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Battle Duck

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks


While Coach Vigneault assured everyone Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa will be play in game one, it looks as though Bieksa will be out, feeling under the weather.

Salo will be a game time decision.

The Canucks recalled Alex Edler of the Manitoba Moose for the seventh time this season and first time this post-season and either he or Rory Fitzpatrick will play tonight.

After playing hard in the regular season to get to the post-season, sitting out to watch is difficult.

Matt Cooke suffered a groin injury in the second period of game one against the Stars and has yet to return to the ice but the restlessness is definitely setting in.

"It's the most frustrating time of the year to be injured, especially when playoffs are the most important time," he says.

"I'm no good if I'm out there for two shifts and I'm out injured again," said Cooke. "I've got to be careful."

As uncertain as this series will be against the Ducks, the Canucks injuries are just as unclear.

Cooke feels he could be back soon... but then again it might take a while.

"It's totally up in the air and I just take it day by day and when we feel that I'm strong enough to be on the ice, I'll be on the ice."

"I could put a date on it but it's just something that gets a lot better and then maybe not good."


17.2 percent.

The Canucks would gladly take that percentage over their current 7.9 percent power-play in the post season. At 17.2 percent, the Canucks power-play through 82 regular season games ranked 20th.

While the Canucks are ahead of the second best regular season power-play team, San Jose, they know that against the Ducks, they're going to need goals with the man-advantage.

"If they're going to take penalties," said Alain Vigneault. "We need to make them pay for it and if we do that, we'll be in good shape."

The Ducks are 15-for-15 on the penalty kill at home during the playoffs against the Wild in round one, which means scoring on the power-play may prove to be even more difficult.

What's positive is that the Canucks scored twice on the power-play in game seven against the Stars, so hopefully they've got momentum on their side.

The Canucks didn't manage to get a power-play goal while in Dallas so hopefully, they can have a better start in Anaheim.

The Ducks power-play at home is second amongst playoffs teams and first overall, which is a little scary considering the Canucks are the most penalized team in the post-season so far.

In four games against the Ducks in the regular season, the Canucks scored two power-play goals, which also happened to be their only win against Anaheim this year.

Power-plays decided games five, six, and seven in the first round for Vancouver and everyone's watching to see how it plays out in Anaheim.


The last time these two teams met, the Canucks spent 57 minutes in the penalty box, while the Ducks received 47 penalty minutes.

This was before playoffs.

Now that every game really counts and everything's on the line, don't expect anything different because the players don't.

"I think in this series, physicality is going to be a big part of it," said Vigneault. "We can hit and we can take checks, we have to remain disciplined."

The Ducks finished off their first round series in five games against the Wild and have been waiting for their second round opponent since April 19.

They've had almost a week of rest, while the Canucks have battled until the end and since the post season started April 11, have played every second day - that's a lot of hockey.

Not only that but the Canucks first game of the playoffs was what Vigneault likes to call a two-for-one, where they played almost four extra periods but that's not going to faze them.

"I think you get into a kind of a rhythm where you're playing every second night and you strap it on and just do your thing," says Trevor Linden, who scored the game winner to help his team into the second round. "Hopefully we can continue where we left off and play that playoff style hockey that you have to play."

"We've got the adrenaline going still and hopefully we can keep carrying on from the last two periods, where I thought we played really well," said Markus Naslund. "On the other hand, they're well rested and waiting for us. We know that it's going to be tough, it's a tough feeling go in and play them but I think we're ready and it's going to be fun."

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