RJ OUT 4-6 WEEKS
Canucks forward Ryan Johnson will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken foot after blocking a shot during a penalty kill Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.
RJ (1-4-5) missed 13 games earlier in the season with the same injury.
"Well it's unfortunate, Ryan was playing his best hockey of the season," said Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault. "He was doing a really good job on face-offs for us, and obviously blocking shots. He's hurt, and it's not our first injury of the season. We're going to deal with it like we have all season."
BERNIE AND OB SLOT IN
With Johnson out, forward Steve Bernier will slot in the lineup for the first time in 17 games since undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.
"Before the surgery I was having trouble skating and doing my job on the ice," said Bernier. "When you know you're not doing your job properly, nothing good happens. I decided to have surgery and now I feel one hundred percent and ready to do what I have to do on the ice."
Bernier will likely skate on the fourth line with Rick Rypien and Jannik Hansen.
Shane O'Brien will also rejoin the lineup tonight after sitting out the last four games due to fellow defenceman Christian Ehrhoff being day-to-day with his tweaked knee. The defensive pairings are a game time decision. However at practice O'Brien was skating alongside Sami Salo, and Alex Edler with Andrew Alberts.
"I'm going to go out and play the way I was playing before," said O'Brien. "I'm going to try to be solid, physical, move the puck up the boards, and just do the little things to help the boys win."
Healthy scratches for tonight are Tanner Glass and Darcy Hordichuk.
CANUCKS RECALL MATT PETTINGER
Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have recalled forward Matt Pettinger from the AHL's Manitoba Moose.
The 29 year old Edmonton native has played in seven games with the Canucks this season where he recorded two points (1-1-2) and two penalty minutes. He has appeared in 54 games with the Moose this season accumulating 30 points (14-16-30) and 31 penalty minutes.
Overall in the NHL, the 6'1", 205 pound left winger has played 420 career games recording 122 points (65-57-122) in 420 NHL games. He was originally selected by Washington 43rd overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
CANUCKS SIGN GOALTENDER EDDIE LACK
Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have signed free agent goaltender Eddie Lack.
The 22 year old from Norrtalje, Sweden had played for Brynas of the Swedish Elite League this past season posting a .911 save percentage, a 2.67 GAA, and a 5-7-1 record. Before joining Brynas, Lack played 56 games with Leksand in Sweden professionally, posting a .927 save percentage and a 1.95 GAA.
GAME DAY NOTES
After clinching a playoff spot and the Northwest division, the Canucks aren’t exhaling just yet. They play their the first of their final three games tonight against the Colorado Avalanche who are desperate to maintain their hold of eighth place in the Western Conference and a spot in the post-season.
"There's three games for us left and they're big stepping stones to the playoffs," said Ryan Kesler. "We have to pick our game up each and every game because when you reach the playoffs, it's going to be that much bigger of a step."
The Avs have 91 points (42-29-7), only two ahead of the ninth place Calgary Flames (40-30-9), and four shy of the seventh place Los Angeles Kings (44-27-7). Though the Canucks (48-27-4) have secured third place in the West, second is within reach as the Chicago Blackhawks sit only five points ahead with 105 (49-22-7).
The Canucks have come out on top four out of the five meetings with the Avs including an impressive comeback on March 9 when the Canucks overcame a three goal deficit in the second period thanks to forward Mikael Samuelsson (30-23-53) who recorded his first NHL hat trick. In those five games the Canucks have outscored the Avs 22-11.
The Avs tasted sweet victory Sunday winning 5-4 in overtime against the San Jose Sharks (48-20-11) but are only 3-6-1 in their last ten. A win may be even more difficult tonight without Avalanche forward Peter Mueller who is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion Sunday against the Sharks from being hit into the boards by Shark defenceman Rob Blake. He had seven points in his last five games (four goals, three assists) and is the sixth leading scorer on the Avs with 37 points (13-24-37).
After missing the playoffs last season, the Avs are hungry to get back into the playoffs again. The Avs can clinch that berth with a win against the Canucks and if Calgary loses to the Sharks tonight.
"We know that the opposition is desperate and fighting for their playoff lives," said Roberto Luongo. "So we have to set the tempo like we've done numerous times at home."
The Canucks a 29-8-2 record at home - the best in the league and a new franchise record. The previous home wins record was set in the 1992-93 season with 27 wins. Another win tonight would tie the Canucks franchise record of most wins in a season (49) that was set in 2006-2007.