DEMITRA GAME TIME DECISION
After a day off on Wednesday to rest up before the gruelling playoff push, the players showed up energized for the game day skate at GM Place this morning. The Canucks (37-23-9) take on the visiting St. Louis Blues (32-29-9) tonight.
Notably absent from practice was Pavol Demitra. The veteran winger, who has been playing with a fractured finger for a few weeks, showed up with a sore knee and did not practice.
“He came in this morning with a swollen knee and we sent him to the hospital, and took an x-ray,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “The x-ray was negative, so we’ll see how he reacts today, but I would say he’s doubtful for tonight.
“Probably Taylor Pyatt [would fill in for Demitra], I’m thinking right now. Taylor has been playing well the last couple games here, so if Pavol can’t go then that’s probably what we’re going to do. And put Jannik with Johnny and Hordi on that line.”
Demitra will be a game time decision. If he sits out, Pyatt will move into his spot on the second line with Ryan Kesler
and Mats Sundin. Forward Jannik Hansen
would then slot back into the lineup. Hansen has been cleared to play by team doctors, after missing 11 games due to a fractured finger sustained on January 19th.
Defencemen Ossi Vaananen and Rob Davison are expected to sit out as healthy scratches.
Both the Canucks and the Blues are on streaks and fighting for playoff security in the tight Western Conference. The Canucks are in for a tough battle tonight against a surging Blues team, that is making a drive for a playoff spot.
“They’ve been playing really well the last little while,” said Roberto Luongo
. “They’re fighting for a spot and they’re like a bunch of teams we’ve been facing lately, just desperate and fighting for their playoff lives. So, we just want to make sure that we do more of the same of what we’ve been doing at home.”
Eleventh in the West, St. Louis is currently only 2 points behind Edmonton in the eighth and final playoff spot. The Canucks won their tenth straight game on home ice Tuesday against Dallas, breaking the franchise record and moving them within one point of the Chicago Blackhawks in fourth position.
“We know we’re a hard working team and most nights we’re going to have to grid out the effort, tonight is no exception,” said Kevin Bieksa
. “St. Louis is a team that matches up well against us, they always play us hard.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of success against them in the last couple years, but the last game in St. Louis we put together a great game and got the first victory in a while.”
Tonight’s game faces off at 7:00pm PST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. FANTASY HOCKEY:
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