Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the OC Register,
Game 4 is tonight at GM Place, and the Canucks are not about to back down.
“The main thing is what we believe in this locker room,” Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo said. “There’s going to be speculation outside the locker room, but the most important thing is we believe in our group and we believe we can get the job done. We’ve proven that we can play with these guys. Apart from the first game, they’ve been all tight games. We’re just going to keep plugging away.”
While many in the media, particularly those from Vancouver, might have been guilty of writing off the Canucks after the first game of the series, the Ducks certainly did not fall into that category.
from the Vancouver Sun,
Make no mistake: the twins earned this pressure by breaking out as headliners this season, leapfrogging Naslund and his many assorted linemates, and they say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We waited a long time to get this kind of pressure on us,” Henrik said Monday. “We want to be out there on big power plays, we like that. It’s not like we don’t want to be out there. We want to make a difference. And we know we have to do better.”
from the Vancouver Province,
For the Canucks, possibly the most dismaying part of being down 2-1 in their series with Anaheim is that the Ducks have taken the lead while their two biggest defensive stars have been, well, average.
There hasn’t been much in the way of magic, dominance or impact—as of yet—from Chris Pronger and/or Scott Niedermayer, the best defensive pairing since Mean Joe Greene and Jack Lambert….
Part of the reason the Ducks have so easily weathered any mini-slump by their defensive superstars is the fact that—as Yoda once put it—there is another.
Enter Francois Beauchemin, who has all the skills and none of the hype. He is the George Harrison to his Paul McCartney-and John Lennon-like teammates.
via the LA Times (reg. req.),
While playing the Blackhawks on April 29, 1982, in the second game of the conference finals, Canucks Coach Roger Neilson became convinced referee Bob Myers was biased against his team. After yet another call went against the Canucks, Neilson grabbed a white towel, stuck it on the blade of a spare stick and began waving it in mock surrender behind his team’s bench at Chicago Stadium.
Several Canucks players joined him, making their point very clear. Although Neilson was fined $1,000 by the NHL, the towels were a hit back in Vancouver. A local businessman printed up and sold several thousand towels — with the proceeds going to a charity — and fans snapped them up for the next home game. And the next, and the next.
from the Vancouver Sun,
In the eyes of Canuck coach Alain Vigneault and his players, they are the not- so- mighty Ducks. And the Canucks figure they can prove it, if only they can get their special teams act together.
The Canucks outplayed Anaheim at even- strength Sunday night, but another subpar performance by their power- play and penalty- kill units allowed the Ducks to skate to a 3- 2 win and a 2- 1 lead in their best- of- seven Western Conference semifinal series.
“I thought five- on- five we were good again, but the difference was obviously special teams,” Vigneault said. “Theirs were better than ours. It was a tight game and we had some chances at the end, but couldn’t get it done.”
fromm the Hockey News,
• I heard Monday Night Football commentator Tony Kornheiser say the NFL is just more fun when the Chicago Bears are good. I think the same can be said for the Rangers, or any Original Six team for that matter. For some reason, things are just more interesting when a classic club is in the mix.
• The Canadian anthem singer puts me in the mind of Adam Sandler’s “Opera Guy” character from Saturday Night Live. Somebody should get Sandler to do an anthem. Yes, really.
• Ducks win, but we’ll leave you with a one question. A) Is Chris Pronger hurting? He doesn’t look like the dominating, peak-of-his game Chris Pronger on this night. We suspect we’ll see a different Pronger as the series matures.
from the Vancouver Province,
Rory Fitzpatrick is the latest victim of this bad-luck flu cocktail. The defenceman was injured, or caught the flu, sometime late in Game 2 in Anaheim.
He remains doubtful tonight for Game 3. As does Sami Salo who hurt his lower back, or caught the flu, in the Dallas series when he was slew-footed by Ladislav Nagy.
Kevin Bieksa, who skated on his own Saturday, said he can finally see “light at the end of the tunnel” recovering from what is believed to be an upper rib or shoulder injury.
But the light is still a ways off and the best-case estimate has Bieksa coming back only at the end of this series with the Ducks.
“I can’t tell you exactly who is in and who’s out right now because I don’t know,” Vigneault said. “Right now, I’m not sure what our defence is going to look like.”
From Lonnie White at the LA Times,
Getting production from the Ducks’ grinders is important in this series because Vancouver uses a four-line rotation. That might have played a role in the Ducks’ Game 2 defeat.
Each Canucks forward had at least 22 shifts and more than 13 minutes of ice time, while the Ducks stuck with a three-line rotation and their forwards seemed to tire in the second overtime.
“We have to go out and play physical and create some energy; that’s our job here in the playoffs,” Thornton said. “Whatever we can chip in offensively would be a big help to the team.”
That has not been a problem for the Canucks, who won Game 2 on fourth-line winger Jeff Cowan’s overtime goal.
From Ben Kuzma at The Province,
Like Sgt. Rock of comic-book fame, Willie Mitchell should be chomping down on a cigar and tugging on a machine-gun trigger while leading his troops to victory.
The Vancouver Canucks defenceman not only battled back from an early injury Friday in a 2-1 double-overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks, he expects a similar effort today in the Western Conference semifinal series now even at one game apiece.
“We’ve got more in the bag,” said Mitchell. “We’re underdogs I guess and a lot of people were writing us off after Game 1. They were saying that [Ducks] team is too much for us, and that’s motivation.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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