Game Day: Canucks visit Flames
Vancouver Canucks: 12-7-3, 27 points. (second in NW division, 6th in Western Conference)
Goal Leader: Daniel Sedin, 13 goals
Points Leader: Henrik, Daniel Sedin: 27 points.
Wins Leader: Roberto Luongo: 9 wins.
Calgary Flames: 10-12-2, 22 points. (4th in NW Division, 14th in Western Conference)
Goal Leader: Rene Bourque: 11 goals
Points Leader: Alex Tanguay: 21 points.
Wins Leader: Mikka Kiprusoff: 9 wins.
The Canucks will renew a rivalry tonight when they pay a visit to the struggling Calgary Flames Wednesday night.
The Canucks are currently on a two game win streak after posting wins in San Jose and Colorado.
The Vancouver squad should be well rested as they haven't played in four days, however they have had a flu go around the locker room, with Manny Malhotra suffering, as well as Kevin Bieksa who actually had pneumonia. The maligned defenseman has lost eight pounds during his bout with the illness, but insisted he will travel with the team and play on Wednesday. Manny Malhotra is expected to be a game time decision.
This is the first of six meetings between the division rivals, and while the game should be entertaining, it's safe to say the rivalry has lost some of it's punch. The flames currently sit five points behind the Canucks, with a 10-12-2 record. While the Flames aren't playing terrible hockey, coming off a shutout win at Minnesota, they haven't played well or even consistent through the early stages of the season.
The Flames and Canucks have similiar offensive statistics, with the Canucks having scored 68 goals to the Flames 67, however the Flames have given up 69 goals as opposed to the Canucks at 59.
The Starting Goalies, barring injury will be Roberto Luongo for the Canucks and Mikka Kiprusoff for the Flames. Luongo, who has yet to truly find his zone this season is 9-7 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.72 goals against average; he also has one shutout.
Mikka Kiprusoff, like Luongo, has simply been average for his subpar hockey team. He is 9-11 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.62 goals against average.
Keys to the game Vancouver:Vancouver will win if the Sedin twins continue their dominance against the Northwest Division, and Luongo can make the saves he needs to.
The defense also needs to keep up their improved play, as that has truly been the catalyst to their modest two game win streak. The second line of Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler and Jeff Tambellini will hope to continue their strong play of late, and the third line of Raffi Torres, Manny Malhotra and Mikael Samuelsson will look to contribute again offensively.
The fourth line will hope to be less than invisible, because thats all they have been throughout this season. They haven't had a solid centerman since Alex Bolduc (more on him later) went down with injury in the first game of the season, and they haven't been contributing offensively at all. Tanner Glass has six points in 22 games and is a -1, Joel Perreault has been pointless in 4, Rick Rypien is absent due to a personal matter, and Jannik Hansen has 5 points, though those mostly came playing with Malhotra and Torres.
Alex Bolduc, he of the aforementioned injury, has resumed skating at practice, however he will figure into the Manitoba Moose lineup for a couple of games to get his conditioning up before he returns to the Canucks lineup.
The Defensive core for the Canucks did a terrific job containing Jarome Iginla last season, as he had a paltry two points (1 g, 1a) in six games. Iginla, however isn't the only player the Canucks need to keep an eye on. Rene Bourque has been playing great hockey, and leads the Flames with 11 goals. On the flip side, Olli Jokinen has been awful, with 9 points in 21 games, and a -4. Kind of random, but I never miss an opportunity to mock Olli Jokinen.
Projected Lines For Wednesday
D.Sedin, H.Sedin, A. Burrows
M. Raymond, R. Kesler, J. Tambellini
R.Torres, M. Malhotra, M. Samuelsson
T. Glass, J. Perreault, J. Hansen
C. Ehrhoff, A. Edler
D. Hamhuis, K. Bieksa
K. Ballard, A. Alberts
Note: Many have been speaking of Cody Hodgson's teriffic play for the Manitboa Moose, and he is playing great hockey. However, has anybody seen Goaltender Eddie Lack's numbers? Ridiculous stats. 1.89 gag, coupled with a .928 sv % in 12 games.Not saying he's the next Luongo, but still, it's nice to see.
Brendan Morrison is set to face his old team tonight. It's not the first time B-mo has played against the Canucks, but it is the first time he may have an axe to grind. For those with a bad memory, Morrison was invited to the Canucks training camp, played well, and then was not offered a contract and dumped. He was hurt and confused, but quickly signed with the Flames. Could Morrison be looking for redemption? Stay tuned folks.