Canucks Report: Ballard is back

Bieksa's still out with Ballard returning

Tuesday, 05.03.2013 / 3:44 PM / Features
By Colin Hope
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Canucks Report: Ballard is back

Kevin Bieksa will remain out the line-up for the Vancouver Canucks, who face the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night at Rogers Arena; Bieksa continues to nurse an injured groin.

The 31-year-old defenceman has been troubled by the leg injury, sitting out three of his club's last four games, since aggravating it February 22nd in Nashville.

Alain Vigneault says the team will take their time in bringing Bieksa back after he suffered a setback during the Canucks win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

"Everybody that watched that game saw he was playing really well. He was quick, he was strong one on one. Then towards the end of the game, one push and he felt it again."

Alain Vigneault says Bieksa will remain "day-to-day."

Ballard's Back

Bieksa's absence means Keith Ballard draws back into the line-up after being a healthy scratch the previous two games.

Ballard admitted he understood the reasoning for his sitting out following some tough outings the last two weeks.

"I haven't played well enough, so I sat," said Ballard. "I think before that I was playing real solid, but sometimes it's game to game."

Vigneault said scratching Ballard had as much to do with getting ice time for Andrew Alberts and Cam Barker as it did Ballard's recent performance.

"We had wanted to take a look at Alberts and Barker," said Vigneault.

"His last couple games his performance had slipped. It shouldn't have been a surprise he got sat out. He had been told three of the last four games weren't what we wanted. He will get another opportunity tonight and hopefully he will play well."

Ballard will lineup with Cam Barker to form the third defensive unit.

Danish Daddy

Jannik Hansen has back-to-back multi-point games for the first time in his career which is even more impressive given his wife gave birth to twin boys early Sunday morning.

His line, with Mason Raymond and Chris Higgins, will stay intact following two strong games with the group combining for five goals and eight points.

"We've been on a roll. Mason, Higgy and I kind of find a way to feed off each other using speed and work ethic and we are getting some opportunities to score," said Hansen.

For Raymond, who's centering the line, finding chemsitry early has been crucial.

"I've played with them quite a bit. I think we compliment each other well. The more time we spend in the offensive zone the better off we are."

Raymond, who's six goals ties him with Chris Higgins for second on the team, credits his new linemates for the groups success.

"Jannik's ability to see the ice right now has been very good. Chris has been working the boards and going hard to the net. Those are all combinations that can make a line successful."

Cory Schneider will be back in net after Roberto Luongo started Sunday in Calgary. Schneider took the loss the last time the Canucks faced San Jose making 23 saves on 27 shots, but does have a winning 3-2 record against the Sharks in his career.