Canucks vs. Kings
7 p.m. PDT, Rogers Arena
TV: CBC; Radio: Team 1040
For defenceman Kevin Bieksa, there are two types of opponents.
“You either don’t like a team or you don’t mind them,” the Vancouver Canucks defenceman said today. “This a team we don’t like, we haven’t liked them for a long time.”
Bieksa was talking about the Los Angeles Kings, who the Canucks meet tonight at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks have had no success against the Kings this season. Los Angeles has won all four meetings to date and the Canucks, with little else to play for, hope to salvage something from the season series tonight.
“They are a divisional rival,” Bieksa said. “We have had some tough games with them, some emotional games so far this season. Regardless of the position we’re in right now, we want to beat these guys. We’ll play with an edge, we’ll play hard and we’ll see where the game goes.”
The Canucks, who have lost their last three games, could officially be eliminated from the playoffs tonight if they lose in regulation and the Dallas Stars beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We have played desperate hockey for a while,” winger Zack Kassian said. “It hasn’t worked out, but we’re in a group here that is not going to quit and we are going to play hard for each other. There’s a lot of pride in this dressing room and I wouldn’t expect anything less than going out there and playing like we are a playoff team and a contender.”
The Canucks will make a couple of lineup changes tonight. Captain Henrik Sedin, who has missed the last four games with a leg injury, returns to the lineup. Vancouver has also recalled defenceman Frank Corrado from the AHL’s Utica Comets. Corrado is expected to play for Yannick Weber, who coach John Tortorella said is “nicked up.”
“We know we have to win,” Henrik said. “If we lose we’re out. It’s too bad we are where we are, but this is what has been happening and we need a win. . .I’m ready to go.”
Henrik said the Canucks have lots to play for these last five games.
“I think we have to show that are a team and keep playing as a team.” he said.
“We have five games left and five more nights to have some fun out there, make some plays and win some games,” added Bieksa. “We just want to play good hockey. You always want to go out on a good note. We have been playing some good hockey the last month, so we just want to continue to do that.
“Push these teams, win some games. Same goals. The goal is still to go out there and win the game and to out-compete the other team, whether or not they are playing all their guys or whether or not they want the win or not is irrelevant to us.”
The Kings have been winning lots of games lately. They have won seven of their last nine and clinched a playoff spot earlier this week.
“We have had problems with all the California teams, LA being one of them,” Tortorella said. “It’s a really good team, it’s a big team, it has found its way after the Olympic break.”
Eddie Lack will make his 18th straight start in goal for the Canucks, while Jonathan Quick will start for the Kings.
The Kings will rest defenceman Robyn Regehr tonight. Rookie Andrew Campbell will take his spot in the lineup.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Canucks: Winger Chris Higgins is second on the Canucks with 17 goals. But he has gone 11 games without a goal and has only one in his last 18 outings.
Kings: Captain Dustin Brown has struggled offensively this season. He enters tonight’s game with just 26 points in 75 games.
Canucks: Vancouver is missing forward Mike Santorelli (shoulder) and defencemen Andrew Alberts (concussion), Chris Tanev (finger) and Yannick Weber (undisclosed).
Kings: Forward Dwight King (undisclosed) and defenceman Drew Doughty (shoulder) are questionable.
ICE CHIPS: With Henrik Sedin back in the lineup, center Jordan Schroeder will be a healthy scratch tonight. . .Dennis LaRue and Kevin Pollack are tonight’s referees. Kiel Murchison and Jay Sharrers will work the lines. . .Canucks winger David Booth will appear on Hockey Night in Canada’s After Hours post-game segment tonight, where he undoubtedly will be asked about kissing a bear.
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