Ryan Miller

Bonino expected to return for Canucks versus Bruins

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The Vancouver Canucks, inundated with injuries of late, will actually have a player returning to the lineup tonight in Boston.

Nick Bonino (11G, 14A) is expected to be back centering the second line. The 26-year-old has been out since Feb. 9, when he hurt his foot blocking a shot versus Minnesota.

“It’s always good when you get some guys back,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said, per NHL.com. “You know he’s a big part for us and we’ve missed him while he’s been out. So if he’s back it’ll be great.”

The Canucks will still be without a number of regulars versus the Bruins, including three key defensemen, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, and Chris Tanev. Winger Alex Burrows is also expected to miss tonight’s game. And, of course, Ryan Miller will be sidelined for a while, leaving the starting goalie duties to Eddie Lack.

The Canucks have two games left on their five-game trip. They finish up Thursday in Buffalo.

Projected lines tonight:

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Zack Kassian
Shawn Matthias – Nick Bonino – Radim Vrbata
Chris Higgins – Linden Vey – Derek Dorsett
Ronalds Kenins – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen

Related: With Krejci injured (again), opportunity knocks (again) for Spooner

With Miller reportedly out 4-6 weeks, Canucks ‘confident’ in Lack

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With Ryan Miller reportedly out 4-6 weeks due to a lower-body injury suffered Sunday on Long Island, Canucks GM Jim Benning addressed reporters today ahead of tomorrow’s game in Boston.

Benning was vague on Miller’s prognosis, saying more evaluation was needed before a timeline for return could be provided.

“He’ll do an MRI in the next couple of days and we’ll know where he’s at,” Benning said (audio). “We won’t know the extend of it until he gets the MRI done. We’re hoping it won’t be too long, but we’ll have a better idea in the next couple of days.”

In the meantime, the Canucks have recalled Jacob Markstrom from the Utica Comets.

Markstrom, acquired from Florida in the Roberto Luongo trade, is among the AHL leaders with a .932 save percentage in 26 appearances. His play in the minors has many wondering if he could be the Canucks’ full-time backup next season.

“He’s had a real good year down in Utica,” said Benning. “[He] deserves a chance to come up and help our team win. … We think he’s made great strides in his game, so this will be a good opportunity to get him up and see where he’s at.”

But for now, the Canucks are Eddie Lack’s team. The popular 27-year-old has a respectable .917 save percentage in 20 appearances, which is actually higher than Miller’s .913 mark in 44 games.

“When we started the year, we wanted to have depth in goal for this very situation,” said Benning.

“Going into the season, when we signed Ryan, we wanted an experienced goalie in this marketplace. (But) Eddie was the number-one goalie at the end of last year, so he can carry that load for us. We’re confident in him. He’s played well for us this year.”

Miller headed back to Vancouver for MRI; Sestito won’t play for rest of season (Updated)

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A couple of Canucks notes this Monday morning:

— Goalie Ryan Miller, injured in yesterday’s game on Long Island, is on his way back to Vancouver for an MRI, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. Miller’s agent, Mike Liut, apparently thinks his client could be out a few weeks, based on how he left the ice. The Canucks are expected to recall Jacob Markstrom from AHL Utica to serve as Eddie Lack’s backup.

Miller was limping “badly” after yesterday’s game, per The Province.

The newspaper also notes, “Markstrom can play 10 games, or stay with the club for 30 days, whichever comes first, without having to clear waivers on his way back to the AHL.”

Markstrom has an impressive .932 save percentage with the Comets.

— The Canucks also announced today that forward Tom Sestito will not play for either Vancouver or Utica for the remainder of this season.

“Sestito will workout on his own and will continue to receive his salary while the Canucks work to identify a new club where he can continue his career,” read the statement.

Sestito played 10 games for the Comets after being waived by the Canucks, scoring once with no assists.

Update:

Related: Sestito sounds off, says he ‘hasn’t been given a fair shake’ in Vancouver

Video: Ryan Miller injured during collision with teammate

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The Vancouver Canucks could have a worrisome injury on their hands, as Ryan Miller suffered a lower-body injury colliding with teammate Jannik Hansen during Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders:

No word yet on how serious it is, but Miller was replaced by Eddie Lack at least early on. The Canucks couldn’t help but joke about injury issues:

What would that make the Columbus Blue Jackets’ injury bug, then?

Update: Miller and Lack ultimately combined for a shutout in a 4-0 win.

The latest word on Miller isn’t so positive, however:

Goalie nods: Canadian Olympians square off as Price faces Luongo in Montreal

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A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.

Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.

With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.

So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!

Elsewhere…

Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.

Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.

Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.

Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.

Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.