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Canucks Report: Higgins "not quite right"

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks

Higgins "not quite right"

It was all hands on deck for the Canucks' morning skate in advance of Saturday's tilt against the Red Wings as all currently healthy players took part in the session along with forward Chris Higgins, who has missed the last five games with a knee injury.

Higgins took line rushes alongside Derek Roy and Jannik Hansen but while it looked, for a while at least, like he would be getting back into the lineup tonight that won't be the case.

"I'm not going to play tonight but I'm definitely close," said Higgins following the morning session. "I had optimism, at least, but it didn't feel quite right."

The news of Higgins not being able to go came as a somewhat surprise to Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault who, after having Higgins essentially penciled into the lineup, will now have to make some adjustments before his team hits the ice again tonight.

"I met Chris yesterday [after] he had just had a real good practice and seemed like he was going to be able to go," said Vigneault. "Today was a little different so we're going to take a little bit more time here and decide this afternoon what we're going to do with our lines."

Higgins did indicate he hopes to be back for the final three games of the regular season.

60 minutes needed

The Canucks have been out-scored by a combined 13-5 through two games in the season series against the Red Wings but it hasn't been a case where Detroit has completely dominated. At least that's what the Canucks feel.

Rather, the players on Vancouver's side will tell you it's been their inability to put in a complete effort from buzzer-to-buzzer that has been their downfall against Detroit this season.

"We've got to play for 60 minutes," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. "I think if you look at the two games there we weren't sharp for 10-15 minutes and they killed us.

"That's been the problem for us in the last couple of weeks too when we've lost games is that we haven't played a full 60-minute effort."

Another reason the Canucks have struggled mightily against the Red Wings this season is they've simply given too much time and space for the Red Wings to work their magic – something they know needs to change tonight.

"They have the skill and creativity and they work hard," said netminder Cory Schneider, who will get his first start in the season series tonight. "I think we've been giving them some extra room to manoeuvre and operate and to make those skilled plays so I think we just have to be a little tighter on them and not give them so much room to work."

Win and in...or at least a point taken

If earning a measure of revenge against the Red Wings wasn't enough of a motivating factor for the Canucks tonight, how about the fact that a win would clinch them a playoff spot?

Actually, the Canucks only need a single point out of tonight's game in order to officially secure their spot in the post-season but that doesn't mean they're going to be playing for a regulation draw.

"We play every game to win and tonight's going to be no different," said Coach V. "We're going to meet a very desperate opponent. We need a win to get in and they need a win to stay in so it should be a classic Detroit-Vancouver game."

Nothing else new on the injury front

Coach Vigneault had no significant updates on the injuries to blue-liners Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev except to indicate both are still day-to-day.

He wouldn't comment on whether either of them would be ready for the start of the playoffs.

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