Friday, February 27, 2009

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

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