SENATORS (29-26-6) at CANUCKS (23-24-12)
TV: 10 p.m. ET; RDS, SNP, TSN5, NHL.TV
VANCOUVER - New Vancouver Canucks center Markus Granlund has a familiar face sitting beside him in the locker room to help ease the transition to a new team after being traded from the Calgary Flames on Monday, but he won't be able to count on Sven Baertschi when he makes his debut against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
Granlund, who was acquired for prospect Hunter Shinkaruk, played with Baertschi when they were in the Flames organization. But they won't play on the same line, at least not yet, with Granlund on the third line with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey, who returns after missing two games with an undisclosed injury.
"Of course it's going to take some time but the game is the same so I don't think I have to change," Granlund said. "New guy, new system so you just have to talk a lot."
Granlund is hoping to follow Baertschi's upward offensive path with the Canucks.
Baertschi was selected 13th by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft; Granlund was selected 45th by Calgary the same year. After struggling with the Flames, Baertschi was traded to the Canucks late last season for a second round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and has since worked his way into a second-line role, including a career high 12 goals and 21 points this season. Granlund, who has four goals and seven points, is hoping to earn a similar opportunity.
"I can play with the puck so I think I have to try and make some plays and trust myself," Granlund said. "Every day I changed [in Calgary]. This day I was second line and that day I was fourth line so it's kind of hard when you don't know if you are going to be playing or not, and if you are playing with skilled guys it's easier to play with the puck... if you are playing with like fourth liners, then you have to try to change your game."
Baertschi sees the potential for more from Granlund, who has 37 goals and 70 points in 83 games in the American Hockey League in the past three seasons.
"He has tons to offer and I know it didn't quite come through in Calgary maybe but the same thing happened to me," Baertschi said. "I just didn't quite get to the point where I was playing my game there and I see similarities."
The Senators won't make any changes to their lineup, having won four straight games.
"Confidence and momentum, it's a scary thing when we get it going," center Curtis Lazar said.
Ottawa is coming off a 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers to start a three-game road trip through Western Canada that concludes Saturday against the Calgary Flames.
"Last year [making the Stanley Cup Playoffs] was miraculous it seemed," center Kyle Turris said. "I don't think we expect that to happen again but we're playing the right way and moving in the right direction. We're playing fast, we're getting pucks deep and putting a lot of pressure on team's defenses and just causing mayhem in their zone. It's a lot of fun when that happens. The last 30 games last year were tons of fun and we're trying to make it that way again."
Here are the projected lineups:
Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingel - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan
Nick Paul - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil
Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci
Chris Wideman - Mark Borowiecki
Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion)
Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Shane Prince
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen
Linden Vey - Markus Granlund - Emerson Etem
Derek Dorsett - Jared McCann - Alexandre Burrows
Ben Hutton - Christopher Tanev
Dan Hamhuis - Matt Bartkowski
Luca Sbisa - Alex Biega
Injured: Radim Vrbata (lower body), Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alexander Edler (fractured tibia)
Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Yannick Weber
Status Report: Vrbata, who was injured in the third period of a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche Sunday, is expected to miss a week.
Who's Hot: Daniel Sedin has one goal and seven assists during a five-game point streak. … Smith has scored in three straight games and had an assist against the Oilers.