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Daily Primer Jan. 4: Canucks' Luongo ready to go

Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 3:45 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Vancouver Canucks open a two-game tour of Southern California on Saturday night, and their No. 1 goaltender will be back in the lineup.

Roberto Luongo, who hasn't played since sustaining a lower-body injury Dec. 22, practiced Friday and declared himself ready to go when the Canucks face the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. The Canucks early Saturday confirmed he would start.

"Obviously I felt good out there, so don't know yet what's going on for [Saturday], but, yeah, good to go," he told the Canucks website Friday.

"I've been working out on the ice for the last week, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. You want to make sure that you start feeling the puck right away, and feel good."

Here's a closer look at all the action Saturday:

Winnipeg Jets at Boston Bruins -- It's the second of a three-game road trip for the Jets, who lost 4-3 to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. Bruins forward Brad Marchand has six goals in his past 10 games, including an overtime goal in a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. It was the first game of a stretch for the Bruins that includes eight of nine against Western Conference opponents.

San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche -- San Jose, which has lost six of its past eight away from SAP Center, begins a three-game road trip. The Sharks are hoping to bring some of the momentum they gained at home Thursday, when they cruised to a 5-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers, a game when journeyman forward Bracken Kearns extend his goal streak to three. Colorado also won Thursday, 2-1 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Pepsi Center. Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for the Avalanche.

New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres -- The Devils head up to First Niagara Center after a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Prudential Center on Friday. New Jersey and Chicago were tied 1-1 after two periods before the Devils allowed four goals in the third. The Sabres are aiming to avoid a three-game losing streak; Buffalo lost 4-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs -- New York's road trip continues following a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, the ninth time in 10 starts Henrik Lundqvist allowed three or more goals. The Maple Leafs return to action after a 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday at Michigan Stadium. Toronto has won three in a row.

Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens -- Despite the absence of captain Jason Spezza (back), the Senators will be seeking their fourth straight win Saturday. Spezza did practice Friday and has not been ruled out against Montreal. The Canadiens return home after going 3-2-1 on a six-game road trip. Montreal allowed another lead to slip away Thursday but escaped with a 6-4 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers -- Nashville heads south after picking up a point Thursday in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. Predators center Mike Fisher is on a roll with eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past three games. Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski is expected to make his season debut. The 17-year veteran hasn't played since March due to a hip injury.

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders -- Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has been sensational of late; the 21-year-old has nine points in his past five games and had a hat trick in a 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals on Thursday. New York has won three in a row, with road wins against the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins before defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime on Thursday. Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo, who was left off the U.S. Olympic team, scored in the extra period. He has an eight-game point streak.

Columbus Blue Jackets at St. Louis Blues -- Nathan Horton made his Blue Jackets debut Thursday and did not disappoint, scoring a goal in a 2-0 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. Curtis McElhinney was also impressive, stopping 34 shots for the shutout. St. Louis could have Jordan Leopold back in the lineup; the defenseman was activated off injured reserve Friday after missing 26 games with a ligament injury in his right hand.

Detroit Red Wings at Dallas Stars -- Detroit returns to action after hosting the 2014 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic on Wednesday, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Saturday is the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Red Wings, losers in three of their past four. A flu bug is going around the Stars dressing room and could leave them without some key players Saturday, including forwards Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Jamie Benn has seven goals and three assists in his past 10 games.

Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild -- It's the beginning of a tough stretch for the Capitals, who play 10 of their next 14 games away from Verizon Center. Add that to the fact Washington has won three of its past 10 and the trip becomes that much more challenging. Minnesota put a stop to a six-game losing streak Thursday when it earned a 4-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres. A win Saturday would give the Wild back-to-back victories for the first time in three weeks.

Philadelphia Flyers at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Coyotes will finally have their captain back in the lineup; Shane Doan is expected to play for the first time in a month after recovering from Rocky Mountain Fever. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Coyotes' top defenseman, is questionable after leaving a 2-0 loss Thursday to the Columbus Blue Jackets with an upper-body injury. Ekman-Larsson is considered day-to-day, according to coach Dave Tippett.

Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings -- Los Angeles will try to stop its five-game losing streak when it opens a five-game homestand. The woes continued for the Kings when they were shut out 5-0 by the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Thursday. The skid has resulted in a one-point lead over Vancouver for third place in the Pacific Division.

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory