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Canucks Report - Sanford injured, LaBarbera signs

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
LaBarbera


This week on CDC
Injury report
The curse continues
Canucks acquire LaBarbera 

Game gallery

Game highlights
SANFORD INJURED, LABARBERA SIGNS

During yesterday's game day skate, goaltender Curtis Sanford, set to start in Tuesday's game against Philadelphia, tweaked his groin. After participating in the warm-up prior to the game Sanford felt he would be able to play.

Unfortunately after the first period he couldn't continue and rookie Cory Schneider stepped in to finish the final two periods, letting in only one goal.

“Curtis this morning during practice tweaked his groin, we didn’t know if he would be able to go [yesterday]," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "After warm-up he said he’d like to try, obviously he wasn’t good enough to play and we’re going to have to put him on IR for a period of time here. We don’t know, it’s probably going to be week-to-week.

“Cory came in the second I thought he did what he had to do, he kept us in. I really liked the way we played tonight, we came out really hard, we had a lot of energy, we were physical. It was a hard fought game by two teams."

In light of Sanford's injury the Canucks goaltender depth became a pressing issue that GM Mike Gillis addressed by acquiring goaltender Jason LaBarbera from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 7th round draft pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.

LaBarbera, 28, joins the Canucks after playing 19 games with the Kings this season posting a 5-8-4 record with a .893 save percentage, 2.83 GAA and two shutouts. Through 98 NHL contests split between the New York Rangers and LA Kings, LaBarbera has posted a 34-42-8 record with a 3.00 GAA and a .901 save percentage.

The Burnaby native finished 2007.08 with a .910 save percentage, tying Kelly Hrudey with the third highest save percentage in Kings history. In 2006.07 LaBarbera received his second Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the most outstanding goaltender in the AHL and was named a First Team AHL All-Star. He received his first “Baz” award in 2003.04 after setting an AHL record for most shutouts in a single season with 13 in 2003.04. That same year he also received the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s MVP.

The 6’3”, 225 pound goaltender was originally drafted in the third round, 66th overall by the New York Rangers in 1998.

The Canucks will meet their new teammate in Nashville today. LaBarbera is expected to play in one of the two back to back games this week. The goaltender will wear #30 on his Canucks sweater, following in the footsteps of many Canucks players including  netminders Garth Snow and Dunc Wilson.

CANUCKS CAN'T CATCH FLYERS

Yesterday was all about Mats Sundin, however for the rest of the team as exciting as it was to meet the dominant Swede it was still business as usual. The Canucks wasted no time getting into game. Fifteen seconds after the puck dropped d-man Kevin Bieksa took on Flyers captain Mike Richards following a big hit on Simon Gagne.

Sanford, not looking himself due to his groin tweak, let in two goals in the first period, before being replaced by Schneider.

"It's the type of injury you need some time, especially for goaltenders," said Vigneault. "We didn't know the severity of it [Tuesday] morning. He thought after it being really warmed up he'd be ready to go. But you could tell on their first two goals he wasn't moving properly in goal. He wanted to try and I have to trust his instincts there."

Schneider proceeded to keep the Canucks in the game, turning away 19 of 20 shots. Daniel Sedin tallied his 18th goal of the season and Ryan Kesler added one to bring Vancouver within a goal.

The Canucks, who have not defeated the Flyers at GM Place since January 17, 1989, were unable to break the curse despite putting in a strong effort.

"We're getting the chances, we're generating a lot," said Bieksa. "The power play I thought was good tonight. We were getting a lot of shots on net. It's just a matter of putting them in.

"They're a fast skating team and we can play that game as well. At the same time, we gave up too many chances five on five and that's not our game."

"That (Jeff) Carter line is one of the best I've seen this year," said Vigneault. "I think they had 15 shots between them in the first two periods. I've never seen a line where we're in the offensive zone attacking and we've got the puck; they have a player at the red line. They did that a couple times and they got a couple breaks out of it."

The Canucks look to bounce back from the loss with back to back games in Nashville and Atlanta. The team flies out of Vancouver today for Thursday's game against the Predators, before heading to Atlanta for a game on Friday.

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