Canucks battle the Flyers

FLYERSThe Vancouver Canucks (5-2-4) open up a two game homestand tonight when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (4-4-2) at Rogers Arena.

After Ryan Miller got the night off in Arizona on Friday night the Canucks will go back to the goaltender who has shut the door against the Flyers in his last two meetings against them. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis will be back in the line-up after missing the last three games with a lower body injury.

Over the weekend the Canucks held their team meeting and announced that Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen are both staying with the big club. They made it official by posting on Twitter, reassuring to fans that they’re serious about the youth movement.

Alex Burrows will play in his 700th NHL game tonight while 19-year-old Jared McCann will play in his 10th game. The power play is improving as they have tallied a goal in five straight games with the man-advantage. The Flyers are winless in their last three contests and have just scored 20 goals in their first 10 games.

Puck drop is set for 7pm PST.

Fun Fact

Tonight the Canucks will honour the Vancouver Grizzlies who played their first game on November 3, 1995.

The Canucks roster in the 95-96 season included Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning, and Alexander Mogilny. Feel old yet? Well tickets were also $55 for upper bowl seats.

…The good old days.

Enemy Territory

Tuukka Rask, Shawn MatthiasThe Canucks are back in enemy territory as they get set to take on the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. These two clubs clashed a couple weeks ago in Vancouver with the Canucks running away with a 5-2 victory and tonight they will look to sweep the season series.

Ryan Miller is sidelined for 4-6 weeks at minimum which means Eddie Lack is the starter from this day forward. The Canucks recalled Jacob Markstrom from Utica (AHL) to serve as backup.

Nick Bonino was on the ice for practice this morning and skated on the second line alongside Radim Vrbata and Shawn Matthias. He will be a game time decision. Bonino has been out since February 9 when he was hit by a Ryan Suter slap shot. The injury woes continue as Alex Burrows has missed the last two games with a lower body injury. There are eight starters out of the lineup due to injury.

The Sedins are having a bounce back year and are proving they can still produce. They have already surpassed their point total last year and there are still 23 games remaining on the season.

The number one line will stay intact with Zack Kassian playing alongside the twins. The Kassian experiment has worked thus far with three goals over his last two games and six in his past eight.

Boston has a three-point lead over Florida for the final playoff spot in the East, while Vancouver is three points ahead of Los Angeles, Calgary and San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division.

Puck drop is set for 4pm.




The Trio Reunite

BurrowsSedinsCanvas_0Tonight at Rogers Arena the Vancouver Canucks will rekindle a flame that had experienced so much success over the years. That flame was sparked by the Sedins and Alex Burrows, a trio that Canuck nation has become accustomed to from previous years. Tonight the Canucks will reunite the three in hopes of spreading the offence to the struggling second line.

John Tavares and the New York Islanders are in town to take on the Canucks in a rare match between the two clubs.  Eddie Lack celebrated his 27th birthday and will get the start between the pipes for the Canucks. His last win was a 3-0 shutout against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.  Jaroslav Halak will get the start for the Isles.

Radim Vrbata who has had the hot hand of late is moving to the second line to play alongside Nick Bonino and Chris Higgins. Vrbata has found the back of the net in three straight games and leads the squad with 16 goals.  The hope behind the switch is to trigger some offence for Bonino and Higgins and having Vrbata join the two should allow for more scoring opportunities. Bonino has one goal in his last 22 games after starting the season with seven in his first 14 as a Canuck.

When it comes to the Standings the Islanders are amongst the elite.  The Isles are third in the Eastern Conference with 53 points and are 7-2-1 in their last 10. In what may come as a surprise, the Isles share the NHL lead for wins with Chicago, Montreal and Anaheim at 26. When it comes to close games, the Isles are 17-2-1 in one-goal games, 4-0 in overtime and 6-1 in shootouts.  The Canucks on the other hand are in a four-way tie for fifth place. Sitting at 47 points the Canucks are two points behind the Blues for fourth but only two points ahead of the Flames at ninth.

The Canucks are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings and are 3-2 in their last five.  Expect the bottom six to stay the same with Zack Kassian on the third line with Brad Richardson and Shawn Matthias. Jannik Hansen will drop to the fourth line alongside Bo Horvat and Derek Dorsett.

Puck drop is set for 7pm.

Tune into Spice Sports for all the pre-game action.


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