Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler had the look of a downtrodden man on Monday after his team's morning skate. While Edler is minus-2 overall in the playoffs, he is even in the five games in this series with Nashville but has had some rough moments.
During the Canucks' morning skate on Monday, he had a new defense partner -- the defensively sound veteran Sami Salo. Edler had a turnover in Game 5 that led to one of the goals by the Preds' Joel Ward and also, bizarrely, batted a puck into his own net after Nashville's David Legwand, who was behind the goal, flipped it over the net in Edler's direction.
Also, in Game 3, Legwand stripped Edler of the puck behind the net and then Legwand scored a shorthanded goal. After that game, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said it was an "easy call" to remove Edler from the power play and put Mikael Samuelsson back out there because Edler allowed himself to be stripped of the puck.
Samuelsson is injured and did not travel to Nashville for Game 6 so it will be interesting to see how much power play time, if any at all, Edler gets. Vancouver has allowed two shorthanded goals in this series.
Faced with the change, Edler said the right things but being taken off a pair with his usual partner Christian Ehrhoff, who is tied for the lead in scoring among all NHL defensemen in the playoffs with nine points, he acted more as if he were being punishment.
"Well, he's been out a lot this year, but I played with him a lot last year and I think we played very good last year, so it's nothing really new," Edler said of Salo. "We've been playing on the same team for a long time, so…"
Edler was asked how good Nashville has been on the forecheck.
"They're coming hard, but, I mean," he sighed audibly, "they're coming hard one, two, three guys, so it's so important that we go back hard and a lot of communication."
Then he was asked whether he is comfortable moving the puck against such pressure.
"Yeah, I mean, it's not easy every time but sometimes you got to eat it," he said. "Sometimes when you feel like you move it, you got to move it."
Vigneault did not confirm that the pairing would be changed, saying not to put too much in what reporters saw on the ice. However, Edler did say, "yeah, it looks like it, play with Sami."