CANUCKS TOP OF CANADIAN TEAMS
There is no denying the rivalries between the Canadian teams in the NHL, and the Canucks prove to be the team to beat with six straight wins as they play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
The match will be their second and last one this season against the Maple Leafs. The Canucks defeated Toronto on October 24 3-1, and won both games against them last season. Toronto has struggled this season only winning 17 out of their 54 games and sit in fourteenth place in the East with 44 points (17-27-10).
The Canucks have more points than the other five Canadian teams with 68 (33-18-2), followed by the Ottawa Senators with 64 (30-21-4).
Vancouver has not only done well against other Canadian teams, winning seven out of 11 games, but against the East in general. They are 9-1-0 against teams in the Eastern Conference this season, and were 10-6-2 last season.
With all rivalries aside, the Canucks are always excited to travel out East, as they play the middle game of CBC’s annual Hockey Day in Canada, where all six Canadian teams are in action and aired back-to-back Saturday. It will take place in Stratford, Ontario on Saturday, January 30, celebrating the six Canadian teams, and Canada’s passion for hockey.
The Ottawa Senators will host the Montreal Canadiens in the morning matchup at 11am PST and the battle of the Alberta teams in Calgary begins at 7pm PST following the Canucks game.
The Canucks are travelling without Kevin Bieksa, who is recovering after suffering a sliced ankle tendon on December 29 against Phoenix, Willie Mitchell who still shows symptoms of his concussion, and Jannik Hansen who was re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose yesterday. Sami Salo is still questionable for this road trip but has travelled with the team and started on-ice sessions.
Even with recent defencemen injuries, the current Canuck blueliners have pulled through for the team. Christian Ehrhoff (28:11), Shane O’Brien (21:33), and Alex Edler (24:16) saw plenty of ice time last game against the Blues.
"Personally, I like to play that much," Christian Ehrhoff said to the Vancouver Sun’s Brad Ziemer. "For me, it's a great challenge and it's fun."
The Canucks hope to continue their success on the road and have a seventh consecutive win.
HANSEN AN ASSET TO MOOSE
After being re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose yesterday for a conditioning assignment, Moose coach Scott Arniel and team couldn’t be happier.
Currently on a five game losing streak, the Moose welcome back a familiar face. Jannik Hansen was with the Moose for three seasons, and earned 78 points (34-44-78).
"We certainly can use the skill, anytime you can get a player of that quality at this time of the year, we're looking for him to be a little boost for us," Arniel said to QMI Agency’s Ken Wiebe. "[Hansen] hasn't played a lot of games recently and he wants to be sharp and get his game up to where it needs to be. For us, it's a bonus because we know him. It'll be an easy adjustment."
The Moose (23-20-4) currently sit in third in the North Division with 51 points, and hope the addition of Hansen will help them find a way out of their rut.
Hansen is expected to enter the lineup tonight when the Moose face the Worcester Sharks.
"We'll throw him right in there," Arniel told Wiebe. "He's such a good skater and if he has the puck, he'll push the defence back. He's shifty and he's a real good penalty killer. You can use him in a large role and we're going to try to take advantage of that."