VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There’s plenty in store this weekend for the local sports fan.
The Vancouver Canucks welcome the LA Kings to Rogers Arena Saturday night (7 p.m.) The Stanley Cup champs are red hot, having won five straight games. The Kings won their only meeting with the Canucks 3-2 in a shootout back on January 28th.
The Canucks added some toughness today, claiming big forward Tom Sestito off of waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers. The 25-year-old Sestito, a 6-foot-five 228 pound winger who appeared in seven games with the Flyers this season tells News1130 Sports he’s happy to get a chance to play in Vancouver, and recalls fighting with Canucks forward Zack Kassian in junior hockey. Sestito will wear jersey number 29.
The Canucks also re-assigned forward Andrew Ebbett to the AHL Chicago Wolves.
Defenceman Kevin Bieksa was back on the ice this morning. It was a week ago he hurt his groin in the Canucks 1-0 win in Nashville. Bieksa was paired with Cam Barker on line rushes, but on the point on the first powerplay unit. As for his status for Saturday’s game, Bieksa says that he will see how he feels when he wakes up tomorrow.
The Canucks have two straight games and three in a row on home ice after losing 4-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night. The Kings come to town off of a come-from-behind win over Detroit on home ice Wednesday. Cory Schneider will start in goal tomorrow.
There’s American Hockey League action tonight in Abbotsford with the Heat playing host to the Houston Aeros (AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild) in the first of a two-game series.
The Heat are hoping that home ice will help snap a seven-game winless skid this weekend. Abbotsford is second in the AHL in home wins with 18. The Heat have played the Aeros just once this season, a 3-2 overtime win for the Aeros at Houston’sToyota Centre on November 25th
The Heat, in partnership with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation hold their Pink in the Rink promotion tonight for this game.
The Vancouver Giants will try and build off of Wednesday’s big win over the Blazers in Kamloops when they welcome Lethbridge to the Coliseum tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The Giants will celebrate Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday. Michael Buble has been added to the all-star cast who will appear at the Coliseum for the speical night. The Grammy Award winner will sing happy Birthday to Mr. Hockey in a pregame ceremony.
Hockey legends Marcel Dionne, Johnny Bower, Bobby Hull, Dennis Hull, and former Canucks Orland Kurtenbach and Charlie Hodge will be on hand.
The BC Hockey League has a pair of games on the Lower Mainland tonight. The Coquitlam Express is home to the Cowichan Valley Capitals at 7 p.m. while the Langley Rivermen play host to the Chilliwack Chiefs. Faceoff at the Langley Events Centre is 7:15 p.m.
Saturday is opening day for the Vancouver Whitecaps when the ‘Caps host Toronto FC in Major League Soccer action at BC Place. (3:30 p.m.) Expectations are high after Vancouver became the first Canadian side to qualify for the MLS playoffs last season.
Over the last five years, Vancouver has a record of 5W-4L-5D against their Canadian rivals from Toronto, who lost their captain and added a new coach this offseason. Captain Torsten Frings retired this week after 18 seasons. Former New Zealand international Ryan Nelsen was hired as the head coach in January.