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Canucks' Bieksa planning to play through injury

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa isn't ready to let a leg injury keep him out of the lineup with the season hanging in the balance against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Bieksa played two shifts after a hit left him limping off the ice late in the second period of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, and the Canucks called up rookie defenseman Frank Corrado from the American Hockey League on Friday.

So it was a bit of a surprise to see Bieksa taking part in the morning skate Saturday, including time on the top power play. He will be a game-time decision but hinted strongly he plans to play.

"If there's a chance I can play, I will," Bieksa said. "We'll see how it feels later, but I got through the skate OK, and this time of the year there is a lot of guys playing injured. So if you can play, you play."

The Canucks will need the veteran defenseman at his best against the Ducks, who have beaten them in all three games this season, including a 9-1 result Jan. 15 that was a big part of Vancouver's two-month spiral out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Vancouver has six wins in its past 10 games and points in four straight (3-0-1) for the first time since late December. It started Saturday five points out of the second wild-card position in the Western Conference.

The Canucks won't have to face right wing Teemu Selanne, who has not dressed on back-to-back nights this season and played in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

Selanne is planning to retire at the end of the season after 22 years in the NHL, but the 43-year-old said he plans to play one more game in Vancouver when the Ducks return to face the Canucks on April 7.

Selanne said the extra rest this season has helped down the stretch as he prepares for the playoffs to start in a couple of weeks.

"It's important to start building momentum for the playoffs because I never believed you can just turn the switch on and start playoff mode," said Selanne, who has scored 684 goals in 1,445 regular-season games. "You have to build that and that was the problem for us last year, we couldn't take the next step in the playoffs even though all the tools were there. So that's the goal for this year."

Based on the Ducks' optional morning skate, it appears 20-year-old rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm will sit out for the first time since late December. Veteran defenseman Bryan Allen said he will come back into the lineup after sitting against the Oilers.

Rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen will start for the Ducks against the Canucks after Jonas Hiller played in Edmonton.

Here are the projected lineups for the Ducks and Canucks:


Nick Bonino - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Patrick Maroon - Mathieu PerreaultKyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano - Saku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Jakob SilfverbergRickard RakellMatt Beleskey

Stephane RobidasLuca Sbisa

Bryan AllenBen Lovejoy

Francois BeaucheminSami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Teemu Selanne, Hampus Lindholm, Tim Jackman

Injured: Sheldon Souray (wrist), Cam Fowler (knee), Mark Fistric (leg)


Daniel SedinRyan KeslerNicklas Jensen

Chris HigginsShawn MatthiasAlexandre Burrows

David BoothBrad RichardsonZack Kassian

Tom SestitoJordan SchroederJannik Hansen

Dan HamhuisJason Garrison

Alexander EdlerKevin Bieksa

Ryan StantonYannick Weber

Eddie Lack

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Zac Dalpe, Frank Corrado, Michael Zalewski

Injured: Henrik Sedin (knee), Christopher Tanev (broken finger), Mike Santorelli (shoulder surgery), Andrew Alberts (concussion)

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