Canucks' Manny Malhotra plays

Updated: June 4, 2011, 10:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Canucks forward Manny Malhotra is in the lineup for Saturday night's Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. Teammate defenseman Dan Hamhuis is not.

Malhotra took part in the team's morning skate at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Hamhuis did not.

Malhotra had not played since a deflected puck hit him in the face March 16. The Canucks' third-line center underwent at least two surgeries on his left eye but returned to practice two weeks ago with a full-face shield.

Malhotra, wearing a full-face shield, was the last player on the ice for warm-ups and he got the biggest cheer from the crowd as it made its way into the building on Saturday night. He was greeted by more cheers and chants of "Manny, Manny" when he beat Boston's Chris Kelly on a faceoff 1:48 into the game that marked his first career shift in the finals.

"For me it will obviously be a very touching moment," Malhotra said Saturday morning when his playing status was still a gametime decision. "It's obviously an incredible position to be in. Everybody on the ice tonight has dreamed about this at some point or another in their careers or growing up. I realize the significance of the moment."

The 10-year NHL veteran also knows the importance of not being overcome by it.

"Once the puck's dropped, I'm going to have to bring it back to basics," Malhotra said. "Just another game, do the things I've done my whole career."

Hamhuis hadn't skated since sustaining a lower-body injury in the second period of Game 1.

Information from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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