CANUCKS IN OTTAWA
The Canucks (28-21-8) are in Canada's capital for a match up against the Senators (22-25-9) today. The two teams have met once already this season when the visiting Senators were blanked 3-0 by the Canucks at GM Place on December 28th.
There is one possible lineup change for tonight's game as Mason Raymond
might slot back into the line up. Head coach Alain Vigneault will make a game time decision whether to play Raymond or Darcy Hordichuk on the fourth line with Ryan Johnson and Jannik Hansen
The blueline is expected to stay the same with pairings of Mattias Ohlund and Kevin Bieksa
, Sami Salo
and Willie Mitchell, and Alex Edler and Shane O’Brien. Rob Davison will be a healthy scratch.
The Canucks will not be facing Ottawa’s captain and top scorer as Daniel Alfredsson will be out at least a week after sustaining a cracked bone in his jaw when he took a puck to the face in the Senator’s 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado on Tuesday. Alfredsson, who has six points in his last five games, finished the rest of the game but has been advised to stay away from contact so it can heal.
Most of the media attention surrounding the Canucks this week is focused on Mats Sundin’s return to Toronto, however tonight Salo will return to play his former team. The Finnish defenceman was drafted by the Senators in 1996 and played four seasons in Ottawa before being traded to the Canucks in 2002.
The Canucks will also see some familiar faces on the opposing bench tonight. Ryan Shannon will dress for Ottawa, the young forward has played nine games with the Senators this season. Forward Jarkko Ruutu will also be in the Senators lineup. Netminder Alex Auld, Vancouver’s former backup goalie will not start in net against his former team.
The Vancouver squad, winners of six of their last seven games, are pumped for their next three games on the East Coast. Alex Burrows may have an extra boost tonight, and in Toronto and Montreal for that matter, as his friends and family are taking advantage of the Canucks games against Canadian Eastern Conference teams to see him in action.
The Canucks have been joined in fifth position in the Western Conference by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who won their game last night to tie the Canucks in the standings.
Goaltender Roberto Luongo
was back to his top form against the Flames Tuesday and will play a huge part in the Canucks playoff push. After starting their Canadian road trip with a shootout win over Calgary the team looks to keep rolling and gaining precious points in the tight Western Conference.
"It's a cycle, I need them as much as they need me," said Luongo. "When they play well in front of me, it's easier for me to make saves. What that does is make me feel more comfortable and confident in my reads. Then when they start making mistakes, I can save them.
"That's how it's supposed to work, and that's how it works for us when we're firing on all cylinders. Sometimes they bail me out, and sometimes I bail them out."
Tonight’s game faces off at 4:30pm PST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific.FANTASY HOCKEY:
Check out Canucks Fantasy Hockey
, a free online game that allows you to play against other Vancouver Canucks fans as you attempt to earn the most points during each of the Vancouver Canucks' regular season hockey games.