For all the talk about the Sedins’ ice time, an equally big — if not bigger — factor for the Vancouver Canucks in these playoffs has been the way their second line, once anchored by Ryan Kesler, has been wholly ineffective versus the Calgary Flames.
Enter Sven Baertschi, the former Flames prospect, who’s expected to make his series debut Thursday at Rogers Arena on a line with center Nick Bonino and winger Radim Vrbata.
“Vrbata, he’s a real good scorer. Bonino’s a real good play-maker,” coach Willie Desjardins said today after practice. “I think that’s a real natural fit, and we just have to find somebody on the other side that’ll complement that line.”
Baertschi scored twice in his last game for the Canucks, a meaningless 6-5 OT win over the Oilers on the last day of the regular season. The 13th overall pick in 2011, Baertschi’s strength is scoring goals, and Vancouver’s only scored eight of those against the hard-working, shot-blocking Flames.
While Baertschi has said he doesn’t think about his former organization anymore, that he’s all about the Canucks now, his insertion into the lineup is a noteworthy story for both fan bases, and one would assume he’ll be suitably motivated to make an impact.
One player who won’t be making an impact for the rest of the series is Alex Burrows. Desjardins confirmed the veteran winger is still in Calgary recovering from the injury (reportedly a broken rib) that put him in hospital yesterday.
“It’s nothing to worry about,” said Desjardins. “It’s kind of a comfort thing (staying in Calgary). … He won’t be back for the series. … It’s an injury, but nothing serious.”
Desjardins, predictably, did not name his starting goalie for Game 5. He’ll save that announcement for tomorrow.
The Flames lead the series, 3-1.