Sedin twins get new linemate
Looking to light a fire under his slumping club, Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault will juggle his lines for Thursday's road game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Canucks have fallen on hard times as of late, losing four of their last fives games, including a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat suffered at the hands of the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
During Wednesday's practice, Vigneault promoted speedy forward Mason Raymond to play on the team's top line alongside Swedish siblings Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Steve Bernier, the Sedins' usual linemate, was demoted to the third line and will play with Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt.
Vigneault hopes the line changes will spark the offence and pay dividends when the Canucks take to the ice against the Kings.
The Canucks coach also wanted to reward Raymond, who has six points in his last six games.
"Obviously we need to find a way here to get both Daniel and Henrik to contribute offensively and right now one of our best offensive personnel has been Mason," Vigneault told the team's official website.
"He's been getting a lot of chances, with his skating he's been getting to open ice, so we'll try that and see what we can come up with during the games."
Vigneault believes the Sedins can benefit playing on the same line as the quick and swift Raymond
"A lot of their chances lately have been coming off the rush .… A lot of their chances do come on the rush and maybe they will be able to create more and then from there because of that rush chance instead of getting into a cycle mode right away, maybe with Mason's speed they'll be able to go to the net a little bit quicker," Vigneault said.
The Sedins have only tallied three points between them in the last five games, but Vigneault said that while they haven't been scoring, they have been creating chances.
"I believe that the twins with everything they've brought to the forefront, I believe when we look at the stats at the end of the year, they're going to have a point or more a game," said Vigneault. "I'm hoping that the turnaround here, when they get on a roll, is a lot sooner than later."
Bernier, who has five points this season — one assist in his last three games — took his demotion in good spirits.
"It's another opportunity," said Bernier. "I'm a team player and I want to win. I'm playing with two good players in Pyatt and Kyle Wellwood right now. So, I'm going to try play a very good game offensively and defensively and hopefully we're going to win the two points."