GAME THREE LINEUP SHUFFLE
The Canucks lineup may shift a little as they head into game three against the Los Angeles Kings.
Defenceman Aaron Rome is a game time decision after missing three games with an injury. If he does dress tonight, he will likely skate alongside Kevin Bieksa. If Rome is not cleared to play, it will be Nolan Baumgartner that will come in for Andrew Alberts.
At the Canucks' morning practice Mason Raymond was skating on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson, Pavol Demitra was centering the fourth line with Tanner Glass and Jannik Hansen.
Michael Grabner will dress for his second NHL career playoff game and will skate on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and Steve Bernier.
"I'm just going to keep it simple and get the puck deep," said Grabner. "Welly's really good down low and Bernie's good on the forecheck, so we just have to play in the offensive zone and put pressure on their D."
Likely healthy scratches for tonight are Alberts, Darcy Hordichuk, Rick Rypien, and Matt Pettinger.
Of all the post-season teams, the Canucks are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the lowest penalty-kill percentage, both with 55.6%.
Four of the five goals that the Kings netted past Roberto Luongo have been on the power-play. The Kings (9) have had one more minor than the Canucks (8), who have only taken advantage of two opportunities. The other three Vancouver goals have been scored on even strength, meaning perhaps the Canucks are stronger than the Kings five-on-five, but the key to overall success and winning the series is staying out of the box, killing penalties, and making the most of every power-play.
Though the Canucks have the fourth lowest amount of penalties (10) of all playoff teams, they have the most penalty minutes per game (16.5) due to defenceman Andrew Alberts’ game misconduct in game one.
Alberts got the hat trick for penalties in game two last Saturday and accounts for 23 of Vancouver’s 31 penalty minutes, more than any player currently in the post-season.
Disciplined play will be a big factor in game three in order to stay out of the box. With Rome possibly in for Alberts, penalty killing duties may decrease. Rome had only seven minors in 49 regular season games, while Alberts had four minors in 14 games.
"They've gotten some power-play goals so far," said Luongo. "We have to realize that. There's a lot of things that decide the series, and special teams is one of them. We have to first and foremost stay out of the box. We're going to take penalties, but we have to kill them off."
GAME THREE NOTES
The Canucks continue their quest for the cup tonight in their first road game of the post-season in Staples Center where they hope to lead the series 2-1 against the Kings. LA won in overtime Saturday night after Vancouver was given a two-minute minor for too many men.
The Canucks have lost only four of 11 playoff road games against the Kings, who they’ve met three times in the post-season over the years. Vancouver defeated the Kings in 1982 in the Smythe Division finals, but lost in both the first round 1991 and the second round of 1993.
Even with 70 shots on goal after two games, compared to LA’s 59, the Canucks have only netted five goals passed King’s goaltender Jonathan Quick, who shutout Vancouver Saturday after letting in two goals in the opening frame.
Quick is currently fourth in the league for save percentage (0.929%), with a third place 2.21 GAA, the same as Roberto Luongo, who is seventh with a .915 SV%.
After two games, the Canucks have had 11 more shots than the Kings, 16 more takeaways, and 15 more hits. If Vancouver can keep up the aggression on top Kings’ players while staying out of the box, game three could look like the first period of game two, where the Canucks scored two goals on their first four shots.
"We just have to get in there early, get in there and get a couple bumps," said Tanner Glass. "We have to be physical on their good players, on [Drew] Doughty, maybe slow him down. Late in the game on Saturday, he was carrying the puck out of his zone quite a bit, and he looked pretty fresh."
Doughty played 32:56 TOI on Saturday, the most of any player on both teams. He banked the most power-play minutes (10:11) and assisted Anze Kopitar’s winning overtime goal.
Brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin were left off of the score sheet last game. Numbers show that Vancouver is 13-5 when Daniel and Henrik both record at least one point in the same playoff game (thanks Mozy). Line mate Alex Burrows has also yet to register a point after two games, but has recorded five shots, five hits, and four takeaways.
The Canucks will have to adjust to a few lineup changes as the Kings did in game two when LA head coach Terry Murray took out Justin Williams, Raitis Ivannas and Randy Jones for Rich Clune, Scott Parse and Peter Harrold. The lineup change did help the Kings tie the series, something the Canucks are hoping for tonight.
"We've had a lot of different mixes here and everybody's comfortable playing with everyone," said Burrows. "I don't think it's going to be a big change, but hopefully we'll be able to score a few goals and get the win."