Elbow injury slows Canucks' Naslund

The absence of linemate and friend Todd Bertuzzi isn't the only thing affecting Markus Naslund's recent play.

Enduring his longest scoring slump in four years, the Vancouver Canucks' captain also has been hampered by a hyper-extended left elbow since he was knocked out by Steve Moore's hit on Feb. 16 in Colorado.

"I hyper-extended my elbow when I fell," Naslund told the Vancouver Sun. "I feel that it has affected my shooting a little bit. My shot hasn't been as accurate or as heavy as in the past. It has been frustrating.

"It's something I can play through," Naslund added Friday after practice.

Naslund suffered a concussion on the Moore hit but missed just three games. Since then, Naslund has only two goals in 14 games. He led the NHL in goals over the last three seasons, but likely will finish with fewer than 40 for the first time since 1999-00.

"I think he's been a little fatigued," said veteran forward Trevor Linden. "Mentally it's been a tough couple of weeks and it drains a guy. With him, everybody expects too much out of him."

Naslund said he hasn't considered coming out of the lineup because it will require an extended rest for the pain in his elbow to abate. Despite his scoring woes, Vancouver needs his presence in the lineup. Fifth in the Western Conference, the Canucks are two points back of Dallas for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"I feel I want to be out there and trying to help them win, even if I'm not 100 per cent," said Naslund, who is goalless in nine contests. "It's starting to feel a little bit better now."

with files from Canadian Press