Vancouver defensemen Keith Ballard and rookie Chris Tanev are going to get their chance Sunday afternoon to prove to coach Alain Vigneault he need not worry if the injuries to Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome are indeed of the serious variety.
Ballard and Tanev will make up the Canucks' third defensive pair in Game 4 against San Jose at HP Pavilion. Ehrhoff and Rome were both injured in Game 3 and their statuses have not been updated by the team, but it's believed Rome is more banged up than Ehrhoff, who is likely out with a shoulder injury.
Ballard, who is making $4.2 million this season, has been a healthy scratch for seven straight games while Tanev will be making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. Ballard has suited up in seven playoff games this spring and has no points and four penalty minutes. Tanev, who played 29 games in the regular season, was recently called up after the Manitoba Moose were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Vigneault said Saturday that he has complete faith in Ballard despite knocking him down the depth chart as the season progressed. Ballard said he would understand if Vigneault doesn't have confidence in him because he's been inconsistent in his first year with the Canucks.
Ballard said he wasn't looking at Sunday's game as his opportunity to erase the bitter taste of a rough first season in Vancouver, but if he plays well a lot of what has happened to him would be forgotten for the time being. He just wants to play well to help the team win.
Since Tanev is a righty, Ballard can play on the left side, where he is more comfortable. Vigneault chose to play Tanev over Alberts likely because he is a righty. Alberts is a lefty and if he were in, Ballard would have to move to the right side.
Vancouver also has a change in its forward lines with Cody Hodgson drawing back in for Victor Oreskovich. Hodgson was scratched for Game 3 in favor of Alex Bolduc, but now he will be back on the fourth line with Bolduc and Tanner Glass.
The Sharks will be using the same lineup that was good enough to win Game 3, meaning Ben Eager, Scott Nichol and Ben Ferriero remain as scratches while Jamie McGinn, Andrew Desjardins and Jamal Mayers retain their spots on the fourth line. Jason Demers will miss his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury.
Here are the rest of the lines, defensive pairings and goaltenders for Game 4:
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Mason Raymond
Raffi Torres - Maxim Lapierre - Jannik Hansen
Tanner Glass - Cody Hodgson - Alex Bolduc
Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Sami Salo - Alex Edler
Keith Ballard - Chris Tanev
Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Dany Heatley
Torrey Mitchell - Joe Pavelski - Kyle Wellwood
Jamie McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Jamal Mayers
Dan Boyle - Douglas Murray
Niclas Wallin - Ian White
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Kent Huskins
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl