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Canucks Report: Tan man returns

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
The 2014-15 NHL playoffs are more than a month away, but with how close things are in the Pacific Division, every game has playoff implications from here on out.

The Vancouver Canucks currently sit second in the division with 78 points, 13 behind the league-leading Anaheim Ducks, who visit Rogers Arena Monday night. The Ducks have taken three of four games from the Canucks this year and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 versus Vancouver.

“I’m happy we’re going to play some good games here, it seems we’re better in those games,” said Henrik Sedin. “It’s going to be fun down the stretch and it’s an exciting time for us players and for the fans as well.”

The Canucks would be wise to use home ice as an advantage as they begin a five-game home stand, with eight of their next 10 games in Vancouver overall; only two of those games are versus teams currently in the playoffs (Monday vs. Anaheim & Mar. 24th vs. Winnipeg).

TAN MAN RETURNS

This time for real, hopefully.

Chris Tanev skated with the Canucks this morning and coach Desjardins declared him ready to return to the line-up against the Ducks; Tanev skated and was expected to return last week, but is feeling much better now than a few days ago.

”It’s been tough, a few ups and downs, obviously you want to be in the line-up playing, but the guys have done a great job so it’ll be fun to get back in there tonight,” said Tanev, who will be reunited with Alex Edler on the Canucks top defensive pairing.

Tanev has been out since suffering an injury against the Calgary Flames on February 14th and perhaps no one is happier he’s returning than Eddie Lack. “He’s been a huge part of this team for four years now, so it’s obviously nice having him back,” said Lack. “He’s like a goalie’s best friend, so from my side of things it’s nice having him back.”

Bromance rekindled.

GOOD TO GONINO?

Nick Bonino didn’t practice Sunday, but he was back on the ice Monday morning and all signs point to him playing against his former team. Bonino has one assist in four games against the Ducks, in addition to the shootout game-winner he scored in his return to Anaheim on November 9th.

Desjardins said Bonino will be reevaluated pre-game Monday.

”I don’t want to go against what coach said, but I feel good and ready,” said Bonino.

LACKTASTIC

Since relieving Jacob Markstrom in a loss to the San Jose Sharks on March 3rd, Eddie Lack has allowed only five goals on 99 shots, including 12 saves in a frantic 3rd period to preserve a 3-2 Canucks win Saturday night in San Jose.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good the last two or three months here, I just want to keep playing,” said Lack. “Once and a while you’re going to have the goals you’re not happy with, but I just have to stay with what I believe in and keep playing.”

In five games since Ryan Miller went down to injury, Lack is 3-1-1; he’s 1-4-2 in seven career starts against the Ducks and will have to be sharp against Ryan Getzlaf, who leads active Ducks in all-time scoring against the Canucks with 35 points (10-25-35) in 37 games.

”They’re a really good team, they have a lot of good players and obviously it’s fun playing against Kes, so it’s going to be a challenge for our group, but we’re up for it.”

BIEKSA INJURY UPDATE

Kevin Bieksa and Brad Richardson also skated Monday morning and although there is no timetable for either of their returns, Bieksa spoke to the media and said despite skating, he’s not where he needs to be quite yet.

”My shot is about as hard as yours right now (jokingly directed at TSN reporter Farhan Lalji), so I think we all agree that’s not good enough for the NHL,” laughed Bieksa. “We’ll take a few more days here and hopefully get stronger every day without any setbacks and we should be good.”

Bieksa said rejoining practice always leads to heightened expectations for an early return, but that he and the team will stick to the plan currently in place.

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