RIVAL MATCH UP
Tonight the Canucks head back to the Pengrowth Saddledome looking to avenge a 5-3 loss on opening night that saw division rivals the Calgary Flames climb to an early lead making it 3-0 within the first period. The Flames are coming off their third straight loss 2-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I’m expecting a real tough game,” revealed Alain Vigneault.
“Flames games are different," said Willie Mitchell. "Both teams know we are going to have to go head-to-head with each other all year to try and win this division. That's the way it's been since I've been here."
"Every time we play them, it's an important game," Luongo said. "They mean a lot in the standings. They are exciting games to be involved in and those are the type of games I like to play.”
Puck drops at 6 PST.
Michael Grabner, 22, is set to make his NHL debut after being called up Wednesday morning. The 6’1” 180lbs. Villach, Austria, native will fill in for Daniel Sedin, who is out for 4-6 weeks after injuring his foot on a blocked shot, on the top line playing the wing alongside Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows.
Defenceman Aaron Rome is slated to suit up partnering with Alex Edler. Rome will round out the blueline replacing Sami Salo who sustained a knee injury Sunday night against Dallas.
Rome, 26, split his time between the NHL and the AHL last season finishing 0-1-1 in eight games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and 7-21-28 in 48 games with the Syracuse Crunch.
The Canucks are not expected to call up any defencemen; instead, they will travel with six.
Expected line up:
Burrows – H. Sedin – Grabner
Raymond – Kesler - Samuelsson
Johnson – Wellwood- Bernier
Hordichuk – Rypien – Glass
Bieksa – Mitchell
O’Brien – Ehrhoff
While the Canucks power-play is clicking, third in the league with an efficiency rating of 36.8, their penalty killing is rated 25th in the NHL with an efficiency rating of 66.7 percent.
"Our structure is good," Vigneault said.
"A couple of bad reads or maybe a little lack of execution. And we need to be better on faceoffs. That is when we started to improve our penalty-killing last year was when we got a little bit better on faceoffs. We’ve got a good group of forwards and D’s that can do a great job and I’m sure we’re going to do it here in the next little while.”
Last season the Canucks PK was rated 16th with an efficiency rating of 80.8 per cent.
After playing two games in ten days the Canucks will now face four games in six days starting with a pair of back-to-back games tonight in Calgary and tomorrow at home against Minnesota. With a grueling schedule it’s expected that backup netminder Andrew Raycroft, 29, will likely see game action sooner rather than later.
“It is logical to assume that [Raycroft] will get some ice time in, but that being said Louie is the type of guy that needs to see action,” Vigneault explained.
“It takes them a while to get going, and once they get going their fine. I think Roberto is sort of that way, so we’re going to play him and play him hard.”
With already five players out injuries, Vigneault revealed forward Pavol Demitra’s rehab process is being stalled by tendentious. Demitra, 34, has yet to practice on ice.
The 6’0” 200lbs. Dubnica, Slovakia native recorded 20 goals and 33 (20-33-53) assists in 69 games last season.