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Preview: Canucks at Bruins

Vancouver forward Loui Eriksson faces former team; defenseman Zdeno Chara returns for Boston

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

CANUCKS (24-24-6) at BRUINS (27-23-6) 

1 p.m. ET; SN, NESN, NHL.TV

 

Canucks team scope

Forward Loui Eriksson will face his former team for the first time since he signed with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent last July 1. Eriksson played in 224 games for the Boston Bruins the past three seasons and had 147 points (62 goals, 85 assists). In his first season with Vancouver, he has 11 goals and 11 assists in 54 games. "Of course this season hasn't been the best for me but I'm still happy we're pretty close to the playoffs," Eriksson told the Vancouver Sun on Friday. "It was the same thing when I came to Boston. Getting to learn new things and new teammates and settled into the city as well, it takes some time." The Canucks are looking for consecutive wins after ending a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. The Canucks, who are 7-16-3 on the road this season, are six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Coach Willie Desjardins said goaltenders Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom will split the weekend back-to-back (the Canucks play at the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday). Miller's next win will be his 355th and move him past Rogie Vachon for 19th place on the NHL's all-time list.

 

Bruins team scope

Defenseman Zdeno Chara will play after missing the Bruins' 6-3 win against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday because of an illness. "We decided with the training staff it would probably be best to stay away and not risk any possible injuries or any more spread it through the locker room," Chara said after practicing Friday. "So it's been good yesterday and progress from yesterday to today. So it should be good to go for tomorrow." The Bruins will try to earn a second straight victory for new coach Bruce Cassidy, who was promoted from assistant coach after Claude Julien was fired on Tuesday. Boston has been chasing consistency all season and would like to duplicate its effort from Thursday. "We do know we play games like that. But ... for some reason the second games aren't as strong as the first ones," center David Krejci said. "So we have to make sure to come out hard again, play a full 60 minutes, just like we did [Thursday]. I think we had a good practice today and [are] obviously feeling good about ourselves." Boston leads the Philadelphia Flyers by one point for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference and trails the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point for third place in the Atlantic Division. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has started 13 straight games, but Cassidy said Rask and Anton Khudobin would split the weekend games (the Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday), so Khudobin will start against the Canucks.

 

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Markus Granlund

Alexandre Burrows -- Bo Horvat -- Jannik Hansen

Jayson Megna -- Brandon Sutter -- Loui Eriksson

Jack Skille -- Michael Chaput -- Reid Boucher

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Alex Biega -- Nikita Tryamkin

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Philip Larsen, Ben Hutton

Injured: Derek Dorsett (neck), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Anton Rodin (knee), Sven Baertschi (concussion)

 

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Backes

Peter Cehlarik -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano -- Ryan Spooner -- Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller -- Dominic Moore -- Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller -- Colin Miller

Anton Khudobin

Tuukka Rask

Scratched:Joe Morrow, John-Michael Liles Matt Beleskey

Injured: Austin Czarnik (lower body)

 

Status report

Baertschi did not travel to Boston and instead returned to Vancouver. ... Cehlarik will make his NHL debut.

 

Who's hot

Henrik Sedin had two assists against the Blue Jackets after going four games without a point. ... Bergeron is on a six-game point streak with four goals and eight assists in that span. He also one assist shy of 400 in his NHL career. ... Marchand has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) during a six-game point streak.

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