As the level of panic continues to rise in Vancouver, the stumbling Canucks will at least get power forward Zack Kassian back in the lineup tonight when they host the St. Louis Blues.
Kassian has missed the last two games, both losses, with a sore back.
Granted, how much he can help is questionable, given the 22-year-old hasn’t scored in 19 games — a slump that began after kicking off the season with five goals in seven games.
In the net for Vancouver will be Cory Schneider, who gets the nod following four straight Roberto Luongo starts.
Luongo didn’t fare particularly well in those starts, surrendering 13 goals in total. The veteran’s save percentage has since fallen all the way to .904 — not exactly the best-case scenario for general manager Mike Gillis, who’s been trying to trade Luongo for help in other areas, such as a third-line center.
Gillis, along with head coach Alain Vigneault, have been facing more and more criticism as the two-time defending Presidents’ Trophy winners have faltered. After last night’s home loss to the Wild, Vancouver sits two points behind Minnesota in the race for top spot in the Northwest Division.
The Blues, meanwhile, have won three straight.
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.
“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.
Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.
It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.
Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.
He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.
Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.
If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.
The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.
The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.