The Canucks put together arguably their best playoff game of the series Thursday night beating the Calgary Flames 2-1; Vancouver now trails the best-of-seven Western Conference Quarter-Final 3-2.
The series now shifts to Calgary for Game 6 Saturday night - 6 p.m. PST start.
The Canucks know what to expect from Flames fans, it’s the team itself they’re curious to see.
“They have a lot of pressure on them, so it’s going to be fun to see how they react,” said Henrik Sedin, who preached keeping things simple again in Game 6.
“We have to stay out of the box, that’s number one. We have to focus on the things we’re doing well, we know they’re going to come out hard, that’ll be no surprise to us, but even if they do have some shifts in our end, we have to stay focused and don’t panic.”
The Canucks practiced at Rogers Arena before departing for Calgary; 18 players took part, while Nick Bonino, Ronalds Kenins, Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins and Brad Richardson were noticeably absent.
Coach Willie Desjardins said post-practice he expects everyone to be available for Saturday night’s game, except Alex Burrows, who remains in Calgary.
Coach discussed his line-up, Game 6 pressure and Ryan Miller when he met with the media today.ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Kevin Bieksa is not a psychologist, he’s a hockey player.
Asked how the Calgary Flames are feeling heading home after losing Game 5 by a 2-1 score, Bieksa reminded the media he’s not a psychologist, but said the Canucks are a confident group right now.
“I’m not sure how they’re feeling right now, all I know is that in this room, we played a pretty good game last night and we’re feeling good about ourselves going into Calgary,” said Bieksa. “We’ve had some success on the road this year, we’re a good road team and we have a better road game to play than we have in this series already.”
Bieksa said breaking the game into segments has been key; focus on winning the 1st period in the 1st period, not the entire game.
Fellow defenceman Dan Hamhuis agreed with Bieksa’s approach and said the Canucks need to be consistent going into a hellish environment for Game 6.MILLER THRILLER
If there was any debate as to whether or not coach Desjardins made the right call playing Ryan Miller in net for Game 5, the goaltender eliminated them with an outstanding 20-save performance.
Since starting the 2nd period of Game 4, Miller has stopped 35 of 36 Flames shots faced.
The Canucks needed a spark and they appear to have gotten it from the veteran netminder.
“A lot of times it’s about just getting back into the fight, back into the battle of playoff games - I wanted to be there,” said Miller, on how he feels physically following a nearly two-month break because of injury.
“I’m never going to be perfect in any situation and you’re not going to feel good every night, so there’s no difference in the approach I take most nights to this kind of situation. You just have to prepare yourself to play and be ready; for me, it’s wanting to be in that game and wanting to be in the mix. It’s good hockey we’re playing, the competition level is high and it feels good to be in the fight.”
The fight has only just begun. If the Canucks want to force a Game 7, they need to win in Calgary.
They’ve done it before and they can do it again.
“It’s hard to close out a series. You do let doubt get into your minds sometimes, our job is to keep reinforcing that.”