Tonight the Canucks face off against the sixth best team in the eastern conference, the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta, fresh off a 3-1 loss against the Calgary Flames Wednesday night, have dropped three of their last four games. Meanwhile, the Canucks, kicking off an eight-game homestand, hope to start fresh after breaking even with two wins and losses on their recent road trip.
Last season during the only matchup between these two teams, Atlanta came away with the win defeating the Canucks 4-3 in the shootout.
“They’re one of the best road teams in the league,” said head coach Alain Vigneault on the Atlanta Thrashers. “They play a high tempo energy game. You’ve got a lot of explosiveness and they play hard. It should be a tough game for us tonight.”
Puck drops tonight at 7 PST.Line up changes
Defencemen Alex Edler, who sustained an upper body injury Tuesday against Nashville after being checked into the boards, will not play tonight. Mathieu Schneider, 40, is expected to suit up.
Edler, 23, received an MRI this morning and will find out the results later tonight.
“We’re going to miss Eddie, his shot, his offensive ability, but we’ve got Schnides,” said Shane O’Brien, who missed seven straight games as a healthy scratch before drawing into the line up Dec. 2 against the Devils.
“Obviously you never want anyone to get hurt but Eddies out for a little bit now so I’ll get an opportunity to play but when I’m in, I’m in. I’m going to do what I can to help the team win and when I’m not in then [I’ll] work hard to get back in.”
MAKING UP GROUND
The Canucks, who have one of the better home records in the league going 10-4-0 at GM Place, know now is the time to make up lost ground.
"We know what the schedule is like this year with a lot of extended road trips, so we've got to make some hay on these home stands and it'll be nice to be home for a while," said forward Tanner Glass.
“It’s huge,” said Henrik Sedin of the teams’ upcoming eight-game home stretch. “We’re out of the playoffs right now and that’s where we feel like we belong. We know we have to play better to get up there. We’re off a little bit out there and that shows every night after the game on the scoreboard. That’s how you lose tight games.”
“For whatever reasons our consistency hasn’t been there this year,” explained O’Brien. “We know it’s in here and we’ve seen glimpses of it, but for some reason we play a couple of good games and then we have a little bit of a letdown.”
“We understand that at 30 games in this isn’t where we want to be,” stated Ryan Kesler. “We got to have [a sense of urgency] in our game now. We’ve got a pretty long home stretch and it starts tonight. We’ve got to take care of business. Anything less than a ‘W’ isn’t good enough."
“Every time so far this year when I think we're getting on a roll and we're getting traction, we sort of find a way to piss me off again," Vigneault. "So it's what we're faced with right now. Talk is fine but we need actions. They're a strong group, we believe in them and we have to let their actions speak for themselves with their play on the ice."