Kevin Bieksa

Bieksa back for Canucks versus Preds

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The Vancouver Canucks should get a key player back in their lineup tonight as defenseman Kevin Bieksa expects to suit up against the Predators at Rogers Arena.

Bieksa has missed seven of Vancouver’s last eight games with a groin injury, with the Canucks winning just once in the seven games he was sidelined.

“I’m feeling good now,” said Bieksa. “I’ve had probably five or six days of being pain-free so I think that’s a good thing.”

If he plays, Bieksa will replace Cam Barker, with Keith Ballard being the other healthy scratched defenseman.

Roberto Luongo will start in goal after stopping 26 of 27 shots in Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout win in Columbus.

The Canucks have also recalled physical forward Steve Pinizzotto from AHL Chicago. Head coach Alain Vigneault says it’s possible the 28-year-old, who’s currently en route to Vancouver, could make his NHL debut tonight.

Related: Vigneault feeling the heat

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: