BURNABY, B.C. — Elias Pettersson says there’s a “good chance” he’ll be in the lineup when his Vancouver Canucks face the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
The star rookie has missed five games since suffering a knee injury when he got tangled up with Canadiens centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi in Montreal on Jan. 4.
Pettersson put in a full practice with his teammates in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday and says he’ll check in with the medical staff to see whether he’s a go for an afternoon matchup with the Wings.
Canucks coach Travis Green says the 20-year-old centre has been cleared for contact and looked good on the ice Saturday.
Pettersson leads Vancouver in scoring with 22 goals and 20 assists this year.
He also sits atop the NHL’s rookie scoring race, up 11 goals and 16 points from his nearest competition, Colin White of the Ottawa Senators.
Green says you can’t replace a player like Pettersson in the lineup but it has been nice to see other athletes step up and score in his absence.
“There’s guys that in the league that are high-point producers and we’re not going to ask someone to do something that they are not capable of and we don’t want that,” he said. “We want guys to play their game and play their game of the best of their capability, we’ve tried to install some offensive different looks in our game this season that I think our guys are starting to grasp and its nice to see them get rewarded.”
Pettersson said earlier this week that he’s learned “a little bit” from watching games from the press box.
“But to be honest, I hate watching hockey,” he said. “I’d rather play hockey.”