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Malhotra in, Hamhuis out for Canucks in Game 2

Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 7:58 PM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

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Malhotra in, Hamhuis out for Canucks in Game 2
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver center Manny Malhotra, listed as a game-time decision Saturday morning, is in the lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena.

Malhotra will return to the Vancouver Canucks' lineup for the first time since suffering a serious eye injury on March 16 against the Colorado Avalanche. At the time, the injury was considered career-threatening, but Malhotra has been through two operations and said Saturday that he can see "well enough" to play.

As expected, Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is not in the lineup for Game 2. Andrew Alberts is replacing the injured Hamhuis, who hurt himself after hip checking Milan Lucic early in the second period Wednesday night. Hamhuis didn't return to the game and has not skated since.

Using the pre-game warm-ups as an indication, Malhotra will start as the center on the fourth line between Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault also said Saturday morning that if the veteran pivot was going to play he'd be used on key faceoffs and for defensive-zone coverage, so he'll likely see more ice than his linemates. He won 61.7 percent of his faceoffs during the regular season.

Malhotra, who will wear a full shield to protect his left eye, has been practicing with the Canucks for several weeks. Vigneault said he was cleared to play prior to the series, but he did not practice with the team on Tuesday and was not in the lineup for Game 1 Wednesday after many people speculated he would be.

The Canucks were off Thursday, but Malhotra returned to the ice in the team's full practice on Friday at the University of British Columbia. He skated again Saturday morning in Vancouver's optional practice at Rogers Arena.

Alberts, who will be paired with Christian Ehrhoff, has been a healthy scratch for the last nine games. He hasn't played since Game 3 against Nashville.

Kevin Bieksa and Aaron Rome as well as Alex Edler and Sami Salo make up Vancouver's other defensive pairs.

Boston will have no changes from its Game 1 lineup.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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