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Canucks eager to get Torres, Samuelsson in lineup

by Dan Rosen
CHICAGO -- Two forwards with Stanley Cup Final experience will likely return to the Vancouver Canucks lineup for Game 3 Sunday at United Center.

Raffi Torres is back after serving a four-game suspension dating back to the regular season for elbowing Edmonton's Jordan Eberle in the head from the blind side, and Mikael Samuelsson is healthy after skipping Game 2 with an illness.

Rookie Cody Hodgson and Aaron Rome will be Vancouver's healthy scratches.

"I feel good," said Samuelsson, who won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008. "I feel good now. I'm ready to go tonight."

Torres has watched the first two games of the series against Chicago from the Rogers Arena press box. He's itching to get back in because the games have been physical and that is his favorite brand of hockey.

Torres was second on the Canucks with 134 hits in 80 games during the regular season.

"It's been very tough (to watch), but exciting at the same time," said Torres, who played with Edmonton in the 2006 Final. "The main thing was I knew I'd get a chance to play in the series. Our team has really stepped up. It has been a physical game and that's the type of game I love to watch and play, so it'll be exciting."

Torres will start on the third line with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen, who has goals in each of the first two games.

"You just have to get him the puck right now," Torres said of Hansen. "He's been doing a heck of a job shooting pucks, doing a little bit of everything out there. It'll be good."

The Canucks are eager to have Torres back in the lineup. While they've actually played more physical without him than they did during the regular season, they know he can add extra punch, which might be necessary in what should be an amped up United Center.

"We get a little more physical (with Torres)," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "He's a guy who has been to the Stanley Cup Final and he knows playoff hockey. His regular season game is tailor made for the playoffs. I expect a lot of energy out of him. He's going to get in there and punish some defensemen. He's going to crash and bang and that's definitely going to help us."

Samuelsson is not the crash and bang type, but the Canucks are happy to have him back because of the offense he brings to the second line with Ryan Kesler and Christopher Higgins.

"He's definitely a leader in the dressing room and on the ice," Bieksa said. "He has a lot of poise with the puck. We're a better team with him in the lineup."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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