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(Report/article) Daniel Sedin Expected To Play Game 1


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Didn't on Hockey Night in Canada last night denounce the reports that he had been skating on his own?

I would guess Keith Ballard is a lot closer to returning to the lineup than Daniel Sedin since he's been skating with the team for over a week now.

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The best news for the Canucks' ailing power play is that Daniel Sedin has been skating on his own and is expected to play opening night of the playoffs.

Henrik Sedin said his brother had some concern about whether he'd be able to start the postseason in the hours and days immediately after Duncan Keith's elbow bashed through his jaw.

But since, Daniel has progressed, and got "better and better," leaving him with little doubt now that he'll start when the playoffs begin, most likely Wednesday.

Daniel missed his ninth game Saturday with a concussion, the season finale. Today is a team off day, leaving Daniel with possible practice days on Monday and Tuesday when he could potentially skate with the team.

Will that be enough? Henrik was sure of it when it was suggested to him it would take Daniel five skates to prep himself for the playoffs.

"If it takes him five skates to get ready, I'm guessing he would skate five times in one day," Henrik said. "That means he's going to be ready pretty quick. We'll see what happens."

If there was any doubt before about Daniel's return, coach Alain Vigneault sure showed his hand when he said he was putting Andrew Ebbett with Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin on the top line for Saturday's regular season finale against the Edmonton Oilers. If Daniel was at all a question mark, why would you play Ebbett on the top line? Maybe, but it seems doubtful, especially with the run Max Lapierre has been on there.

However, there are no guarantees. Like Daniel, Jonathan Toews is hoping to return for the start of the playoffs, but is not symptom-free and doesn't feel like himself whenever he's on the ice. He didn't play the Hawks' final game Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

"Well, there's concern for sure," Henrik said. "With [Toews], I'm sure after a week he thought he'd be able to play in three or four days, and all of a sudden it's 20 games later and he still hasn't played.

"That's always going to be there. Until [Daniel] is back. And that's where we are.

"Early on, maybe [Daniel was concerned], but as time has moved on he's felt better and better . . . But until you are out on the ice and you feel comfortable playing a game it's always going to be there."

Sure, the power play was a dog before Daniel got hurt. But it's sunk to new depths since, going 2-for-35 in the past nine games. Even Henrik is stunned.

"It does surprise me because I think we have a lot of time in their end and you would think with the amount of shots we're taking and one or two more should have sneaked in. You'd think we'd get a bounce," Henrik said. "It hasn't happened for us. You can say whatever you want about bounces but if you look at the stats, they don't lie.

"Something is missing. Maybe we're too comfortable. We think without traffic or good screens, or without getting guys to rebounds, we're still going to score goals. That's not going to happen.

"We're a team like Detroit or Pittsburgh. We should be able to score on the power play."

The Canucks will adjust their lineup yet again. Lapierre, whose arrival on the top line marked the turning point of Henrik's second half slump, will now take his act to Ryan Kesler's line.

Kesler has just five points in his past 18 games.

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