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Kesler back for Canucks tonight versus Coyotes

Apr 8, 2013, 2:34 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler Getty Images

Ryan Kesler will be back in Vancouver’s lineup tonight when the Canucks host the Phoenix Coyotes.

Kesler has only appeared in seven games this season. The 28-year-old center missed the start of the year while still recovering from offseason surgery, then broke his foot upon returning in February.

“It’s exciting,” he said today. “It’s been a tough year so far. Now it’s time to get some games in.”

With just 10 games left before the playoffs start and little practice time scheduled, Kesler says the plan is to play himself into shape.

Tonight, he’s expected to skate on a line between wingers Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian.

The Canucks are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games — a stretch that’s featured outstanding goaltending from Cory Schneider, who will reportedly make his 11th straight start tonight as Roberto Luongo remains on the bench.

Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev will sit out with a leg injury.

Related: Kesler ‘itching big time’ to return before playoffs

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