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Posted On Friday, 04.24.2015 / 7:36 PM

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

Canucks center Richardson to be game-time decision

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks center Brad Richardson was one of several forwards who didn't practice Friday, but coach Willie Desjardins sounded optimistic Richardson will play in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

If Game 4 in Calgary was any indication, the Canucks will need him.

Richardson is one of Vancouver's top penalty-killers, and without him and right wing Alexandre Burrows, who is out for the series with an undisclosed injury, Calgary scored on its first two power plays in a 3-1 victory in Game 4.

With Richardson back in the lineup for Game 5 on Thursday, the Canucks gave up one shot while killing off all three Flames man-advantages, including two in the third period of a 2-1 victory.


Posted On Thursday, 04.23.2015 / 10:10 PM

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

Canucks forward Baertschi to get crack at former team

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi said he would have been excited about his Stanley Cup Playoff debut regardless of the situation, but making it against the Calgary Flames adds a layer of motivation.

Baertschi will make his playoff debut on the second line with the Canucks facing elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round on Thursday (10 p.m ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports). If that's not enough motivation, Baertschi's debut comes against the team that drafted him 13th in the 2011 NHL Draft before trading him to the Canucks on March 2 for a second-round pick this summer.

Baertschi requested a trade, but was downplaying it Thursday.

"It's in the past. Today I am wearing a blue jersey, and that's all that matters to me," Baertschi said. "It's something special for any young player and I guess playing against your old team is something even more special. There's no lack of motivation for sure."

Posted On Thursday, 04.23.2015 / 6:13 PM

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

Canucks to start Miller in Game 5 against Flames

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks are turning back to veteran goaltender Ryan Miller with their season on the line.

Coach Willie Desjardins announced that Miller will start Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames on Thursday at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Miller, who has started one game since spraining his right knee Feb. 22, replaced Eddie Lack after the first period of a 3-1 loss in Game 4 that left the Canucks trailing the Flames 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.

"Performance is No.1," Desjardins said of his decision to start Miller. "I think he's been in big games before, but the biggest thing is how he played in Calgary. I thought he looked real sharp in Calgary."

Posted On Thursday, 04.23.2015 / 5:41 PM

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

Young Flames not looking past Canucks

VANCOUVER – Goaltender Jonas Hiller is very aware what awaits his Calgary Flames if they can finish off the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round on Thursday.

Calgary would advance to face the Anaheim Ducks, who swept the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. For Hiller it would be a chance to go up against the team that benched him twice in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs before he walked away after seven seasons.

Hiller, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract in Calgary as a free agent, isn’t thinking about a shot at revenge – yet.

“Yeah, I barely noticed last night,” Hiller said with a laugh after being asked if he knew the Ducks were waiting in the second round. “If we don't (keep our focus), we’re not going to play them. We have to do our share to move on, and then I think we can worry after that. We definitely want to finish this series as soon as possible.”

Posted On Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 6:52 PM

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

Canucks mum on goalie choice for Game 5

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks don't know who will be in goal when they try to avoid elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Ryan Miller replaced Eddie Lack after the first period of a 3-1 loss in Calgary on Tuesday that left the Canucks down 3-1 in the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series. But coach Willie Desjardins wasn't tipping his hand for Game 5 (10 p.m ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I have decided, but, no, we’ll wait to see after the morning skate and then we’ll name it,” Desjardins said after practice Wednesday.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 5:06 PM

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

Canucks' Burrows ruled out for remainder of series

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows has been ruled out for the remainder of the Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames, coach Willie Desjardins said Wednesday.

Burrows, who appeared to be injured in the morning skate prior to Game 4 at Scotiabank Saddledome, was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons. He remained in Calgary on Wednesday.

"It's nothing to worry about, it's just kind of a comfort thing," Desjardins said. "He won't be back for this series, but it's not anything serious or anything like that."

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).

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.

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."

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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