FAMILIAR FACE RETURNS
It's the not the first time the Canucks have had to deal with injuries and adversity and they've been able to get through it in the past and tonight's going to be just another test for the team, who are missing one more defenceman.
Sami Salo will miss tonight's game after being injured in Thursday's game against the Dallas Stars.
As a result, Nolan Baumgartner was recalled yesterday from the Manitoba Moose. Baumgartner has played 87 games over three seasons previously with the Canucks and will dress in his first NHL game this year.
Baumgartner, 33, has played 30 games with Manitoba this season, recording seven points (1-6-7) and 20 penalty minutes. The 6’1”, 200 lbs. defenceman was named as captain to the 2010 Canadian AHL All-Star Team. Baumgartner recorded two points (1-1-2) and was a +3 in the All-Star Game.
As veteran player, he know what's expected of him with three key blueliners sidelined.
"I think just to come and obviously, fill in for the guys that are down and try to play a simple game," said Baumgartner. "I know you guys here that all the time but it's the truth of it. Once you make mistakes in this league, it usually ends up in the back of the net."
IN THE LINEUP
Rick Rypien and Jannik Hansen will sit out tonight, leaving the forward lines in tact from Thursday night.
There are still no concrete updates on the status of Sami Salo and Willie Mitchell. Both are still listed as day-to-day and will not dress tonight. They are questionable for Monday night.
The Canucks played most of their last game with just five defencemen and at one point had just four available on the bench, which meant increased minutes for the remaining blueliners.
Alex Edler and Christian Ehrhoff both played close to 26 minutes and Shane O'Brien got 21:49 of ice time - the fourth time this season he's seen over 20 minutes of play.
With three regulars out of the top six on the back end means shutting down one of the top teams in the League will be that much more challenging.
"Obviously, we're a little banged up back here and you never want to see guys go down but at the same time, as a player, you relish in these opportunities and we've got a good test against Chicago," said O'Brien. "[Nolan Baumgartner] can step in, he's played a lot of NHL games and he's been a pro for a long time and he'll be fine. [Aaron Rome] and [Brad Lukowich], too, has done a great job, and [Christian Ehrhoff] can continue to do his thing and [Alex Edler too] so we should be alright."
"I believe that all teams face injuries and on a short term, you can usually handle those but it's when it gets to a longer term, it makes it a little challenging," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "This right now, tonight we're obviously missing three key defencemen so a lot of the guys are just going to have to support more and fill in."
Despite, the injuries, the Canucks are 10-2-2 in their last 14 games and are two points out of the division lead behind the Avalanche. A win against the Blackhawks tonight puts Vancouver in a tie with Colorado for the top spot in the Northwest with the Avs just edging out the Canucks for first place with a game in hand.
It won't be easy against a Blackhawks team that is 4-0-0 against the Canadian Northwest on the road this year and a 14-7-3 road record this year.
Chicago comes into Vancouver for their fifth game of an eight-game road trip and are 3-1-0 so far in their first four of the trip.