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Big debut for Canucks' Tryamkin against Avalanche

6-foot-7 defenseman to play first NHL game; Colorado in wild-card chase

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

AVALANCHE (35-31-4) at CANUCKS (27-29-12)

TV: 10 p.m. ET; ALT, SNP. NHL.TV

VANCOUVER - Russian defenseman Nikita Tryamkin will make his NHL debut for the Vancouver Canucks against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

Tryamkin, 6-foot-7 and 228 pounds, signed with the Canucks last week after his season in the Kontinental Hockey League ended and he arrived in Vancouver last Thursday. There was already a chance the 21-year-old was going to play against Colorado, but injuries to defensemen Luca Sbisa, Yannick Weber and Alex Biega on Monday left no doubt about Tryamkin's debut.

"I'm really happy to be here and wear the Canucks jersey," Tryamkin said through a translator. "I want to help everybody on the team and make an impact."

Tryamkin, whom the Canucks selected in the third round (No. 66) of the 2014 NHL Draft, has been skating with veteran Dan Hamhuis in practice. Coach Willie Desjardins said Tryamkin might also play alongside fellow Russian defenseman Andrey Pedan, called up from Utica of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, to help ease the language barrier.

"It will have its challenges," Hamhuis said, "but he's a good player and we will figure it out together, even just making some sort of noise, calling his name, letting him know where I am on the ice. He's a great skater and that's the biggest thing. He'll be able to move around on the ice and he's got a reach where if he makes a slight mistake or gets in a bad position he has the ability to recover. He can bail himself out."

Colorado is more focused on passing the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, which they would do with a win Wednesday. But even with all of Vancouver's lineup changes, the Avalanche know they can focus on Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.

"It seems like forever that every time we play the Canucks, they are two of the guys you have to shut down," Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla said. "We can't look at each line. We know the few guys we have to key on, but at the same time we have to make sure we are energetic and aggressive and quick, the stuff that when we are doing we have success."

The Avalanche will be without forward Gabriel Landeskog for the second game of a three-game suspension for a cross-checking incident, and still are without defenseman Chris Bigras because of a concussion. Colorado's only lineup change will be Andrew Bodnarchuk replacing Zach Redmond on the third defensive pair.

Canucks left wing Alexandre Burrows returns after missing one game with a lower-body injury, but left wing Derek Dorsett (upper-body) and center Markus Granlund (upper-body) won't play. Vancouver called up left wing Brendan Gaunce from the AHL two days after sending him down, and has changed three of its four forward lines.

Here are the projected lineups:  

AVALANCHE

Mikhail Grigorenko - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Mikkel Boedker - Nathan MacKinnon - Blake Comeau

Shawn Matthias - Carl Soderberg - Andreas Martinsen

Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Eric Gelinas - Andrew Bodnarchuk

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Injured: Chris Bigras (concussion), Brad Stuart (back surgery), Jesse Winchester (head)

Scratched: Zach Redmond

Suspended: Gabriel Landeskog

CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jake Virtanen

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata

Brendan Gaunce - Linden Vey - Emerson Etem

Alexandre Burrows - Jared McCann - Alexandre Grenier

Ben Hutton - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Nikita Tryamkin

Matt Bartkowski - Andrey Pedan

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Alex Biega (undisclosed), Markus Granlund (upper body), Luca Sbisa (upper body), Yannick Weber (upper body), Jannik Hansen (ribs), Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alexander Edler (fractured tibia)

Status Report: Sbisa is listed as week-to-week with an upper body injury sustained in a 5-2 loss against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. Weber is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and Biega will be a game-time decision against Colorado with an unidentified ailment. … Coach Patrick Roy said Bigras, who has missed three games, will be re-evaluated before Colorado's four-game road trip resumes against the Calgary Flames on Friday and the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. … Hansen, who has missed seven games, could return on the road against the Oilers on Friday, or back home against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. … Gaunce didn't have a point and was minus-4 in four games before being sent back to the AHL and then called back up. "Instead of just playing not to make a mistake, he's got to step up and play to make a difference," Desjardins said.

Who's Hot: Duchene has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak.

 

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