VANCOUVER -- Keith Ballard paid the price for playing forward with the Vancouver Canucks.
Moved up from defense to play third line left wing because of injuries to six forwards, Ballard will join them in the infirmary after fracturing his foot in a 1-0 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, and won’t play Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
“Ballard suffered a very, very, very minor fracture to his foot last game -- not exactly sure when and how,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “If this was playoff hockey he would probably be able to suck it up and play, but considering it is quite painful right now we are going
to give him a couple of days. It’s not something that is long term, it’s day to day, very minor.”
Ballard will be replaced up front by the return of Steven Pinizzotto, who missed four games with an illness. Ballard’s spot on the left side of the third line will go to Chris Higgins, who drops from the No. 1 line, while Alexandre Burrows moves back to his usual spot alongside Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
Here are the rest of the expected lineups for Thursday night, when the Canucks host an Avalanche team that played in Calgary the night before:
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond – Jordan Schroeder – Jannik Hansen
Chris Higgins – Andrew Ebbett – Steven Pinizzotto
Tom Sestito – Maxim Lapierre – Andrew Gordon
Dan Hamhuis – ???Jason Garrison
Alexander Edler – Kevin Bieksa
Andrew Alberts – Christopher Tanev
Injured: Keith Ballard (foot fracture), Zack Kassian (back), Dale Weise (shoulder), David Booth (ankle surgery), Ryan Kesler (foot fracture) Manny Malhotra (eye).
Scratched: Cam Barker
Notes: Kassian is skating and listed as day to day: “I would say real close,” Vigneault said.
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Chuck Kobasew
Jamie McGinn - Matt Duchene - PA Parenteau
David Jones - John Mitchell - Milan Hejduk
Cody McLeod - Mark Olver - Patrick Bordeleau
Greg Zanon - Tyson Barrie
Matt Hunwick - Erik Johnson
Ryan O’Byrne - Shane O'Brien
Injured: Paul Stastny (bruised foot), Ryan Wilson (ankle), David Jones (knee), Steve Downie (knee)
Scratched: Jan Hejda was scratched Wednesday against the Calgary Flames but could return, likely in place of O’Byrne or Barrie, against the Canucks.
Notes: Playing on consecutive nights and two games into a run of five games in seven days, the Avalanche are expected to start backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere after he watched the loss to Calgary on Wednesday. … Stastny, who was hurt blocking a shot against Vancouver on March 24, is out approximately 10 days. Jones is day-to-day and with the team.