VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Vancouver captain Mark Messier returned to the Canucks' lineup Thursday night after missing 15 games because of a knee injury.
``Hopefully I can come back and make a difference,' Messier said after the morning skate. ``You want to make a difference every game you play. It's a little bit harder when you've been out for six weeks. Hopefully I can contribute.'
Right wing Alexander Moginly and defenseman Adrian Aucoin also were back in action for Thursday night's game against Ottawa. Moginly missed eight games because of back spasms, and Aucoin sat out four games because of a groin strain.
Messier sprained a ligament in his right knee in a Nov. 9 game against San Jose.
Peter Twist, the team's strength and conditioning coach, marveled at Messier's rehabilitation workouts, saying the 38-year-old forward spent four hours a day on and off the ice.
``He was very willing and he was very driven. He worked at it extremely hard,' Twist said. ``He wanted not just to come back, but to come back and excel and play his game.'
Messier is the league's leading active scorer with 615 goals and 1,672 career points. He has five goals and seven assists in 16 games this season.
The Canucks entered the game 0-4-1 their last five games and 1-7-3 in their last 11.
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