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Canucks C Malhotra unlikely to play in Game 1 @NHL

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Center Manny Malhotra is unlikely to return from his career-threatening eye injury when the Vancouver Canucks open the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night.

Although Malhotra sat out practice Tuesday, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis refused to call it a setback in Malhotra's unlikely comeback. He was hit in the left eye by a deflected puck March 16.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said last Saturday that Malhotra had been cleared to return for the Stanley Cup finals, but Gillis says the Canucks will re-evaluate Malhotra later.

Malhotra is a faceoff specialist and a strong defensive forward. He has been skating with the Canucks for two weeks after undergoing at least two surgeries.

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