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At the Rink blog

Projected Ducks-Canucks lineups

Sunday, 01.15.2012 / 3:21 PM

By Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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Projected Ducks-Canucks lineups
The Canucks' lines get juggled with the return of David Booth after missing six weeks with knee sprain, and the re-unification of the American Express line with fellow US-born forward Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins, who moves back up from the third line.

Cody Hodgson moves back to center the third line, Maxim Lapierre slides down a spot to the fourth, and Mike Duco drops all the way back the American Hockey League, sent down to the Chicago Wolves Sunday morning after playing the last three games.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Daniel SedinHenrik SedinAlexandre Burrows
Chris HigginsRyan KeslerDavid Booth
Mason RaymondCody HodgsonJannik Hansen
Manny MalhotraMaxim LapierreDale Weise

On the back end Keith Ballard returns after being a healthy scratch for the first time this season in St. Louis on Thursday, replacing Andrew Alberts on the third pairing while Alexander Sulzer plays a fourth straight after being scratched for 34 of the first 42.

Head coach Alain Vigneault said the decision to sit Ballard, who is making $4.2 million a season, was more about the physical Blues than the smallish defenseman's play of late.

"He's probably playing his best hockey since he's been with us," he said of Ballard, noting he's competing with Alberts and Sulzer for third-pairing time. "That being said, sometimes like in St. Louis it depends on the opposition, it depends what you are looking for as far as match ups. Tonight we feel Keith coming in will give us a right elements."

Dan HamhuisKevin Bieksa
Alexander EdlerAaron Rome
Keith Ballard - Alexander Sulzer

Roberto Luongo is back in goal after splitting a four-game road trip with backup Cory Schneider


ANAHEIM DUCKS

Anaheim's top-two lines remain intact after dominating a 5-0 win in Edmonton Friday, but based on Sunday's morning skate there appears to be changes on the bottom two:

Rod Pelley is back in centering the fourth line after sitting out Friday for the first time since being acquired from New Jersey in mid-December. Tough guy George Parros will likely play alongside him in place of Kyle Palmieri, who was out skating hard long after most of his teammates had come off the ice, showered and talked to the media.

Nick Bonino moves back up to the third line between Andrew Cogliano and Jason Blake, whose return was added speed and depth and was followed by the Ducks' 4-0-1 run.

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - Rod PelleyGeorge Parros

The back end remains intact after not giving up a goal in regulation during back-to-back games in Calgary and Edmonton (they lost 1-0 in overtime to the Flames):

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller starts for the third time in four nights after getting a couple days to rest and missing one game with a minor lower body injury. Jeff Deslauriers will back up.
Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp