With their goaltender situation receiving a temporary patch, the Vancouver Canucks hope to bounce back as their tour of California continues.
After taking a 1-0 defeat at Anaheim against the Ducks on Wednesday, the Canucks head up the road for a Thursday matchup with the Los Angeles Kings, who are returning from a lengthy trip after getting displaced from their home arena because of the Grammy Awards.
Jacob Markstrom was back in goal for the Canucks on Wednesday after missing a game reportedly because of back spasms. The Canucks went with 19-year old Michael DiPietro in goal Monday, and the youngster's NHL debut ended with a 7-2 defeat to the surging San Jose Sharks.
DiPietro was returned to Ottawa of the Ontario Hockey League on Tuesday, and the Canucks acquired Marek Mazanec from the New York Rangers in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick. Mazanec, who has 31 games of NHL experience, all with the Nashville Predators, has a career 8-13-4 record with a 2.98 goals-against average. He could start in goal Thursday on the second night of back-to-back games.
Mazanec's time with the Canucks would appear to be short. Goaltender Thatcher Demko, who has been out for over a week due to a knee sprain, could be ready to go when the Canucks return from their three-game trip for a Feb. 21 game against the Arizona Coyotes.
Markstrom looked fresh while making 21 saves Wednesday. It was the kind of performance the Canucks could have used Monday against the Sharks.
"We thought (Markstrom) was going to be able to play (Monday)," Canucks general manager Jim Benning told the Vancouver Sun. "But then he felt tightness. We didn't want to run the risk (of further injury). We need him here down the stretch."
On tour because of music's biggest night on Sunday, the Kings are now hoping they can pull off the season's biggest comeback. They have managed to play better of late, going 3-2-1 on their trip.
However, because the Kings have been toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings all season, a roster shuffle has already started. Forward Nate Thompson was traded to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, some three weeks after defenseman Jake Muzzin was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
More moves are expected before the Feb. 25 trade deadline, creating an extra layer of distraction.
"I know we're on a team where guys have already been traded," Kings left winger Carl Hagelin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I think all the other times, I haven't really been aware of the fact that I'm going to get traded. Here, you never know. We need to start winning, and that's the bottom line. I definitely don't look into it too much, because I know if it happens, it happens."
In addition to Demko's injury, the Canucks have three players who are day-to-day: center Brandon Sutter (upper body), defenseman Alexander Edler (concussion) and left winger Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome).
Kings center Jeff Carter is day-to-day because of a lower-body injury, while right winger Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder) is out indefinitely.
--Field Level Media