WILD IN TOWN
The Canucks (32-22-8) face off against division rivals, the Minnesota Wild (30-26-5) tonight at GM Place.
The team held an optional skate this morning, in preparation for tonight’s matchup. Twelve players, including Pavol Demitra, who has sat out the last two practices in order to rest his injured finger, took to the ice.
Despite fracturing his finger in Montreal on February 24th, Demitra has not missed a game and looks forward to facing off against his former club.
“It’s obviously sore,” said Demitra. “The first game we tried to freeze it and I could only feel two fingers. Last game we just went with the pills, it hurt a little bit, but it was much better [because] I’ve got feeling in my hand. It still a little sore, I saw the doctor yesterday. The bone has moved a little from when they [reset it], but it’s fine.
“When I take a shot it hurts, but in a game I don’t really think about it. When you’re going for a shot after you let it go you feel it, but it’s fine. I just have to be careful, especially in practice, I don’t want to take too many shots. And make sure the bone doesn’t move so I’d need surgery.”
There are no changes expected for tonight's lineup
. Defencemen Rob Davison and Ossi Vaananen will be healthy scratches.
The Vancouver squad, winners of five straight at home and 10 of their last 12 games, are currently sitting at fifth in the tight Western Conference and look to continue distancing themselves from Conference rivals. The Wild have slipped into tenth place, seven points behind the Canucks.
“[A win tonight would] definitely put a big gap between us,” said Kevin Bieksa
. “[Distancing ourselves in the standings] is something we’ve been trying to do for the last couple weeks. The big win against Columbus put [the Blue Jackets] four back with a game in hand. So we’re definitely looking to do the same thing here tonight."
The two teams have faced off four times already this season, with the Canucks holding a 3-0-1 record. Their last meeting was a 4-3 overtime loss for Vancouver, on January 31st when the Canucks were coming out of their January slump.
Tonight’s battle promises to be an intense one. The puck drops at 7:00pm PST and the game can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific.TRADE DEADLINE CENTRAL
For hockey fans, March 4th is first holiday of the year - that's right, trade deadline day. All the gossip about the players making moves will finally be put to rest when GMs around the league make the deals (or not).
Canucks.com will follow the action live all day long Wednesday, March 4th, at Canucks Deadline Central
. The Canucks.com crew will be filling you in on all the moves while our expert panel will weigh in with analysis and opinion beginning at 7:00am PST.
Rumours and speculation continue to swirl today as the trade deadline fast approaches. Head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters after the team's game day skate that he thinks they have a solid group, but like every other team, depth is always beneficial heading into playoffs.
“I’m very happy with the group that we have right now, I think we’re in good shape,” said Vigneault. “Obviously I think any team would like to have depth, I think we have good depth. Our team in Manitoba is in first place, the times that we have called up players, the guys have been able to come in and contribute.
“But obviously depth, going down in the stretch run, the games are very intense and very physical in the playoffs, something that I think all teams would like to have more of than less.”
The Calgary Flames claimed defenceman Lawrence Nycholat off waivers this morning.
“Lawrence is a great kid,” said Vigneault. “He didn’t play a lot with us, but he never said a word and worked real hard. He had some injury problems throughout his stay here. He was never completely healthy, I think he is completely healthy now. But what [Calgary] has is a defenceman that can move the puck fairly well and that competes hard. Size is obviously an issue with him, but he makes up for it with good competitiveness.”LAST SEAT IN THE HOUSE:
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