the desperation in their play turned the tide in their favour. Alex Burrows was able to get the all-important equalizer as his wrist shot from low in the left face off circle deflected off of Jeff Woywitka's stick and past Mason on the short side. Mattias Ohlund gets credit for the lone assist on a career-best 13th of the season for Burrows at 11:50.

The Blues then got into some penalty trouble and the Canucks were able to get some momentum on their side. Just as a penalty to Barret Jackman expired, Willie Mitchell let a shot go from the right point. It deflected off of Taylor Pyatt and came to a wide open Jannik Hansen. He had little trouble scooping in his 6th goal of his rookie seaosn, which proved to be his first game-winner of the year. It came at 15:18 as the Canucks now have 14 players who have scored game-clinching goals this season.

Mason was able to get to the Blues bench for the extra attacker late in the period, but the Canucks were able to shut down the St. Louis offense. Henrik Sedin missed two golden opportunities from close range to seal the victory and extend his point scoring streak to seven straight games. Eventually Demitra scored into the empty net to cap off a three-point performance. His unassisted marker came with nine seconds left in the action.

Final shots on goal favoured the Canucks 30-28. The Canucks finished the night going 2-for-5 on the power play while the Blues went 2-for-3.

Now with an overall record of 25-20-8, the Canucks find themselves with 58 points and currently holding down 7th spot in the Western Conference standings. Next up will be a date with the Phoenix Coytoes on Thursday night. Game time at the Arena will be 6:00pm PST.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Canucks & Blues Game Day

The Canucks (24-20-8) look for their third straight victory tonight as they take on the St.Louis Blues (22-24-6). In their previous meeting Jan.9, the Blues posted a 6-4 win at GM Place. Willie Mitchell (2g,1a), Daniel Sedin (1g,1a), and Henrik Sedin (2a) led the Canucks in scoring while David Backes (1g,1a), Patrik Berglund (1g,1a), and Keith Tkachuk (2a) led the Blues.

The Canucks are expected to go with the exact same line-up as the one they had in a 7-3 win Saturday against Chicago. In the last two games, the Canucks best line has been Ryan Kesler (3g,3a), Mats Sundin (2g,3a), and Pavol Demitra (4a). Henrik Sedin enters the action tonight riding a six-game point scoring streak (2g.5a).

Daniel Sedin snapped a five-game goal scoring slump against the Hawks. He is one goal away from moving into 10th place for most goals scored in franchise history. Petri Skriko is 10th with 171 career goals.

The Blues have been playing some of their best hockey of the season in recent weeks, going 6-1-3 in their last ten games. St. Louis is great goaltending from Chris Mason. In his last five games, he's allowed just four goals against on 131 shots, good enough for a save percentage of 97.0%. The club's penalty killing has been equally as impressive, currently riding a streak of killing of 35 of their last 36 short-handed situations. This has also been hi-lited by 28 straight kills on home ice.

The Blues are getting a huge boost to their line-up tonight as Andy McDonald returns after missing the last 36 games with a fractured left leg. He had a great start to the season, putting up six goals and 12 assists in his first 16 games.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams for tonight's game at the Scott Trade Center:


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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - Davison



Andy McDonald - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie
Brad Winchester - David Backes - Brad Boyes
Alex Steen - Keith Tkachuk - B.J. Crombeen
David Perron - Jay McClement - Dan Hinote

Barret Jackman - Carlo Colaiacovo
Jay McKee - Jeff Woywitka
Steve Wagner - Tyson Strachan

Chris Mason
Chris Holt

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Canucks Hammer Hawks Saturday

The flood gates opened for the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night at GM Place. Against what had been a red hot Chicago Blackhawks team, the Canucks scored three times in the first period and capitalized four times with the man advantage en route to a big 7-3 victory.

The Canucks could not have asked for a more ideal opening twenty minutes on this night. Henrik Sedin opened the scoring when an attempted shot by Daniel Sedin hit his skate and deflected by netminder Christobal Huet. Alexander Edler picked up the other assist on Henrik's 9th of the year just 53 seconds into the game.

A few shifts later the Canucks built their lead while working on a power play. Ryan Kesler dished a great pass to the side of the net for a wide open Mats Sundin, who made no mistake sliding home his 4th of the season. Edler collected the other helper at 3:02.

The Hawks had a great chance to get on the scoreboard just prior to the midway stage of the period, but Roberto Luongo came up with a huge save with his right pad off a shot by Patrick Sharp.

