CANUCKS IN LOS ANGELES
With their most loyal fans cheering them on the Canucks (34-22-8) look to put their best effort forward tonight against the LA Kings (28-28-9). The players and their moms are in California for a two-game, mother-son road trip.
The Canucks are in sync and confident on the ice, coming off a 3-1 win over the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks. Led by the impressive play of captain Roberto Luongo
the team is 12-2-0 in their last 14 games.
"After that save on Cheechoo [in Saturday's game], a few guys got up on the bench and started banging their sticks because it gets our confidence even higher," said Alex Burrows. "We feel good as a group, but we also know that Roberto is in his good form like he was a couple of years ago."
The Kings have won their last two games and are currently in tenth position in the West, 10 points behind the Canucks in fifth place. The players are not taking tonight's match up lightly as they continue to battle for a playoff spot in the tight Western Conference.
"I don't think we're worried about a letdown," said Kevin Bieksa
. "L.A. is definitely going to be a hungry team. They're looking to get into the playoffs and they've been playing some good hockey lately. They're a young, tough team and they always play us well, especially at home."
The team looks to get off to a good start against L.A., getting on the board quickly and limiting the Kings offensive chances. The Canucks are 21-0-3 this season when leading after two periods. The Kings are 23-7-3 when they score first and only 5-21-6 when giving up the first goal.
"They're right in the thick of things and they're a team with nothing to lose and everything to gain," said Ryan Kesler
. "We've got to set the tone."
Head coach Alain Vigneault is not expected to make any changes to the lineup heading into tonight’s battle. Vigneault known for adjusting his lines, is confident with the current chemistry of his lineup.
Defencemen Rob Davison and Ossi Vaananen will be healthy scratches. Forwards Jannik Hansen
(fractured finger) and Rick Rypien (sports hernia injury) remain on the injured reserve list.
The expected offensive lines and defensive pairings for tonight’s game are as follows:
D.Sedin – H.Sedin – Burrows
Kesler – Sundin – Demitra
Pyatt – Wellwood – Bernier
Raymond – Johnson - Hordichuk
Ohlund – Edler
Mitchell – Salo
O’Brien – Bieksa
Tonight’s game faces off at 7:30pm PST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific.A CAREER MILESTONE
Veteran defenceman Mattias Ohlund, the longest serving Canuck on the roster with 11 seasons under his belt, has earned another spot in the franchises' records. Ohlund is now tied with Jyrki Lumme and Dennis Kearns for most points by a blueliner. His 321st point was an assist on Alex Edler's goal in Saturday's 3-1 win over San Jose. He still has 18 games left this season to set the bar higher.
"Eighteen more to go, you never know," said Ohlund. "I guess [it's possible]. I'm not too concerned about it. My focus is on winning games."
Drafted 13th overall by the Canucks in 1994, Ohlund has accumulated 321points (91-230-321) in 752 games.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.