Backup plan: Canucks recall Markstrom from conditioning assignment

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The Vancouver Canucks finally have their No. 2 goalie back.

Jacob Markstrom, who’s yet to play this season after suffering a hamstring injury on Oct. 6, has been recalled from his conditioning assignment with AHL Utica, the Canucks announced on Monday.

In a corresponding move, the team sent down No. 3 netminder Richard Bachman to the Comets.

Markstrom, 25, posted a record of 1-0-1, a 2.40 GAA, and a .909 save percentage during his brief stint in the American League.

There’s no doubt the Canucks are glad to get him back.

With Markstrom sidelined, the club has been forced to rely on Ryan Miller heavily in the early stages of the year, playing Bachman just once. As a result, the 35-year-old Miller currently leads the NHL in games played (14), games started (14), minutes played (851:38, the only goalie over 800) and shots faced (387).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Miller has sagged a bit recently. Here’s a look at his last five games played, including a back-to-back set this weekend in Buffalo and New Jersey:

miller2

As for when Markstrom might make his season debut? The Canucks have five more games left on their current, and lengthy, seven-game road swing: Tuesday in Columbus, Thursday in Ottawa, Saturday in Toronto, Monday, Nov. 16 in Montreal and Wednesday, Nov. 18 in Winnipeg.