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Posted On Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 8:07 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Flames series blog

Canucks goalie Lack focused heading into Game 3

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins had to pause for a sip of water to soothe his hoarse voice as he talked to the media before boarding a flight to Calgary on Saturday.

Desjardins was asked if he lost his voice yelling at goalie Eddie Lack, who said his coach was screaming at him to stay out of a post-whistle scrum that saw all five players from each team square off around Lack's net with 1:17 left in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round on Friday, a 4-1 Canucks win against the Calgary Flames.

"I don't know if that might have happened," Desjardins said with a chuckle.

Desjardins was a lot clearer about how he expects Lack to handle future altercations around his crease when the best-of-7 series resumes in Calgary on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Posted On Friday, 04.17.2015 / 4:58 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Flames series blog

Flames want better discipline, more zone time

VANCOUVER -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley isn't planning any changes to his lineup for Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round (10 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports), but he does expect his young team to get better against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.

Calgary scored twice in the third period for a 2-1 win to start the best-of-7 series on Wednesday, but Hartley saw areas for improvement. Some should come simply from seven players having their first Stanley Cup Playoff game on the resume.

"We need to be better and I really believe we can be better," Hartley said.

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Posted On Friday, 04.17.2015 / 3:50 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Flames series blog

Canucks not letting past playoff failures alter mindset

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks are focused on their habit of bouncing back quickly this season, not a longer history of failure on home ice during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Canucks' 2-1 loss against the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round on Wednesday was their seventh straight at Rogers Arena, dating to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. But heading into Game 2 of this best-of-7 series Friday (10 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports), Vancouver players insisted they had put that behind them.

"It's a different feeling," Daniel Sedin said Friday. "Everything is new; new management, new coach, new players. So we don't look at the last few playoffs, we look at this year. We lost the first game and we are going to come back and have a good one tonight."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 8:15 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Flames series blog

Monahan, Flames say he's OK for Game 2

VANCOUVER -- Calgary Flames first-line center Sean Monahan didn't take part in an optional practice on Thursday but was in good spirits afterward, especially when the subject of what's ailing him came up.

Monahan had an uncharacteristically poor Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. He missed the Flames' regular-season finale Saturday and sat out practice on Monday, leading to lots of speculation about a shoulder injury.

"I've heard a lot of things lately that were wrong with me, but I'm perfectly fine," Monahan said with a smile. "I was sick for a little bit there, but I'm good to go. I got a lot of texts before the game asking if my shoulder was OK and stuff like that, but I wasn't really sure what they were talking about. A lot of people can speculate, but I'm 100 percent."


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Posted On Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 7:13 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Flames series blog

Canucks won't change system despite Game 1 loss

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks got back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs by balancing their minutes and rolling four lines. They don't plan to change that system against the Calgary Flames after losing Game 1 in the Western Conference First Round on Wednesday, even if it keeps their top players on the bench in the third period.

Top-line forwards Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin each played less than five minutes in a third period that saw the Flames turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win. Daniel Sedin was eighth in regular-season scoring with 76 points, but only two Canucks forwards played less in the third.

When Flames defenseman Kris Russell scored the winning goal with 29.6 seconds left in regulation, it came against the Canucks' third defensive pairing and a line centered by 20-year-old rookie Bo Horvat that was caught out on the ice for more than a minute.

That left first-year coach Willie Desjardins answering lots of questions about his player deployment after the Canucks practiced Thursday.


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Posted On Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 5:44 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Flames series blog

Monahan, young Flames excited to start playoffs

VANCOUVER -- Calgary Flames No. 1 center Sean Monahan is excited to compete in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, but after missing the regular season finale Saturday and a practice Monday to rest, the 20-year-old expects a good test in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; CBC, USA, TVA).

"I think I feel ready and well rested so I think I am fresh," Monahan, who also left practice early Tuesday, said after the morning skate Wednesday. "I felt great and right now the focus is on Game 1."

Vancouver's focus will be on Monahan, who combined with rookie Johnny Gaudreau and veteran Jiri Hudler, form one of the hottest lines in the NHL since early February. Calgary's top line has 41 goals and 92 points in 31 games, and led the League in scoring in March.

"It's the playoffs, you don't want to make it easy on them," Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa said. "Any chance you get to be hard on a guy, be physical, you have to do it but I don't think you have to take out individuals. You have to be hard on everyone."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 4:57 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- For Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller it’s hard to imagine a better team to play against in his return from a knee injury than the Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m. ET; CBC).

Miller’s start against Edmonton on Saturday will be his first in almost seven weeks, and he has never lost to the Oilers in his career, going 11-0-0 with a .930 save percentage

It might be an important game for the Canucks.

If the Calgary Flames beat the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon, Vancouver needs at least one point against the Oilers to maintain home-ice advantage in the Western Conference First Round against Calgary. Coach Willie Desjardins said he wants two goalies ready for the playoffs so it’s just as important for Miller to get into a game.

"It would be tough on Ryan if he ended up playing in the playoffs without having played in so long," Desjardins said after a 5-0 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Vancouver did not skate Friday or Saturday.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 5:07 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller is ready to return after missing more than six weeks with a knee injury, but he won’t start against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; FS-A, SNP, SNV).

Miller will dress as the backup for Eddie Lack against the Coyotes, and is expected to make his first start since Feb. 22 when the Canucks finish the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

“We can’t have him on the bench if he is not an option,” coach Willie Desjardins said. “Obviously when you haven’t played for quite a while it would be nice to get a game in and play so that’s something we’d like to happen and get a look at him. He played really well for us before he got hurt and we’d like to get him going.”

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Posted On Monday, 04.06.2015 / 5:03 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty isn't focused on simply making it back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Doughty wants home-ice advantage when they open, and he knows that means taking it away from the Vancouver Canucks on Monday (10 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, PRIME, SNP).

Los Angeles enters Monday in the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference but is fourth in the Pacific Division, three points behind second-place Vancouver. They can pass the Calgary Flames and move within one point of Vancouver with a regulation win Monday. With one more game remaining than the Canucks and Flames, the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings also would control their own fate.

"We want to get second place in the division, and right now they have it," Doughty said of the Canucks. "Of course you want home ice and it's very much in reaching distance. We just have to win all our games, starting with this one."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 5:03 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins hopes his players learned a tough lesson against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche came into Vancouver Thursday after a loss the night before against the Edmonton Oilers that damaged their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes and dominated the Canucks for the first two periods of a 4-1 victory.

The Dallas Stars arrived overnight after a 4-0 loss in Edmonton on Friday night that left them eight points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Dallas and Winnipeg each have seven games remaining.

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Quote of the Day

Hockey means everything to people here [Winnipeg]. They take their team's success to heart. We've had an incredible year and they've given us incredible support.

— Jets center Mathieu Perreault after losing to the Ducks in Game 3 of their playoff series on Monday