Vancouver went to work on another power play before the period was out and were able to convert again. This time Kesler saw a pass take a friendly deflection off a Hawks skate and past Huet. Sundin and Pavol Demitra hit the score sheet on Kesler's 13th of the campaign at 13:50. That would be the last goal of the period and the last one allowed by Huet, who was replaced to start the second period by Nikolai Khabibulin.

Steve Bernier made it a 4-0 contest early in the middle session after jumping on a big rebound given up by the Bulin Wall. Rob Davison and Mason Raymond assist Bernier on his 12th of the year at 2:08.

The Canucks really took the wind out of Chicago's sails a few minutes later when the visitors got into serious penalty trouble. Jonathan Toews went to the box for a double minor high sticking penalty and then Khabibulin was dinged with a delay of game call after playing the puck behind the goal line outside of the trapazoid. It didn't take long for the Canucks to score on the 5-on-3 as Daniel Sedin snapped home a great cross-zone feed from Sundin. Edler gathers his third assist as Daniel snapped a home-game goal-less drought. The Canucks leading scorer now has 23 on the season and this one came at 5:41.

Edler capped off his most productive offensive performance of his career on another Canucks power play. His blast from the top of the right face off circle whistled by Khabibulin for his 5th of the season. Demitra and Mattias Ohlund gather the helpers at 12:19 giving the home team a six-goal cushion.

Luongo's shut-out bid was snapped late in the 2nd period while the Canucks worked a power play. Cam Barker was able to clear the puck up the middle of the ice though and Kris Versteeg was able to get free on a breakaway. His shot beat the Vancouver captain through the pads. It was Versteeg's league-leading 4th short-handed goal of the season and his 15th of his rookie year at 18:52.

Not that the game was in doubt into the final period, but the Hawks did make things a bit interesting with a couple of goals. Adam Burish snapped home a rebound seven minutes into the period for his 5th of the year and then Martin Havlat beat Luongo on a short-side snap shot while on a power play at 9:33 for his 17th.

Kesler capped off the scoring on this night with a hi-lite reel effort. After Duncan Keith fell inside his own zone with the puck, Kesler cruised in on a breakaway and beat the netminder with a beautiful move to the forehand. It was Kesler's third point of the night, his 14th goal of the season and it now gives him Kesler five goals and three assists in his last three games.

Final shots on net did favour Chicago by a margin of 39-26. The Canucks, on a night where they posted their highest goals-for total on home ice, went 4-for-8 on the power play. The Hawks finished the night going 1-for-5.

With back-to-back wins, the Canucks improve their overall record to 24-20-8, good enough for 56 points. The club will open up a stretch of playing eight games in eight different cities next Tuesday when they travel to St. Louis to play the Blues. Game time will be 5:30pm PST.

Canucks/Hawks Game Day

Tonight is the third of four meetings this season between the Canucks and Blackhawks. The Canucks have taken points in four of their last five games while the Hawks have won four of their last five. Chicago leads the season series 2-0-0. Henrik Sedin (1g,1a), Pavol Demitra (1g), and Daniel Sedin (1g) lead the Canucks in scoring while Patrick Sharp (3g,1a), Patrick Kane (2g,2a), and Jonathan Toews (1g,2a) lead the Hawks.

Goalie Christobal Huet has been a big difference maker in the head-to-head meetings. He's allowed three goals against on 61 totals shots (1.50GAA & 96.0Sv%) and he'll get the start tonight. For what it's worth, Demitra has averaged a point-per-game in his career against Chicago (45GP-24g,27a=51pts).

One game time decision for the Canucks which will see either Kyle Wellwood or Mason Raymond in the line-up on a line with Alex Burrows and Steve Bernier. Wellwood has been fighting the flu and I think will likely play, attempting to break out of a nine-game goal scoring slump. If Raymond draws in, he'll be searching for his first goal in 13 games.

Daniel Sedin, despite leading the team in points (22g,27a), has gone five straight games without a goal. It's not his longest goal-less drought of the season though as he went seven straight without scoring in October. Henrik Sedin is currently riding a five-game point scoring streak (1g,5a). Their linemate Taylor Pyatt, since returning from his injury last month, has scored just two goals in seven straight games.

The Hawks will go with the same line-up as their 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Passing the midway point of eight straight games on the road, the Hawks are 11-0-0 against Canadian-based teams this season. Eight players on the Hawks roster have 30+ points while nine players are in double digits in the plus category.

Here are the expected line-ups for both clubs:

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

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - Davison



Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Troy Brouwer - Kris Versteeg - Dustin Byfuglien
Andrew Ladd - Dave Bolland - Martin Havlat
Ben Eager - Colin Fraser - Adam Burish

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell - Matt Walker
Cam Barker - James Wisniewski

Christobal Huet
Nikolai Khabibulin

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Canucks Get Back McIver in Deal for Brown

From the Canucks media relations department this afternoon:

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have acquired defenceman Nathan McIver from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for right wing Mike Brown. McIver will report to Manitoba.

