Coach Alain Vigneault met with the media Thursday for the first time since the team's Game 5 double-overtime win over San Jose on Tuesday night and said he fully expects defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome back in the lineup for next Wednesday.
Both Canucks blueliners were sidelined in a Game 3 loss to the Sharks courtesy of hits from San Jose forward Jamie McGinn.
Ehrhoff appeared to injure his left shoulder after a collision with McGinn with 5:40 remaining in the first period last Friday night in San Jose. The German-born defenseman missed both Games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Rome was hit from behind by McGinn late in the Canucks' 4-3 loss in Game 3 and appeared to have suffered a concussion. Rome, like Ehrhoff, missed both Games 4 and 5.
As for forward Ryan Kesler
, who briefly left Tuesday's game after racing for a loose puck with Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, Vigneault saw essentially what everyone who was watching saw.
"I wasn't quite sure what had happened," Vigneault said. "I saw him skate and then all of a sudden stop skating and Bernie (trainer Mike Burnstein) came to me maybe a minute or two after and said, ‘Don't worry, he'll be right back.'
"I'm not quite sure what happened in there, but Bernie told me he'd come right back and he did, and he played real hard."
Kesler, who appeared to pull a hamstring or a groin on his left side, had a different take on the absence.
"I just had to go call my wife. I thought I left the iron on," said Kesler with a straight face. "There wasn't a time when I thought I wasn't going to come back on (the ice)."
Needless to say Kesler will be in the team's lineup when the Stanley Cup Final begins.
Vigneault continued to dispel rumors about a possible Manny Malhotra
return. The center has been out of the Canucks' lineup since the team's 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in mid-March when he was struck in his left eye by a deflected puck.
"Manny has obviously been skating on the ice, he's been practicing with his teammates to feel part of the group," Vigneault said. "But as far as I know, he still has more to do with that eye."
Forward Mikael Samuelsson, who was seen at Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on crutches after undergoing surgery to fix his adductor tendon and sports hernia, is also done for the remainder of the season.