SANFORD IN NET AGAINST DETROIT
Following this morning’s team skate head coach Alain Vigneault revealed that Curtis Sanford will start in net tonight when the Canucks (14-9-2) face off against the Detroit Red Wings (16-4-4).
Sanford has played in six games this season, including an outstanding performance on November 24th when the Canucks defeated Detroit 3-2 in overtime. He left Monday's game in Columbus after a solid first period due to back spasms. After practicing Wednesday and again today Sanford is confident that he is ready to play.
Rookie goaltender Cory Schneider
, who stepped in against the Blue Jackets, will be Sanford's back-up. Canuck captain Roberto Luongo
is traveling with the team as he continues rehab for his injured groin sustained in November 22nd in Pittsburgh.
After losing three in a row, the Canucks have had two days off to reflect and recharge. Heading into the Joe Louis arena for the third time this season the Canucks look to improve their record against the Red Wings having beaten them twice in overtime on the road and lost once at home.
Darcy Hordichuk fractured his foot during last Saturday’s game against Calgary, when he blocked a Dion Phaneuf slap shot and is still in considerable pain. Although he participated in Wednesday’s full practice and skated again today, he will likely sit out of tonight's game. Vigneault will make the final decision.
"As long as I can walk in my normal shoe, I'll be able to play," said Hordichuk. "It's definitely going to be painful, but it's not a matter of the pain, it's a matter of it giving out."GAME PLAN
The Detroit game is the midway mark of their seven-game road trip and the Canucks are looking to win a big game, especially since they are facing the Minnesota Wild tomorrow.
The team will ice a lineup without many changes, Vigneault is expected to use the following offensive lines:
D.Sedin - H.Sedin - Demitra
Pyatt - Wellwood - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Jaffray - Raymond - Brown
The defensive pairings are expected to remain the same:
Ohlund - Salo
Mitchell - Bieksa
O'Brien - Edler
The Canucks will need to play disciplined hockey and avoid taking unnecessary penalties. Detroit is punishing on the power play, leading the League with an impressive 31 percent average. The Canucks sit in the middle of the pack at 17.2 percent. Their penalty kill is 19th at 80.6 percent.
Despite losing 3-2 to Columbus, the Canucks were able to solve their power play troubles, scoring both goals on the man-advantage. Continuing to capitalize on their opponent's penalties will be key in playing one of the NHL's toughest teams.
Today's match up starts at 4:30 pm PST and should be an exciting, energetic game. 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.