The Vancouver Canucks only have one new defenseman playing regularly this season, but they've got two trying to make big adjustments.
Asking them to do so on the same pairing has been problematic early, so for now they have split up newcomer Jason Garrison and Alexander Edler, who is being asked to play the less familiar right side after his old partner Sami Salo left for Tampa Bay as a free agent.
The change came shortly after both defensemen committed egregious turnovers that led to goals early in a 4-1 loss in San Jose on Sunday night. Garrison moved onto a pairing with Kevin Bieksa and Edler, a left-handed shot, stayed on the right side with steady veteran Dan Hamhuis, a top-four mix that stayed intact during a 3-2 shootout loss the next night in Los Angeles.
"We felt we needed to make a couple little changes and adjustments and I felt it worked really well in the L.A. game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Playing against the Stanley Cup champions, it was our fourth game in six nights, and we played a real solid game."
For Garrison, who signed in his hometown as a free agent after a breakout season in Florida, it's about learning a new system, getting comfortable with a new playing partner, and reacting on the ice rather than thinking.
"There is going to be a period when you think about things more than just reacting to them, and that's part of the process," said Garrison, who is pointless but plus-2 in six games. "But you have to make that timeline very short and make it reactionary more than learning very quickly."
Here are the rest of the lines as the Canucks look to extend a 15-0-2 streak against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, including goaltender Roberto Luongo getting a surprise second-straight start:
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Zack Kassian
Chris Higgins – Alexandre Burrows – Jannik Hansen
Mason Raymond – Jordan Schroeder – Dale Weise
Manny Malhotra – Maxim Lapierre – Aaron Volpatti
Dan Hamhuis – Alexander Edler
Jason Garrison – Kevin Bieksa
Keith Ballard – Christopher Tanev
Injured: Ryan Kesler, David Booth
Scratched: Andrew Ebbett, Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker
Notes: Lapierre, who has been playing through a groin "tweak" the last two games, participated in the morning skate, but could come out in favor of Andrew Ebbett on the fourth line.