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At the Rink: Flyers at Canucks

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks will get defenseman Dan Hamhuis back against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday (10 p.m. ET; TCN-PH, SNP) after he missed three games, but fellow defensemen Luca Sbisa is out indefinitely because of a lower-body injury.

"It's not a day-today injury. I think it's going to be longer than that," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said Monday of Sbisa, who played 16:40 Friday against the Arizona Coyotes but missed practice Sunday and was spotted wearing a walking boot Monday. "He is being re-evaluated today."

The Canucks were carrying a spare defenseman in Alex Biega but won't need to play him with Hamhuis ready to return after rehabbing what he called "a few nagging issues."

"It was a good week to get on top of a few things," said Hamhuis, who has two assists in eight games while averaging 19:14 of ice time. "Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final I am in the lineup. But it's a long season and you don't want to be playing at 50, 60, 70 percent and maybe things continuing to slide. So we took this opportunity to get on top of it and be closer to playing at 100 percent."

Vancouver's defense gets a break against a Philadelphia team struggling to score so far this season.

The Flyers are averaging 2.00 goals per game, 29th in the League, and are missing injured centers Sean Couturier (upper body) and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body), forcing first-year coach Dave Hakstol to again mix his forward lines.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl have been reunited on the top line after being split early in a 3-1 loss against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Voracek and Raffl haven't scored a goal after combining for 43 last season.

"We just need to play together, stick together," Giroux said. "We are going to have games that are not the way we want to play like the last few. But good teams find a way to rebound."

Vincent Lecavalier, who has averaged 7:07 of ice time in two games this season, moves to the third line now being centered by Brayden Schenn, while R.J. Umberger will play right wing on the fourth line. Left wing Matt Read joins a new-look second line with center Scott Laughton and right wing Wayne Simmonds, who has one goal this season after scoring 28 in 2014-15.

"I expect them to be a good line for us," Hakstol said. "[Simmonds] obviously is a guy that gets in on the forecheck real well, Laughton needs to use his speed and quickness and [Read] is a real good complement to the style of play those guys bring."

Defensemen Evgeny Medvedev will be scratched for the first time as he continues to transition from playing in the KHL. An all-star in Russia, Medvedev, 33, has one assist in 10 games and is fourth among Flyers defensemen with a 51.24 shot-attempt percentage.

"Things happen quicker in smaller spaces and that's an adjustment from the bigger rink that he has played on," Hakstol said. "In a lot of respects it might be good for him to watch a game and keep progressing. It's been a little bit up and down with and without the puck for him."

Here are the projected lineups:


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Scott Laughton - Wayne Simmonds

Sam Gagner - Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier

Chris VandeVelde - Ryan White - R.J. Umberger

Michael Del Zotto - Mark Streit

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body), Sean Couturier (upper body)

Scratched: Chris Conner, Evgeny Medvedev


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Sven Baertschi - Brandon Sutter - Jake Virtanen

Alexandre Burrows - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen

Adam Cracknell - Jared McCann - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Ben Hutton - Matt Bartkowski

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman

Injured: Luca Sbisa (lower body), Brandon Prust (ankle), Chris Higgins (foot), Jacob Markstrom (hamstring)

Scratched: Brendan Gaunce, Alex Biega

Status Report: The Flyers recalled Conner from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Sunday. Conner, an undersized scorer with four goals and four assists in eight AHL games this season, gives Philadelphia an extra forward for their current four-game, six-day trip through Western Canada. … Markstrom and Higgins, who were injured before the season started, are skating and close to returning.

Who’s Hot: Vrbata has three goals and two assists in five games since being reunited with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin on the top line; he had zero points in his first six games. Henrik Sedin has one goal and three assists in those five games after starting the season with two points in six games, and Daniel Sedin has one goal and four assists since Vrbata's return.

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