Canucks Report - Game day vs. Avs
After missing three games with a broken toe he suffered against Toronto a little over a week ago, Kyle Wellwood feels he's good to go tonight against the Western Conference leading, Colorado Avalanche.
"It's good, I've been skating on my own here while the team was away," he said. "I've felt good and I should be able to play 100% fine."
"There's some discomfort walking but on the ice I should be 100%. I just look forward to playing again."
Alain Vigneault will go back to 12 forwards tonight, adding Darcy Hordichuk back into the mix after rolling with seven and eight defencemen in the last two outings in California.
Hordichuk joins Rick Rypien and Manitoba Moose call-up, Mario Bliznak on the fourth line.
With a fully healthy blueline, Vigneault will sit Mathieu Schneider and Shane O'Brien in tonight's divisional tilt.
Schneider missed the first ten games of the season, recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and has one goal in four games this season. O'Brien is a plus-1 rating and has 14 penalty minutes in 13 games.
Andrew Rayroft gets the start between the pipes tonight in his third start as a Canuck. In six games played, Raycroft has a 2.29 GAA and .914 save percentage.
Good news in the infirmary as Daniel Sedin had his cast removed Friday. He's still restricted to a walking cast for the next week but is on his way on the path to recovery.
Ryan Johnson, who had a scary collision into the boards against Detroit last week is still questionable for his return with "overall body soreness" according to Vigneault. He has not started skating yet.
HOTTEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE
The Vancouver Canucks welcome the best team in the West as the Colorado Avalanche visit GM Place tonight.
The Avs are 8-1-1 in their last ten games and are 10-2-2 on the season so far.
After finishing in the Conference basement last season, the Avs have turned their team around, thanks in large part to goalie, Craig Anderson.
"They're playing a lot of young players that are improving everyday and their key player and their best player - I might go as far as to say in the League - is their goaltender," said Vigneault. "He's been amazing in every game that he's played, given that team a chance in every game and he's probably the reason why their team has such a good record."
Anderson leads the league with a .939 save percentage and tied an NHL record 10 wins in the month of October.
Despite a 3-1 loss to the Sharks in their last outing, Colorado is boasting a 2.07 goals against - good for second in the League and if the Canucks are going to get to two points tonight, they're going to need to execute their game plan.
"You've got to create traffic on a goalie like that," said Mikael Samuelsson. "You play good goalies every night but obviously he's on top of his game. We have to create traffic because if he sees it, he stops it."
"It's always the same story when a goalie is hot," said Alex Burrows. "I think everything he sees, he's going to stop so we have to make sure we get to the net and try to screen him, get in front of him and get those rebounds. We have to get those greasy goals because if he sees it, he's going to stop it."
"You definitely have to get out in the first period and not let him get in the groove," said Wellwood. "When you get your chances on the powerplay and around the net to score, you have to make sure you finish."