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Lee Sweatt, called up from the AHL Manitoba Moose to help plug the holes, soon found himself in the infirmary and has missed seven games with a foot injury.

Salo was on the shelf for the first 55 games of the season with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon he hurt playing floorball in the off-season in Finland.

Still, the Canucks have found a way to stay two points ahead of Philadelphia for the overall lead, have a five-point cushion on Detroit atop the Western Conference and are 15 ahead of surging Calgary in the Northwest Division.

It doesn’t hurt that Daniel Sedin (77 points) and brother Henrik (72) are one-three in NHL scoring and that the Canucks have the league’s best power play and rank fourth in penalty kills.

“The young guys coming in have done a really good job,” Hamhuis said. “Our forwards have been a little more conscious of their defensive responsibilities as well.”

NOTES: With Hamhuis’s return, the Canucks assigned Oberg to the AHL Manitoba Moose. They also recalled C Cody Hodgson, whom coach Alain Vigneault described as another fourth-line option before next week’s trade deadline. … Hodgson scored his first NHL goal in a five-game call-up earlier this season.