VANCOUVER - The throng of media at the Canucks practice Monday was to be expected.
With the Montreal Canadiens in town Tuesday for their lone visit to Vancouver this season, the locker room was more crowded with cameras and recorders, the attention more heightened.
Amongst the popular interviewee was Alex Burrows, who is looking forward to facing the franchise he grew up watching and cheering for.
"It's going to be a lot of fun playing against them," said the Pincourt, Que., native. "There's going to be a lot of atmosphere and intensity in the building. A lot of Habs fans probably, it should be a good one."
Montreal boy Roberto Luongo, who is two wins away from 300 in his career, also did his fair share of French and English media scrums.
"It's always a bit more special when you play Montreal," said the goaltender. "It'll be fun to play those guys knowing everyone will be watching back home, but at the same time it's just a hockey game and we want to get the win."
The Canucks, playing the second game of a six-game homestand, will look to take advantage of the struggling Canadiens, a team that's won just once in their last seven games. On Sunday at the Heritage Classic in Calgary, they were pounded 4-0 by the surging Flames.
B.C.'s own Carey Price will get the start in net for the Habs, currently sixth in the Eastern Conference. The 23-year-old Montreal goaltender already has career highs in 27 wins and six shutouts – one of which came in November against the Canucks in a 2-0 win.
Here comes the cavalry
Dan Hamhuis returns to the lineup after missing five games with a concussion. The defenceman, who will be paired with Sami Salo, says it was a quick recovery considering how bad the hit looked. "I feel fortunate and happy to be back quickly," he said.
Meanwhile Keith Ballard, who practiced with the team Monday, is expected to suit up Thursday against St. Louis.
Coho back up
Cody Hodgson has been recalled to centre the fourth line. Rookie Evan Oberg was sent back to Manitoba to make room for Hamhuis.