GRABNER SIDELINED FOR 6 WEEKS
The injuries keep piling on for the battered Vancouver Canucks as forward Michael Grabner is the latest to fall out of the lineup with a fractured ankle. Grabner, 22, injured his ankle during a pre-game soccer warm-up Sunday and is expected to be out for six weeks.
At 6’0” and 170lbs., the Villach, Austria native has established solid chemistry capitalizing on his speed alongside Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond notching two goals and three assists (2-3-5) in nine games with the Canucks this season.
“Obviously, it’s challenging for everyone but [injuries] are a part of the game,” said Alex Burrows. “There’s a lot of injuries around the league and we’re no different. Hopefully we’ll get those guys back soon.”Roberto Luongo
, out with a hairline fracture to his rib, is expected to make the teams upcoming road trip as will Jannik Hansen
Ryan Johnson, who skated with the team this morning, is expected to make a decision today on whether or not he feels well enough and ready to travel with the team. Daniel Sedin
(foot), Michael Grabner (ankle), Alex Bolduc (shoulder), and Pavol Demitra (shoulder) are not expected to make the trip.
HOME SWEET HOME
Tonight two of the top home teams in the league go head-to-head. Hoping to edge out the opposition, the Canucks get set for their only match this season against the New York Rangers. Both teams are a single point behind Chicago and Edmonton for best home record in the league with six wins and two loses (6-2-0).
The Canucks, dealing with injury after injury, are 12th in the league coming off a 3-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night improving their record to 8-7-0. Meanwhile, the Rangers Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup Sunday night and notched the only goal in New York’s 1-0 win over Boston.
The Canucks, familiar with the former Minnosota Wild’s top scorer, know they need to play strong defensively to keep Gaborik off the score sheet tonight.
“He’s one of the top players in the league,” explained Alex Burrows. “He’s got tremendous speed and when he shoots that puck really well while he’s skating in stride, so [we’ve] got to be careful with him. We’ve played them a bunch but Willie [Mitchell]’s up to the task again and hopefully we’ll be able to shut them down.”
“[Gaborik’s] a very dynamic player,” said Kevin Bieksa. “Obviously a lot of speed there so you give him a little bit of a cushion and keep him to the outside.”
Tonight’s expected lineup:
Burrows - H. Sedin - Bernier
Raymond - Kesler - Samuelsson
Glass - Wellwood - Rypien
Hordichuk - Bliznak - Pettinger
Mitchell - Bieksa
Salo - Edler
O'Brien - Ehrhoff
Pettinger, who made his return to Vancouver yesterday after signing as a free agent, is expected to slide into tonight's lineup.
Puck drops at 7 PST.