Canucks go all the way to San Jose

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

The Canucks head to San Jose for a showdown Thursday against a Sharks team which is trying to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks for the top spot in the Western Conference.

With two games left in the regular season, the Northwest Division champion Canucks can't move up or down from their third-place position.

Goaltender Andrew Raycroft gets the start in what could be his last game as a Canuck. The pending UFA has a 9-4-1 record with a 2.31 GAA this season backing up Roberto Luongo.

Christian Ehrhoff will not travel with the team to San Jose but could return Saturday against Calgary.

With the blueline already suffering a couple big injuries, Vancouver received another scare in practice Wednesday when Mikael Samuelsson's slapshot went off Shane O'Brien's foot. The defenceman laid on the ice for a while before being helped off the ice.

Afterwards, he was walking fine and said he should be ready for Thursday's game.

"It's a long way away from the heart so I should be alright," he joked.

Coach Alain Vigneault adds that spare defenceman Nolan Baumgartner could play in either of the final two games.

The Canucks ran five full lines at practice Wednesday, with the fourth featuring Matt Pettinger at centre flanked by Steve Bernier and Jannik Hansen on the wing. The fifth trio had Darcy Hordichuk, Rick Rypien and Tanner Glass.

The Sharks lead the season series 2-1 after winning the last game 4-2 in San Jose a week and a half ago.

NOMINATED: Henrik Sedin was named the Canucks' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, an award given annually to the player who exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The centre is leading the NHL scoring race by one point (107) ahead of Washington's Alex Ovechkin.


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