Canucks’ Maholtra makes emotional return

Even though he didn’t get on the scoresheet there is still no denying the big impact that Manny Maholtra had on the Vancouver Canucks victory. Malhotra, who hasn’t played since March 16 due to a serious eye injury, received a thunderous ovation from the capacity crowd at Rogers Arena,  as he came out to take the opening faceoff in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory,  in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins of the Stanley Cup Finals. “It was obviously a great feeling, the ovation I got the first shift, but maybe it kind of put a little more nerves on me, wanting to do something out there and execute,” said Maholtra, who is in his first year with Vancouver. “So once I got out there and won my first draw, I felt a little bit better.” Canucks’ coach, Alain Vigneault, used the 31 year-old on the fourth line.  Despite logging only 7:26 of ice time he still had a big impact on the game, as he won six of seven faceoffs, while playing his strong defensive game. Maholtra almost got on the scoresheet, when, in the second period, he set up his linemate, Jeff Tambelini, for a golden opportunity. A play that caught Vigneault’s attention. “It was a real happy moment for our whole group to be able to put Manny in the lineup and to have him play the way he did. … He was good on the ice,” Vigneault said. “He created a scoring chance.” It wasn’t announced until minutes before the opening faceoff that Mahotra would be playing. This was obviously an emotional time for the 13 year veteran, as it was believed back in March that he would miss, not only the remainder of the season, but also the entire playoffs. Some were even wondering if his career might be over. Still the Mississauga native went through he multiple eye surgeries, while keeping a positive mind frame in believing that he would be back. “Obviously, it’s an incredible position to be in,” Malhotra said about his chance to play in the final. “I think that everybody that’s on the ice tonight has dreamed about this at some point or another in their entire career of growing up.” In preparing for game action Maholtra has been taking faceoffs in practice against Ryan Kessler and Maxim Lapierre. “Manny’s been around this team throughout his injury in the last few weeks and he’s been a huge part of our success this year. … We’re really happy for him,” said Canucks captain, Henrik Sedin.

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