Canucks’ Boeser set to return from injury vs. Kings

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Vancouver Canucks are – finally – about to catch a break on the injury front.

Brock Boeser appears likely to return to the lineup Tuesday as the Canucks (11-13-2) host the Los Angeles Kings (14-14-1). He took part in Monday’s practice, resuming his spot on Vancouver’s top line after missing 11 games with a groin injury.

“It’s been a while since I got to skate with the guys, so it was nice to get out there and skate with them – and I felt good,” Boeser told reporters.

Boeser, a 21-year-old Burnsville, Minn., native, was a National Hockey League rookie of the year finalist in 2017-18 as he put up 60 points. He ranks sixth on the team in scoring this season with four goals and seven assists in just 13 games.

His return will help the injury-riddled Canucks pack more offensive punch. The Canucks averaged only two goals per game during a recently concluded eight-game losing streak on which they only produced 16 goals. Vancouver posted only two wins during Boeser’s 11-game hiatus.

Boeser’s lengthy spell in sick bay came after he aggravated the groin injury while playing four games after missing two. He was extra-careful with the groin issue after missing the final 16 games of 2017-18 with a broken bone in his back.

“I didn’t want it to linger all year because that could turn into something even worse if you keep playing with an injury,” Boeser said. “(We) clarified some things, obviously, that I didn’t have a hernia, and we kind of dialed into what was wrong and what we had to fix. I was cautious to make sure we knew what the problem is, the root of the problem, and make sure we fix it.”

His return could help the Canucks regain some offensive consistency. The Canucks averaged only two goals per game during a recently concluded eight-game losing streak on which they only produced 16 goals. Meanwhile, Vancouver posted only two wins during Boeser’s 11-game hiatus.

“He’s a big part of our offense,” Canucks coach Travis Green told reporters. “We’ve missed him.”

Meanwhile, the Kings could also get a key player back Tuesday. Goaltender Jonathan Quick is close to returning after missing 12 games due to knee surgery.

Quick, 32, has struggled this season, posting a 0-3-1 record 4.55 goals-against average along with a .845 save percentage in only four games. He also missed four games with a different undisclosed lower-body injury. But now that he is healthy, Quick should be able to provide more strength in net.

The Kings’ goaltending troubles worsened when minor-league call-up Jack Campbell, like Quick, suffered a torn meniscus and underwent similar surgery.

Meanwhile, L.A. interim coach Willie Desjardins will coach at Rogers Arena for the first time since being fired by the Canucks after the 2016-17, when Vancouver missed the playoffs for the second straight season. He has already faced his former club – the Canucks beat the Kings in L.A. on Saturday, ending their losing skid.

The Canucks missed the playoffs in the final two of his three seasons as they began a rebuilding process that is ongoing. But Desjardins, who replaced the fired Jon Stevens behind the Kings bench earlier this month, said he has no regrets about his time with the Canucks.

“It was a good place to be, and I enjoyed my time there,” he told The Los Angeles Times.