Daniel Sedin skated on his own an hour before the rest of the Canucks, but there was no update on his condition or possible return from a concussion for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series against Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
It seems unlikely that the Canucks get their leading goal scorer back, but they will have one player return from a concussion as they try an even the best-of-seven first round series against the Kings.
Keith Ballard, out since Feb. 7, will make his playoff debut in the hopes his ability to skate the puck out of trouble helps negate a Kings’ forecheck that had Vancouver pinned in its own end for prolonged periods. Aaron Rome appears to be the odd-man out on the back end based on the morning skate, with the Canucks expected to go back to the top-four pairings from last playoffs.
The Canucks will also use versatile forward Andrew Ebbett in place of Byron Bitz, who was suspended two games for the hit that knocked Los Angeles forward Kyle Clifford face first into the boards and out for at least Game 2, if not longer.
Ebbett, who will play on the fourth line at even strength, has also worked on the second unit power play and could help after the Canucks went 0-for-5 with the man advantage in s 4-2 loss Wednesday to the Kings.
Coach Alain Vigneault didn’t confirm it after the morning skate, but there’s also a good chance he switches up his top-six forward mix, dropping the ineffective Mason Raymond out of Daniel Sedin’s spot alongside Henrik Sedin and Alexandre Burrows. Maxim Lapierre, who is normally an agitating fourth-line center, had three goals and five points in four games on the top line, but started the playoffs on a struggling second unit with Ryan Kesler and David Booth.
Here is the projected lineup for the Canucks in Game 2:
Maxim Lapierre – Henrik Sedin – Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond – Ryan Kesler – David Booth
Chris Higgins – Samuel Pahlsson – Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra – Andrew Ebbett – Zack Kassian
Dan Hamhuis – Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler – Sami Salo
Keith Ballard – Chris Tanev
Roberto Luongo is back in goal, with Cory Schneider backing up.