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Ducks' Bieksa set to face Canucks for first time

by Abbey Mastracco

CANUCKS (1-0-1) at DUCKS (0-1-0)


ANAHEIM -- A year ago, it was Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler who was getting used to some west coast surroundings slightly different than the ones he was used while playing for the Vancouver Canucks.

Now, it's Kesler's teammate, former Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who is attempting to make the same transition.

Bieksa, who played 10 seasons with the Canucks, will face his former team for the first time since being traded to the Ducks on June 30.

While he expects to have some emotions, Bieksa said he's setting them aside to help Anaheim secure a win in its home opener.

"I think seeing some of the guys before and saying the 'hellos' and everything, I think that's good, but once you get on the ice, it's all business," Bieksa, 34, said. "It will be business for them, business for us. We're looking for a win, second game of the season, home opener … there's so many different things going on right now."

Maybe best-known in Vancouver for a double-overtime goal that sent the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Bieksa is bringing his physical game to Anaheim. Paired with Hampus Lindholm, Bieksa played 24:26 against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday and is confident he can maintain that pace.

"I feel like I'm in great shape this year. I came in a little bit lighter than usual," he said. "Whether it's 24 minutes or whether it's 18, I'm at the point in my career where all I care about is winning, getting back to the playoffs and getting on a run."

Bieksa's teammates can attest to his playing shape.

"His name is 'Juice' for a reason, he's got a Greek god of a body," Kesler said. "He's in great shape and he's still young at heart."

It's a new era for Bieksa and the Canucks, but there will be some old memories that undoubtedly come back.

"It will be a little bit different to see him on the other team," said Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler. "But he's one of those guys that's going to play really hard against us. It will be a tough game for sure."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Brandon Sutter

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata

Alexandre Burrows - Jared McCann - Jannik Hansen

Brandon Prust - Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Matt Bartkowski

Ben Hutton - Luca Sbisa

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman

Injured: Chris Higgins (lower body), Jacob Markstrom (lower body)

Scratched: Yannick Webber, Jake Virtanen


Jiri Sekac - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Carl Hagelin - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Mike Santorelli

Patrick Maroon - Shawn Horcoff - Chris Stewart

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Hampus Lindholm - Kevin Bieksa

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Anton Khudobin

Injured: Nate Thompson (upper body)

Scratched: Tim Jackman, Josh Manson, Chris Wagner

Status Report: Vancouver held an optional morning skate. Edler and Virtanen were among those who participated. … Edler is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the season opener because of flu-like symptoms. … During the season-opening loss at San Jose, Getzlaf and Perry were put on two different lines. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau indicated that the two would be back together on the top line against Vancouver.

Who's Hot: Anaheim is 4-1-0 its past five home openers. … Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks with three points this season and 42 against Anaheim in 55 games played.

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