Pregame Roundup: Leafs-Canucks

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    Tonight the ACC is host to a special pregame event: Canadian Forces Appreciation Night, to honour of the thousands of men and women who serve in the Canadian military. The event is said to feature members of the military rappelling from the rafters, a visit from the Chief of the Defense Staff, and a guest appearance by singer Alan Frew (formerly of Glass Tiger).

    Oh, and there’s a hockey game, too.

    Game Notes

    • The Maple Leafs return home having lost 5 games in a row, including 2 in overtime. They were outscored 19-12 during that stretch.
    • The Canucks, in the meantime, have been red hot, winning their past 6 and outscoring opponents 24-12.
    • In the teams’ only other meeting this season, Roberto Luongo turned aside 35 shots en route to a 3-1 victory in Vancouver.
    • Despite the constant trade scrutiny (or perhaps in part because of it) Alexei Ponikarovsky has continued to shine, with 4 goals and 2 assists over the past 5 games.
    • The Canucks boast the NHL’s scoring leader in Henrik Sedin (76 points in 53 games), who earlier this season proved that he did not need his brother Daniel to produce elite numbers.
    • Interestingly, 20 of Sedin’s 24 goals have come at even strength.

    Lineup Notes

    • Mike Komisarek is practicing with the team, but remains out of game action.  Jeff Finger, Jay Rosehill and John Mitchell will reportedly sit this one out also.
    • Our own Nikhil Daljeet gets his wish as Rickard Wallin is inserted back into the lineup in place of Mitchell.
      Update: Sorry, Nik. Looks like Wallin is going to miss another one. Rosehill in.
    • Not surprisingly, Vesa Toskala is expected to get the start.  This has little to do with how things played out last night; rather, the coaching staff does not want to use Jonas Gustavsson in back-to-back games if it is not necessary to do so.
    • Ex-Leafs making a return visit to the ACC include former goaltender and fan-not-so-favorite Andrew Raycroft, and former Leafs’ workout warrior Kyle Wellwood.

    Stats Pack

    • Goals For: Van 171 (4th), Tor 145 (16th)
    • Goals Against: Van 127 (t-5th), Tor 190 (30th)
    • Powerplay: Van 22% (4th), Tor 16.3% (t-24th)
    • Penalty Kill: Van 81.6% (16th), Tor 69.2% (30th)
    • Scoring First: Van 21-6-0, Tor 11-3-4
    • Leading After 1: Van 18-3-0, Tor 7-3-1
    • Trailing After 1: Van 5-8-0, Tor 5-15-3
    • Leading After 2: Van 23-1-0, Tor 13-0-2
    • Trailing After 2: Van 4-12-1, Tor 0-25-6

    Pregame Notes

    Courtesy mapleleafs.nhl.com:

    “MLSE has invited more than 360 Canadian Forces personnel from CFB Borden, 8 Wing Trenton, HMCS York and Land Force Central Area, many of whom have served in Afghanistan, to watch the game from one of Air Canada Centre’s gondolas. In addition, Maple Leafs season seat holders have generously donated hundreds of tickets for Canadian troops.

    Prior to the start of the game, five Canadian Forces personnel will rappel from Air Canada Centre’s rafters to centre ice. Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walter J. Natynczyk will participate in the ceremonial puck drop along with three distinguished members of the Canadian Forces.

    As part of an effort to support Canada’s Troops, MLSE will make available the Leafs Song “Free to Be” sung by five-time Juno award winner Alan Frew, as an iTunes download on www.mlse.com and www.mapleleafs.com. The cost of a download is $1.29. Net proceeds of all sales of Free to Be between 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 to Tuesday, February 2 at 7 p.m. will benefit the Military Families Fund.

    The Military Families Fund was created in April 2007 by General Rick Hillier, the former Chief of Defence Staff, to assist military families faced with unforeseen and often immediate needs that have resulted due to conditions of service.”

    Looking forward to your thoughts as always,

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