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Canucks could see changes in Game 6

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Canucks could see changes in Game 6
Mikael Samuelsson is out for Game 6, Chris Higgins has a sore left foot but says he'll play, and the defense pairing of Alexander Edler and Christian Ehrhoff could be split up.
NASHVILLE -- Prior to leaving Vancouver the Canucks already knew there was going to be at least one lineup change for Game 6 Monday night because Mikael Samuelsson (lower body) was not in the team's traveling party. The Canucks, though, could potentially have another lineup change as well as some rejiggered defensive pairs as they again go for the knockout punch against the Predators.

Chris Higgins insists he'll play in Game 6 despite a sore left foot, a result of blocking Kevin Klein's shot in the first period Saturday night. Higgins, though, left the ice well before his teammates Monday morning and it was Victor Oreskovich who skated in his spot on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond when the Canucks did 3-on-2 rushes.

"I just wanted to try it out and it felt fine," Higgins said. "Just pushing off a little bit hurts, but it's something I'll get through."

Higgins sounded confident that he'll play and coach Alain Vigneault didn't hesitate when he was asked about Higgins status, quickly saying, "He's fine." However, Higgins did say the Canucks will have an extra forward skate in warm-ups just in case he can't go.

That will likely be Jeff Tambellini, who took Samuelsson's spot on the fourth line with Tanner Glass and Cody Hogdson in the morning skate. Tambellini hasn't played since April 9. He's never played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We'll see after warm-up and how the rest of the guys feel," Tambellini said. "It's great time of the year and we've got a team that is really making a push here. It would be fantastic to draw in."

If Higgins is a go, then Oreskovich will likely get in on the fourth line and Tambellini will be a scratch again.

The other notable sight from the Canucks Monday morning was that Vigneault has apparently decided to separate Alexander Edler and Christian Ehrhoff. Edler was skating with Sami Salo and Ehrhoff was with Aaron Rome.

"Don't put too much into practice this morning," Vigneault said with a smile. "We'll see what happens tonight."

Edler, though, pretty much confirmed that he'll partner with Salo to start Game 6.

"I played with Sami before. He's an easy guy to play with," Edler said. "You know he's doing the right thing in all situations out there. I've played with him before, so it should be good. We've been good together before."

All these changes might not matter if the Canucks don't start getting some production out of the Sedin twins. Henrik and Daniel have combined for just five points in the last six games and are a minus-14 in the playoffs, including a minus-7 in Game 5. Henrik has been held off the score sheet in four of the five games against Nashville.

However, Henrik feels the way his line, including Daniel and Alexandre Burrows, played in Game 5 is a strong indication that they might be due for a breakout game. He did not like the minus-7 between him and Daniel, but he was a fan of the chances they created.

"We've had some off games, but I think last game wasn't one of them," Henrik said. "We were in on a lot of goals against, but sometimes that's going to happen. We have to go into this game with confidence by the way we played in last game, and we'll go from there."

"We can't change anything in the way we play," he added. "We have to believe and trust that the way we play is the right way."

Henrik understands the pressure on him and his brother in particular. He knows the Canucks need their production to have a special spring.

"That hasn't changed since Game 1. That's not an issue for us," he said. "We know that we are the guys that need to produce and that's what we like."

Road cooking -- The Canucks can say with conviction that they are comfortable playing in Bridgestone Arena. The numbers are certainly there to back them up.

Vancouver has won three in a row here and nine of the last 12 games on the Predators' home ice.

"The biggest thing is we know we can win in this building," Kesler said, "and we just need to go out and do it now."

Vancouver is 3-2 on the road in these playoffs, including wins here in Games 3 and 4.

"For whatever reason we seem to play really good this year on the road and I don't see why it's going to change tonight," Kesler said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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