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Canucks' Vrbata questionable vs. Sharks

Forward is day-to-day with a lower-body injury

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

SHARKS (32-22-6) at CANUCKS (24-24-12)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, SN, NHL.TV

VANCOUVER
-- Forward Radim Vrbata may have already played his last game for the Vancouver Canucks, while goaltender James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin will have to wait to play their first for the San Jose Sharks.

Vrbata, who has an expiring contract and could be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET Monday, isn't expected to play against San Jose on Sunday because of a lower-body injury sustained against the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 21. He has skated on his own and plans to return to practice Monday. Vrbata is considered day-to-day.

"We'll see how things play out; I'm waiting to hear things just like you guys are," Vrbata, who has limited no-trade protection in his contract, said Saturday. "I like it here. So does my family."

Reimer and Morin, who were acquired in a trade Saturday with the Toronto Maple Leafs, are not expected to join the Sharks until the middle of the week because of paperwork required to work in the United States, according to general manager Doug Wilson. The Sharks, who sent backup goalie Alex Stalock to Toronto as part of the trade, called up goaltender Aaron Dell from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League to back up Martin Jones on Sunday.

Morin may be assigned to the AHL, but Reimer, who was acquired to fortify the backup position behind Jones, is expected to join the Sharks in time for their return trip against the Canucks on Thursday. San Jose hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Monday before coming back to Vancouver.

The teams play for the third time in less than one week on March 5 in San Jose. The Sharks and Canucks play two more games against each other at the end of March.

Entering Sunday, San Jose is third in the Pacific Division with 70 points with Vancouver fourth at 60 points.

"You look at how many points we're behind them and how many games we (still) have against them," Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. "We kind of need to sweep this series."

Here are the projected lineups:

SHARKS

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Melker Karlsson

Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Injured: Tommy Wingels (sprained left shoulder), Matt Tennyson (upper body)

Scratched: Dylan DeMelo, Mike Brown

CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen

Emerson Etem - Markus Granlund - Linden Vey

Alexandre Burrows - Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Ben Hutton - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Matt Bartkowski

Luca Sbisa - Alex Biega

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Radim Vrbata (lower body), Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alexander Edler (fractured tibia)

Scratched: Jared McCann, Yannick Weber

Status report: Markstrom missed practice Saturday with the flu but is expected to be able to back up Miller. … It appears from practice Cracknell will replace 19-year-old rookie McCann on the fourth line, which should be Vancouver's only lineup change. … Dell was 11-10-5 with a .923 save percentage in the AHL, and could make his NHL debut in the second of a back-to-back against Montreal on Monday. … Neither team skated Sunday morning.

Who's hot: Daniel Sedin has a goal and seven assists in his past six games. … Thornton has two goals and three assists in his past three games, 15 points in his past 11 games, and 28 points in his past 22 games since Jan. 9.

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