Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Canucks' Higgins OK for Game 6

Categories: Nashville Predators, VAN vs. NSH, Vancouver Canucks

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Chris Higgins, left, hurt a foot blocking a shot in Game 5. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) Chris Higgins, left, hurt a foot blocking a shot in Game 5. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)
By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports

NASHVILLE - Second-line forward Chris Higgins gave his teammates a scare when he left the Vancouver Canucks' morning skate early.

But afterwards Higgins and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault revealed that the player was fine and will play in Game 6 on Monday (CBC,, 8 p.m. ET).

Vancouver has a 3-2 lead in the second-round series against the Nashville Predators after the Predators' gutsy 4-3 road victory on Saturday.

In Game 5, Higgins blocked a shot and was in pain in the third period. But after a visit to the dressing room he returned to action. The former Montreal Canadiens forward, who has scored three goals in these playoffs, has walked around with a limp since the blocked shot. He said on Monday that his foot is sore, but x-rays were negative.

Veteran Mikael Samuelsson will not play for the Canucks. He left Saturday's game favouring his left leg. Either Victor Oreskovich or Jeff Tambelllini will replace Samuelsson on the fourth line.

The Canucks also tinkered with their defence pairings. Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa stayed together, but Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Edler were split up. Ehrhoff was partnered with Aaron Rome, while Edler was with veteran Sami Salo.

On the Nashville side, the Predators likely will have third liners Jerred Smithson and Nick Spaling in the lineup. Smithson suffered an upper-body injury in Game 4 that forced him out of Saturday's game. He said his undisclosed ailment was not related to the elbow to the face he took from Vancouver's Ryan Kesler in Game 4.

Spaling was checked hard into the end boards by Salo on Saturday, and although he returned to the game later in the third period he missed significant time after he hit.


When the Predators arrived home on Sunday after their triumph in Game 5, close to 500 fans met them at the airport. Nashville forward Joel Ward, who scored twice in the third period to give the Predators the 4-3 win, got such a kick out of the party he started snapping pictures of the crowd with his cell phone.

Ice conditions

The thermometer in Nashville was supposed to hit a high of 32 Celsius, with the air extremely humid, which could make for poor ice conditions on Monday. The Predators installed dehumidifiers to combat warm and humid temperatures in the previous round, but the ice conditions will be far from perfect by the time the capacity crowd of 17,113 fills the Bridgestone Arena.


Steve Kozari and Stephen Walkom will referee Game 6. Greg Devorski and Jean Morin will be the linesmen.