POSSIBLE GAME FOUR LINEUP CHANGES
At today's morning practice, Alex Burrows was seen skating on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, a possible line for tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"I don't know, you'd have to ask AV [Alain Vigneault]," said Burrows. "I haven't really seen any line-up yet. If it happens, it happens, and I'll try to create some offence and get on the forecheck."
When head coach Alain Vigneault was asked of possible line-up changes, he would not confirm what was seen at practice.
"I don't confirm line-up changes," said Vigneault. "Maybe you're right, maybe you're not."
Whether it be Burrows or Mikael Samuelsson on the top line, the Sedins will make the most of it.
"It's good," said Daniel. "We played with Burr against LA, changed to Mikael, and now we're back with Burr. We have a lot of different weapons, so definitely a good thing."
With Burrows on the top line, it's possible that Samuelsson will skate on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and Jannik Hansen, with Michael Grabner and Tanner Glass coming in for Pavol Demitra and Rick Rypien.
Grabner was seen skating on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, and Tanner Glass on the fourth line with Ryan Johnson and Steve Bernier.
CHANGES TO THE POWER-PLAY
The Canucks were 0-4 on the power-play in game three and are just 2-14 in the series so far. In both games two and three where Vancouver failed to score on the man advantage, Chicago was the victor. The Canucks will make a few adjustments to their power-play tonight hoping to see results on those game-changing opportunities.
"The two games that we didn't get a power-play goal, they ended up winning," said Wellwood. "If we can get a power-play goal tonight, it'll put the pressure on them."
With the possibility of Pavol Demitra out of the lineup, Kevin Bieksa will slide to the point on the first unit while Mikael Samuelsson moves to the second powerplay unit.
"It's a good way to change it up," said Samuelsson. "We'll throw different things at them. We haven't got the success we wanted on the power-play, so I think it's a good change."
Though the Canucks have improved their penalty killing since round one, allowing just three goals on 15 times short-handed, Chicago has been the better team, having killed 14-of-15 penalties. With both teams evenly match even-strength, special teams will clearly prove to be the difference-maker this series.
"It's what has cost us two games now," said Daniel. "In the playoffs, it's going to come down to special teams. Five-one-five, we're pretty equal, but they've been doing better on the power-play, that's the bottom line."
The Canucks (6) have scored one more goal than Chicago (5) even-strength this series. The Canucks have 24 goals five-on-five - good for second in the playoffs - while Chicago is sixth with 16 goals.
The Canucks have failed to tally a powerplay goal in just two of the first nine games of the playoffs. In both of those games (one in LA and the other in Vancouver Wednesday night), Vancouver allowed five goals against and let in five powerplay goals on total nine chances given to the opposition teams.
GAME DAY NOTES: BEEN HERE BEFORE
The Canucks have been here before, down 2-1 in a series, and like Canucks captain Roberto Luongo said post-practice this morning, "momentum is overrated," and every game is different. Vancouver hopes to bounce back tonight after a 5-2 loss in game three and head to Chicago with a 2-2 series tie.
"We've gone through it before, everyone thought we were down and out but we found a way to come back," said Luongo. "It's all about the belief in this locker room and the way we feel as a team."Whatever happened last game is irrelevant. Tonight's a brand new night, and we have to find a way to win this game.""
Chicago was in the same place Vancouver was last post-season, being down 2-1 in the series and coming back to win it in game six. To avoid another second round disappointment, the Canucks hope to get a grip on Hawks forward Dustin Byfuglien, who netted three past Luongo on Wednesday, as well as creating more traffic in front of goaltender Antti Niemi, who’s stopped 55 of 59 shots in the past two games.
"The D men have to make sure that he doesn't get in front of the net," said Burrows. "At the same time, you just have to tie up his stick. He's a big guy, you can't just push him out of the way, just have to lift his stick and make sure he doesn't get those rebounds."
The 6’4”, 257 pound forward isn’t the biggest concern for Luongo, it’s getting the rebounds. Byfuglien took advantage of three juicy rebounds on Wednesday to break his scoreless drought in the post-season.
"The only thing you can do is fight a bit harder for the rebound," said Luongo. "It's tough sometimes when sticks are in your legs and pushing you while you're trying to cover up the puck. That being said, I have to find a way to fight through it, and will fight a little harder tonight."
The Hawks will be hungry to return home, not only with a sweep of two road games but with a commanding 3-1 series lead and try to play for a spot in the Western Conference final for the second consecutive year.
Chicago was second in home wins with 29 so if the series does come down to Sunday night at the United Center, it will be a tough one to take for the Canucks, which means winning tonight is almost a “must-win” - a word being thrown around media circuit.
But ultimately, a series is won when one team wins four games - not three. The Canucks haven’t lost sight of that.