BLOODY MATCH, LUKOWICH’S DEBUT
Recently recalled defenceman Brad Lukowich will make his debut on home ice tomorrow night against the Calgary Flames due to minor injuries of defensemen Aaron Rome and Sami Salo in Thursday night’s 4-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Canucks 27th win of the season give them 55 points, but it did not come without sacrifice. Rome was knocked to the ice by a clean hit from former Canuck Taylor Pyatt, leaving a cut on the side of his face. Rome left the game and did not return; he’s considered day-to-day.
“Aaron’s feeling better,” said coach Alain Vigneault after Friday’s practice.“We just gave him a day off today and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Obviously he took a big hit there, he’s got a gash the side of his eye so just want to rest him up here for a day.”
Salo also took a big hit, a stick in the face from teammate Willie Mitchell during the second period which left a cut near his eye. He was stitched up and skated back on the ice in the beginning of the third.
“Sami’s eyes a little bit shut today so we’re icing it down and we’ll see how he looks tomorrow,” said Vigneault. “He’s not going to look good but he may be able to see through the eye.”
Newcomer Lukowich, who was signed during the off-season, hopes to fit in well with the system that has the Canucks tied for the Northwest Division lead in points through 44 games.
“Everything that I’ve heard about this young man is real positive about his approach to the game and about his coming to work and him putting 100% on the ice,” said Vigneault. “His skill set I think permits him to be a defensive stay at home type defenseman.”
Lukowich’s style of sticking to his role as a defender should contribute well to the team in their battle for first place in the division against Calgary Saturday night.
BURROWS PULLS RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT TWICE
Fans went all out and were in awe when Alex Burrows notched a second consecutive hat trick and the third of his career Thursday versus the desert dogs.
Burrows is the first NHL player to record two hat tricks in a row since Novemberof 2007 when Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk did it.
Burrows now has 17 goals this season and seven in his last three games, leaving him with 34 points. The Canucks hope to make NHL history in Saturday night’s game and have a player who scores three consecutive hat tricks.
“I’m pushin’ for him,” said Ryan Kesler. “He’s in the right place at the right time right now and he’s bearing his chances. That’d be pretty special if he could do that.”
The main focus of the team is to win those two points and surpass Calgary in the Northwest, but to make NHL history is a whole other story.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Burrows after morning practice. “I think I’m getting lucky bounces right now and obviously my line mates are playing unbelievably for me so it’s been fun getting some wins and being on a roll right now.”
Vancouver’s top line is also on a roll as Burrows and the Sedins combined for eight points (3-5-8) in Thursday’s win. Henrik Sedin is now league leader with 61 points; his three assists from Thursday night’s game puts him three points ahead of Joe Thornton.
“Danny and Hank have been tremendous together,” said Burrows. “I think they’ve been making great plays and creating a lot offensively. I’m just on a band wagon and trying to help them out and right now it’s going well.”
Growing up together would help the twins predict what the other will do, but in this lineup Burrows seems to fit in so well, and the twins seem to have become triplets.
“He’s really smart and I think that’s enough,” said Henrik. “He reads the plays really well and he knows where the puck is going to end up and if I have the puck, where he should be and where Dan is going to be. Overall I think we read off each other well.”
NOT JUST ONE STAR PUPIL
Not only did Burrows shine, but let’s not forget Roberto Luongo, who refused to let anything in the net Thursday night against Phoenix. That win became the 50th shutout of his career. Luongo made 31 saves against the Coyotes, even in the second period which mainly took place in their end.
Also making individual career history was Mikael Samuelsson who scored his 100th career goal in the last 4 seconds of the second period making it 2-0 going into the third.
Head coach Alain Vigneault changed things up a bit in the second period and switched Tanner Glass into the second line up and put Mason Raymond into the third.
“I just thought that Phoenix being a big strong physical team, I thought Kes’ line needed a more physical presence and the other line needed a little bit more speed so I made that switch,” said Vigneault.
Due to the switcheroo, shots in the second period were 16-5 in favour of the Coyotes but in turn seemed to tire them out when helped with Samuelsson’s goal in that last moments of the second.