VANCOUVER B.C. --
The Vancouver Canucks
announced Friday afternoon that veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson
will not start the Western Conference Finals due to a lower-body injury.
The injury is believed to involve the 34-year-old Swede's left leg, and was re-aggravated when he collided with Nick Spalling of the Nashville Predators
in the first period of Game 5.
"I would say he's (likely) not going to start the series," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault
Samuelsson did not start the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks
either -- at the time, the team said he was battling with a bout of the flu.
Samuelsson missed six games in March with a similar lower-body injury after being injured in a March 18 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes
. Samuelsson has not skated with the team since they returned to the ice on Thursday.
He was seen leaving Rogers Arena on Wednesday afternoon with a noticeable limp in his left leg.
The news is better for forwards Chris Higgins
and Henrik Sedin
-- neither has skated since the Canucks closed out the Predators, but both are expected to skate Saturday.
Higgins blocked a Kevin Klein
point shot in Game 5 against the Predators and has been nursing a left foot injury.
"It's good that we had a couple days off to rest up," he said. "A couple guys haven't been skating, but everyone should play. I'll be fine. I played with it already for one game."
Despite telling the media he's fine and just using the days between series as rest, it's believed Sedin is also nursing some sort of ailment.
Both Higgins and Sedin are expected to be in the Canucks lineup for Game 1 on Sunday.