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Hamhuis returns to Canucks lineup vs. Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg /

CANUCKS (24-15-3) at HURRICANES (14-24-5)


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis will return to the lineup Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing 22 games with a serious hip injury.

"We've been testing it in practice for the last month and with the team the last week, so I feel really confident," Hamhuis said. "I'm just going to approach the game with a simple focus. I've been out for a while but I have full confidence in my legs."

Hamhuis sustained the injury Nov. 20 against the Anaheim Ducks when his skate caught a rut, and his abductor muscle tore away from the hip. After a difficult rehab the veteran defenseman has made a point of attending meetings and participating with the team to stay sharp.

"Developing the physical part is one thing; being sharp mentally is another part that's probably just as important or more important," Hamhuis said.

The Canucks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 on Thursday, ending a three-game losing streak. Vancouver, which scored two goals during the skid, saw several forwards break out of dry spells.

When Nick Bonino scored the opening goal on a pretty spin move in the slot, it was his third goal in 28 games. Henrik Sedin followed by re-directing Daniel Sedin's shot for his third goal in 19 games. Jannik Hansen scored Vancouver's fourth goal on a breakaway for his second in 20 games. Goalie Ryan Miller made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

The Hurricanes are 14-24-5, but with a 4-1-1 in January, they hope to build some momentum in the second half of the season. After scoring one goal or less in 17 losses this season, Carolina has scored 18 goals in its past six games.

"Whenever you start winning hockey games there's a little less stress in the room. Everyone's a little happier," defenseman Tim Gleason said. "I know it's frustrating that it's in the middle of the year, but sometimes it takes a little longer than others. I know we're a ways out of it, but from a team standpoint we're playing a lot better."

Hurricanes forward Andrej Nestrasil will return to the lineup after a three-game conditioning assignment with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Nestrasil has been out of the lineup since Dec. 8 because of an upper-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Brad Richardson - Alexandre Burrows

Shawn Matthias - Nick Bonino - Linden Vey

Derek Dorsett - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa

Luca Sbisa - Ryan Stanton

Eddie Lack

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Zack Kassian, Yannick Weber

Injured: none


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin

Jiri Tlusty - Victor Rask - Nathan Gerbe

Andrej Nestrasil - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Tim Gleason - John-Michael Liles

Ron Hainsey - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Brett Bellemore, Chris Terry, Brad Malone

Injured: none

Status report: Ward will play against the Canucks and Khudobin will get the start at the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. ... To make room for Nestrasil, Malone will be a healthy scratch. Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said it was a tough decision to take Malone out, but indicated he would return to the lineup soon.

Who's hot: Eric Staal has six goals in his past eight games. ... Rask has two goals and two assists in his past four games.

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