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Sundin makes home debut in Vancouver

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The Sports Network/TSN.ca
1/9/2009 11:52:10 AM
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(Sports Network) - Mats Sundin will make his first appearance at GM Place tonight when his Vancouver Canucks host the slumping St. Louis Blues.

Sundin made his long-awaited debut on Wednesday in Edmonton but failed to record a shot in 15 minutes of ice time. The veteran pivot, who had contemplated retirement during the offseason, signed with the Canucks on December 18. The former Maple Leafs captain spent the past 13 seasons with Toronto and left as the franchise's career scoring leader. Sundin was originally taken first overall by Quebec in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.

The Canucks have posted points in four straight games. The club is 2-0-2 since acquiring netminder Jason LaBarbera from the Los Angeles Kings with both goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Curtis Sanford out due to groin injuries. LaBarbera made 23 saves in a 4-2 win over the Oilers on Wednesday.

Steve Bernier registered two goals in 12 seconds and added an assist while Alex Burrows posted a goal and two helpers for the Canucks. Pavol Demitra added an empty-net goal in the win.

The Canucks enter this game five points back of first-place Calgary in the Northwest Division and begin a five-game homestand tonight. Vancouver has lost three of its last four at GM Place and is 11-6-2 as the home team this season.

St. Louis enters this test with a 5-12-1 mark as the visiting team this year and has not won on the road since November 30 in Atlanta. The Blues are last in the Western Conference with 33 points and had lost three straight overall prior to Saturday's 5-2 win over Columbus.

All five of the Blues' goals came on special teams. Brad Winchester, Keith Tkachuk, Alex Steen and T.J. Oshie notched power-play goals, while Brandon Crombeen lit the lamp short-handed.

Steen ended with two assists and Crombeen also had a helper. Manny Legace made 20 saves in the victory.

The Blues begin a tour of western Canada tonight, as they will also visit Edmonton and Calgary.

St. Louis will enter this game well-rested, having not played since last Saturday. The Blues have a host of players on injured reserve, including Paul Kariya, who underwent hip surgery on Tuesday and remains out indefinitely.

Andy McDonald (ankle), Jay McKee (finger), Eric Brewer (back), D.J. King (shoulder) and Erik Johnson (knee) are also all on IR.

This is the first of four meetings between the Canucks and Blues this season. Vancouver has won three of the four matchups in each of the last two campaigns and four straight versus St. Louis as the host.

Mats Sundin (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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