A familiar face to Vancouver hockey fans will play at GM Place tonight for the first time in his NHL career as ex-Vancouver Giant Evander Kane arrives with the Atlanta Thrashers to take on the Canucks.
After being drafted fourth overall by Atlanta this past June, Kane made the team following training camp and has scored eight goals and 13 points so far this season, a year after he recorded 96 points with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. His contributions have helped Atlanta find early success, as they sit sixth in the East with a 15-9-3 record before last night's game against Calgary.
The Canucks will look to snap a two-game losing skid in which they've allowed a hat trick from an opposing player each time. The good news though is that they're entering a long home stretch. They've put together an impressive 10-4-0 record at the Garage.
Injured forward Michael Grabner is reportedly back on the ice as doctors have cleared him to do some "light skating on his own."
Vancouver fans will get their only look at Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk -- who has 16 goals and 27 points this season before last night's action -- prior to the Olympics as the dynamic forward will be a huge contributor to a very explosive Russian offensive unit come February. Other possible Olympic candidates on Atlanta: Maxim Afino-genov, Vyacheslav Kozlov (Russia), Tobias Enstrom (Sweden), Pavel Kubina, Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Republic), Christoph Schubert (Germany).
Vancouver only faced the Thrashers once last season, losing 4-3 in a shootout. Atlanta has not won at the Garage since February of 2004.