Top-four Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa
was back on the ice for an optional morning skate, but will miss his fourth straight game Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks
as he continues to take an extended "maintenance day."
"I'm just going to take it one maintenance day at a time,” Bieksa said, using the words "maintenance" or "maintain" more than a dozen times during a brief but entertaining back and forth with the media. "There's no problem."
The status of Daniel Sedin
, who will miss a seventh-straight game because of a concussion, isn't a laughing matter. Vancouver's top goal scorer still isn't skating, but reports Sedin has been at the rink working out off ice for three-straight days are at least positive, and indicate he could be back for the start of playoffs.
In the meantime, the healthy Canucks are taking motivation in a chance to stay atop the Western Conference and possibly claim a second-straight President’s Trophy as the NHL's top regular-season team. Thanks to a six-game win streak without Sedin, Vancouver is one point ahead of St. Louis in the West, and tied with the New York Rangers
overall, with three games left for each team.
The Canucks play all three against non-playoff teams, and will use the chance to lock up home ice advantage in the playoffs as a way to get fired up
"We want to finish as high up in the conference as we can and obviously it's second or first and we want first," associate coach Rick Bowness said after Tuesday's morning skate. "Do we have a shot at the Presidents' Trophy again? Absolutely. Are we focused on making sure we take care of the day-to-day process and the in-game process to give ourselves a chance to do that? Absolutely. We want home-ice advantage. We saw the benefit of it last year, and even though it didn't help us in Game 7 against the Bruins, it was certainly nice going into every round knowing we had home ice. So we'd like that again."
For an Anaheim team in 13th place, the chance to spoil that is a goal.
"It is kind of what we've been talking about," Ducks top-line winger Corey Perry
said. "They have something to play for and we just want to go out and play our game and if it happens to be as a spoiler, we're happy to do that."
Here are the expected lines as the 49-21-9 Canucks try to reach the 50-win mark for a second-straight season by extending their longest win streak of this season against a 33-35-11 Ducks team playing out the string -- possibly for the last time for veteran Finnish forwards Teemu Selanne
and Saku Koivu
- Henrik Sedin
- Maxim Lapierre
- Ryan Kesler
- David Booth
- Samuel Pahlsson
- Jannik Hansen
- Manny Malhotra
- Zack Kassian
- Christopher Tanev
- Alexander Edler
- Sami Salo
Luongo will get a second-straight start in the late-season goaltending rotation, with Schneider expected to play in Calgary on Thursday.
While the Canucks only have six healthy defensemen right now, Bieksa said he could play now if the playoffs started early, and Aaron Rome
(knee) and Keith Ballard
(concussion) are also skating, though Ballard is still wearing a white helmet to indicate he hasn't been cleared for contact.
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Corey Perry
- Saku Koivu
- Teemu Selanne
- Nick Bonino
- Devante Smith-Pelly
- Andrew Cogliano
- George Parros
- Cam Fowler
- Lubomir Visnovsky
- Sheldon Brookbank
Veteran defenseman Toni Lydman
is out with an upper-body injury, so Clark draws back into the lineup on the back end.