McIver, 24, has spent the 2008-09 season with the Anaheim Ducks. In 18 games played, McIver registered one assist, was +2 and recorded 36 penalty minutes. Prior to joining the Ducks, the Summerside, PEI native was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. In 18 games played with Vancouver, McIver recorded 59 penalty minutes. He also played a key role for the Manitoba Moose over the span of three seasons. Since 2005-06, the 6’3”, 205-pound defenceman has played in 172 games, recording 16 points (5-11-16) and 402 penalty minutes for Vancouver’s AHL affiliate.

McIver was drafted 254th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Nathan McIver
Born Jan 6 1985 -- Summerside, PEI
Height 6.02 -- Weight 195 -- Shoots L

Selected by Vancouver Canucks round 8 #254 overall 2003 NHL Entry Draft

--- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ----
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002-03 Toronto St. Michael's Maj OHL 68 5 10 15 121 19 0 4 4 41
2003-04 Toronto St. Michael's Maj OHL 57 4 11 15 183 16 0 1 1 22
2004-05 Toronto St. Michael's Maj OHL 67 4 22 26 160 3 0 1 1 13
2005-06 Manitoba Moose AHL 66 1 6 7 155 12 0 0 0 28
2006-07 Manitoba Moose AHL 63 1 2 3 139 2 0 0 0 0
2006-07 Vancouver Canucks NHL 1 0 0 0 7 -- -- -- -- --
2007-08 Manitoba Moose AHL 43 3 3 6 108 6 0 1 1 11
2007-08 Vancouver Canucks NHL 17 0 0 0 52
2008-09 Anaheim Ducks NHL 18 0 1 1 36
NHL Totals 36 0 1 1 95

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Canucks Bump The Slump Against Canes

The Canucks opened up the month of February by snapping a nine-game home ice losing streak Tuesday night with a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The victory was sealed on a dramatic finish while the home team was short-handed late in the third period.

This game couldn't have started any stronger for the home team. On their first power play of the night, Vancouver was able to convert with the extra skater. After Daniel & Henrik Sedin were able to work the puck around the Canes territory, Kevin Bieksa was able to get a shot off from high in the zone. Netminder Cam Ward got a piece of the shot, but not enough to keep it out of the net. For Bieksa, it was his fourth power play marker of the season and his first in four straight games. His 7th of the year came at 2:21.

The newly formed line of Ryan Kesler, Mats Sundin, and Pavol Demitra was able to build on the Canucks lead past the midway point of the period. After Sundin cycled the puck behind the Carolina goal, Demitra dished it to the right face off circle for Kesler. His one-time snap shot beat Ward on the short side, giving Kesler his third goal in the last two games. Kesler now has 12 goals on the season and it came at 12:41.

The Canucks had a solid start in the middle frame not allowing the visitors a shot on goal through the first ten minutes. However the Canes were able to break the shut out bid of Roberto Luongo while working on a power play. The Canucks captain had lost possession of his stick and Joe Corvo was able to beat him with a shot from the left face off circle. Eric Staal and Bryan Rodney collect the assists on Corvo's 8th at 11:14.

On the next shift, the game was back on level terms as Joni Pitkanen beat Luongo with a shot through the pads. Ray Whitney and Mark Cullen help Pitkanen tally his 5th of the season, just 25 seconds after the Canes hit the scoreboard.

Inside the final five minutes of the 2nd period, Vancouver got their lead back and they looked to their newest forward to get the job done. Sundin jumped on a loose puck behind the goal of Ward and wound up beating him on a wrap-around. Demitra and Kesler chip in with their 2nd points of the game on Sundin's 3rd as a Canuck at 15:10.

Carolina didn't take long into the third period to make it a 3-3 game and it came on another power play. A nice passing play between Corvo and Whitney allowed Staal to easily slide home his team-leading 22nd of the season, which came just 33 seconds into the period.

A big break came the Canucks way a few shifts later. Brandon Sutter was able to convert on a redirect and looked to have put the Canes in their first lead of the night. However the goal was waved off as Ryan Bayda was nailed with a goaltender interference penalty.

With just under three minutes left in the game, Mattias Ohlund took a hooking penalty and put Carolina in the driver's seat. However, Kesler made a great play to chip the puck out of the Vancouver zone and spring Alex Burrows on a breakaway. His move to the back-hand gave Ward no chance. Burrows scored his team-leading third short-handed marker of the year and what proved to be his 2nd game winning goal of the season. It was his 12th goal of the season and it occured at 18:38.

Despite carrying on with the power play and then getting the extra attacker on to the ice for the remainder of the period, Carolina was unable to get the equalizer and the Canucks hung on to get their first win in nine tries.

Final shots on net favoured the Hurricanes 27-24. The Canucks finished the night going 1-for-4 while the Canes went 2-for-4.

Now with an overall record 23-20-8, the Canucks have 54 points and jump into 7th spot in the Western Conference standings. The club will have the next few days off in preparation for a tough match-up on the weekend. Next Saturday, the Canucks will host the Chicago Blackhawks at GM Place for the final time this season. Game time is 7:00pm PST.

Canucks & Hurricanes Game Day

The Vancouver Canucks (22-20-8) look to open up the month of February on a winning note this evening as they entertain the Carolina Hurricanes (25-21-5). This will be the one and only meeting of the season between the two clubs. In their lone meeting last season in Raleigh, the Canes skated away with a 3-1 win at the RBC Center.

The Canucks are winless in their last eight straight games and capped off the month of January with a 2-5-5 record. Henrik Sedin is riding a four-game point scoring streak (1g,4a) while Sami Salo has points in back-to-back games (1g,1a). Vancouver has gone 1-1-1 against teams from the Southeast Division this season.

Outside of Lawrence Nycholat being on the injured list, tonight will be the first game all season the Canucks are playing a game where their entire roster is 100% healthy. Pavol Demitra returns to the line-up tonight after missing the last three games with a groin injury. He’ll be skating on a line to start the game with Mats Sundin and Ryan Kesler. Demitra comes into the line-up while Mike Brown and Mason Raymond will be the healthy scratches up front while Shane O’Brien will be the healthy scratch on defence.

Speaking of O’Brien, he met again with the media after the morning skate and issued an apology for his comments yesterday following meetings with the Canucks coaches and management. He’s obviously hungry to get back into the line-up, but the earliest that will be will be next Saturday when the Canucks host the Chicago Blackhawks.

As for the Hurricanes, they head into this game in 8th spot in the Eastern Conference with 55 points, one ahead of the Florida Panthers and two better than the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Cam Ward has started 16 straight games for the Canes, including a 2-0 win last Saturday at home against the Atlanta Thrashers. 36 year-old veteran Ray Whitney leads Carolina in scoring (16g,24a) while 24 year-old forward Eric Stall leads the team in goals (21), power play goals (8), and game winning goals (6). Tonight marks the first of a three-game western road trip for Hurricanes, who have gone 13-10-3 since Paul Maurice took over the coaching duties after Peter Laviolette was fired at the beginning of December. The Canes are 0-2-0 against Northwest Division teams this year.

Here are the expected line-ups for both the Canucks and Hurricanes:


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

Mitchell – Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa – Davison



Sergei Samsonov – Eric Staal – Tuomo Ruutu
Ray Whitney – Matt Cullen – Justin Williams
Chad LaRose – Rod Brind’Amour – Patrick Eaves
Ryan Bayda – Brandon Sutter – Michael Ryan

Tim Gleason – Joe Corvo
Joni Pitkanen – Anton Babchuk
Frantisek Kaberle – Bryan Rodney

Cam Ward
Micheal Leighton

Monday, February 2, 2009

Canucks Back To Practice Monday

If today's practice was any indication, the team the Canucks put on the ice tomorrow against the Carolina Hurricanes won't look much different than what it did in Saturday's overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild. However there could be some notable changes when it comes to the line combonations.

Pavol Demitra looks to be ready to return to the line-up as he skated on a line with Mats Sundin at centre and Ryan Kesler on the left wing. For the first time all season, Kesler and Alex Burrows did not skate together, as Burrows skated with Kyle Wellwood and Steve Bernier. Jannik Hansen wound up going through drills with Ryan Johnson and Darcy Hordichuk.

The defence pairing skated the same as to what they were Saturday. That means all signs are pointing towards Mason Raymond, Shane O'Brien, and Mike Brown being the odd men out.

Speaking of O'Brien, he wasn't afraid to speak his mind after practice with the media....showing his frustration about having been a healthy scratch the last game and likely sitting out tomorrow's game as well.

He feels the coaches and management want him to be more of a physical presence and fight more than he has been. Alain Vigneault said there was a different message coming to O'Brien, which did include being more physical and getting away from the careless amount of penalties he's been taking.

Here's how the team skated today:

D.Sedin - H Sedin - Pyatt
Kesler - Sundin - Demitra
Burrows - Wellwood - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Hansen
(extras Raymond & Brown)

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - Davison
(extra O'Brien)