BIEKSA BACK IN LINEUP
The Canucks will get a boost from the blueline tonight as d-man Kevin Bieksa
returns to play his first game after missing six due to a fractured foot sustained in early November.
“He’s a puck moving defenceman, he’s always seems to be up on the play, he’s really creative offensively and he’s good at making first passes out of our zone," said starting goaltender Curtis Sanford. "So, when you can add a guy like that to your lineup it’s nothing but helpful.”
Bieksa, who was also injured at the beginning of the season and missed three games, is eager to get back in the action as the team continues on a hot streak, going 8-0-2 in their last ten games. Between injuries Bieksa managed to register eleven points (3-8-11).
“These are two very important games to us," said Bieksa. "We had a couple games to start off the season that went well with Calgary there, and it’s no secret that they weren’t happy with the way they played and they’ll be looking to get some revenge tonight. It’s always a hard fought game against Calgary and they’re fun games to play in so I’m glad I’m back for these."
Alexandre Bolduc is also looking forward to tonight's match up against Calgary, his NHL debut. Bolduc is stepping into the lineup for Ryan Johnson, out 3-5 weeks with a broken foot and finger.
“Right now, it’s just more excitement, and probably more towards game time I’ll start to get a little more nervous," said Bolduc. "But right now I’m just trying to enjoy it and go step by step.
I’m not going to change [my play on the ice], I’ll keep doing what got me here and keep it simple. Hopefully have a good first shift and a good first period and go from there."
Steve Bernier, who is out with a bruised shoulder and foot, did not participate in the optional skate today, but head coach Alain Vigneault expects he will practice tomorrow and may be ready for Saturday's game in Calgary. Mike Brown will fill in for Bernier.RIVAL RE-MATCH
Last time the Flames and Canucks met the Vancouver squad defeated Calgary in two consecutive games to start the regular season.
The Canucks will face a tough battle tonight at GM Place as the Flames riding a winning streak, look to record their fourth straight win over a Northwest Division team. Sitting five points behind the Canucks, Calgary is coming off a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Vancouver has earned a least a point in each of their last ten games and look to extend their streak. This is the first time the Canucks have had a double-digit point streak since the 2002.03 season when they set their franchise record of 14 straight games with a point.
The team is ready for a gritty, hard-fought game at both ends of the rink.
“We have to take care of home ice and obviously having the first of back-to-back against Calgary at home is important so you know it’s going to be important for us to get off to a good start in the first period tonight," said Sanford, playing in his fourth consecutive game. "And hopefully let things take off from there.”
Canucks to watch include Alex Burrows, known for his aggressive style of hockey, is tied for the team points lead against the Flames with three points (2-1-3) so far this year. He scored twice in the season opener before setting up the overtime winner a day later to defeat the Flames in Calgary.Daniel Sedin
, who also has three points against the Flames, has scored a goal a game in the last four and has tallied nine points (5-4-9) in the last six. His hot streak is exceeded only by new linemate Pavol Demitra who has been unstoppable since returning from a rib injury, registering 10 points (5-5-10) in six games.
Following tonight’s game the Canucks depart on a seven-game road trip and hope to do so on a high note.
“We need to take care of business here tonight before we start thinking about the road, but we’ve got a seven-game road trip," said Vigneault. "We just played at the beginning of the season a six-game road trip, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”
Tonight’s re-match against division rivals starts at 7:00pm PST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. OTHER NEWS:
Check out Canucks Fantasy Hockey
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