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Hamhuis' night ends after big hit on Lucic

Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 12:39 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

VANCOUVER -- Dan Hamhuis delivered the most memorable hit during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. Unfortunately for him, it also marked the end of his night.

The Canucks' defenseman unleashed a perfect hip check on the Bruins' Milan Lucic as the hulking forward glided down the right wing past his own bench. Hamhuis sent Lucic skates over helmet, setting off a scrum that resulted in Boston's David Krejci delivering a cross check to Hamhuis that gave the Canucks a power play.

However, the 6-foot-1, 209-pound Hamhuis didn't get up from the ice after the hit. He eventually got to his skates, went to the locker room with 16 minutes left in the second period and did not return.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Hamhuis is day-to-day. Depending on the severity of the injury, it's possible the two days of rest before Saturday's Game 2 could improve Hamhuis' chances of returning to the lineup.

Despite playing the final 36 minutes with five defensemen, the Canucks kept the Bruins off the scoreboard in a 1-0 victory.

"Going down to five 'D' midway through the second, with the intensity that was out there, was obviously taxing on our group," Vigneault said. "But I thought our forwards did a good job of helping our defense out. I thought the five guys that handled the workload did a real good job of sharing the time."

Injuries to the blue line are nothing new to the Canucks, who played long stretches of the regular season without Sami Salo, Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Keith Ballard and even Hamhuis. What was a detriment to the team then turned out to be a positive Wednesday because just about every member of the Canucks' blue-line corps has played together at some point.

"You can put anybody with anybody and it's not a big adjustment," Bieksa said. "You can flip-flop guys and put them on the left or the right. That's the strength of our team. We've got guys that can fill in until they get back."

Aaron Rome picked up a lot of the slack, playing 19:29. The only playoff game in which he logged more ice time was in Game 2 against the Nashville Predators during the conference semifinals. He played 21:41 in that game, which went two overtimes.

If Hamhuis can't play in Game 2 against the Bruins, it's likely that either Ballard or rookie Chris Tanev will dress.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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