The Canucks recently learned that forward Steve Bernier has a sports hernia and will need surgery. He has missed four games so far and will likely miss about four weeks.
Bernier left the Canucks last week with what he thought was a groin injury until he saw an abdominal specialist on Tuesday in Vancouver confirming it was a sports hernia.
So far this season Bernier has played in 56 games recording 21 points (11-10-21).
SAMUELSSON’S FIRST HATTY
Canuck forward Mikael Samuelsson recorded his first NHL hat trick Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche jumpstarting the team’s tenth comeback of the season ending in a 6-4 win.
The Canucks were down three goals after the opening frame until Samuelsson scored all three in the second. He now has 27 goals and 47 points this season, his career best in goals and points.
He is the fifth Canuck to record a hat trick this season, although Vancouver has had six this year, singles from Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Mason Raymond, Samuelsson and back-to-back hat tricks from Alex Burrows in January. The Pittsburg Penguins are the only other NHL team to record six hat tricks this season.
HENRIK ONE AHEAD OF THORNTON, TWO AWAY FROM LINDEN
Thanks to his three assists Tuesday against the Avs, Henrik now leads the league in assists and inches one assist ahead of the San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton.
Henrik has recorded 62 assists in 66 games this season. During his time in the NHL, he has recorded 413 assists, putting him in second place in this category for all-time Canucks records. He is three assists away from passing Trevor Linden who has recorded 415 assists with the Canucks.
Henrik (26-62-88) is only four points away from league leader Alex Ovechkin (44-48-92) from the Washington Capitals. He is also fourth in the league for plus/minus with an impressive plus-32 rating.
GAME DAY NOTES
Today the Canucks play their last road game of the epic 14 game road trip against the Phoenix Coyotes. After many plane rides, cities, and hotels, the Canucks hope to end the trip on a good note before heading home for five games.
This will be the third meeting of the season between these teams. Last year the series was split at 2-2, and this season is also even so far at 1-1. Vancouver came out on top in a 4-0 shutout against the desert dogs on January 7 when Alex Burrows recorded his second consecutive hat trick.
The Coyotes sit second in the Pacific division and fourth in the West, and are only one point behind the Canucks (41-23-2) with 83 (39-22-5), the same number they finished with two seasons ago. At this time last year they only had 61 points. If the Canucks do not maintain first in their division, the Coyotes could inch ahead of them in the standings.
Phoenix ended last season in 13th place, but have a strong chance this time around of making the playoffs. They haven’t made it since 2002 when they lost to the Sharks in round one.
The Canucks will need to watch out for recently acquired forward Wojtek Wolski, who only recorded two points in his last eight games with the Avalanche but has flourished with the Coyotes recording three points in his first two game. He leads the team in scoring with 50 points (19-31-50).
Coyote goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has had an impressive season winning 34 games (34-18-4) setting a new franchise record for wins by a goaltender in a single season. He is tied for first in the league for shutouts with Tomas Vokoun and Martin Brodeur, all with seven.
Phoenix is the home of five former Canuck players including forward Taylor Pyatt, defencemen Adrian Aucoin, Ed Jovanovski, Mathieu Schneider, and goaltender Jason Labarbera.
Schneider was recently traded to the Coyotes in exchange for defenceman Sean Zimmerman and a 2010 conditional sixth-round draft selection. He played 17 games with the Canucks this season recording five points (2-3-5) before being assigned to the Manitoba Moose where he appeared in eight games and accumulated five points as well (2-3-5).