The injury-riddled Vancouver Canucks (38-13-9) are set to welcome back a significant member of their team tonight when they play the second of a six-game home stand hosting a rare visit from the Montreal Canadiens (31-22-7).
When it comes to injury updates for the Canucks, good news has been as few and far between as visits by the Canadiens to Rogers Arena. But things look like they might be starting to turn around for the hard luck Canucks tonight as they are expected to welcome back blue-liner Dan Hamhuis to the lineup following a five-game absence with a concussion sustained back on February 9 after he was felled by a questionable hit from Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf.
The Canucks, to their credit, during this recent stretch without their number one shutdown defenceman still managed to post a respectable 3-2-0 record and even though Hamhuis was reportedly given the green light to return to the lineup for his team’s most recent outing three nights ago against the Dallas Stars, Vancouver certainly got along just fine without Hamhuis’ services on Saturday night in a 5-2 romp over the struggling Stars.
As impressive as it was to see the Canucks’ depleted defence corps hold the talent-laden, albeit also injury riddled, Stars to just two goals, the most heartening part of Saturday’s victory was watching Vancouver’s trademark offensive swagger shine through after being held to just a single goal in their previous outing in Nashville. The timing for Vancouver re-discovering their offensive touch couldn’t be better as they prepare to face a Habs squad that shut them out 2-0 back on November 9 at the Bell Center in their first head-to-head meeting this season and, despite some of their recent struggles, has been one of the stingiest teams in the NHL.
Vancouver’s offence could also potentially be bolstered by the return of Cody Hodgson after the center was re-called from Manitoba (AHL) on Monday. Hodgson will step back into the role of fourth line center – the same position he had during his previous stint with the Canucks earlier this season – while Hamhuis, Vancouver’s other returning player, will take the roster spot of Evan Oberg who was returned to the Moose yesterday. There is also a possibility that defenceman Keith Ballard could make his comeback tonight as well after missing the last six games with a knee injury.
Read the entire preview exclusively at Canucks.com.
Tonight’s game faces off at 7:00 pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. The game is also streamed on Canucks.com. Listen live on the TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.