The Canucks will go looking for their 10th win of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight when they play host to the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
In Sunday’s series opening 3-2 victory, Henrik Sedin (1g,1a), Kevin Bieksa (1g), and Maxim Lapierre (1g) had the goals for Vancouver while Joe Thorton (1g,1a), and Patrick Marleau (1g) replied for San Jose. It was the first time in this year’s playoffs the Canucks won a game when trailing after two periods while it was San Jose’s second loss in the post season when holding a lead after 40 minutes.
The Canucks are expected to make one roster move in preparation for tonight’s game at Rogers Arena. While the team didn’t take part in a full game day skate this morning, the club did hold a full practice yesterday at UBC’s Father David Bauer Arena. Jeff Tambellini took the place of Tanner Glass on the fourth line. If Tambellini draws in, it will be his second career playoff game and his first on home ice for the Canucks.
Manny Malhotra, who is celebrating his 31st birthday today, skated with full gear on for the first time yesterday since his eye surgery. However he did not take part in contact drills and is not expected back in game action any time soon.
Special teams definitely played a role in Game 1 for Vancouver. Even though they allowed the Sharks a power play goal, the Canucks were short-handed only once on the night. It was the second time in three games the Canucks gave their opponents one man advantage.
On the flip side, Vancouver finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play, with Henrik Sedin’s game winning goal coming on the man advantage. The Canucks have gone just 2/22 on the power play at home in the playoffs, good enough for 14th out of 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs (9.1%).
Ryan Kesler enters tonight’s action riding a six-game point scoring streak (5g,7a). His five goals and 11 assists have him tied for top spot in the NHL playoffs alongside Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Martin St. Louis (7g,9a) and Vincent Lecavalier (6g,10a).
Judging by yesterday’s practice, the Sharks are not expected to make many, if any, changes to the line-up that was on the ice in Game 1. Despite making 35 saves in the loss, Sunday marked the ninth time in 14 playoff games this year where goalie Antti Niemi allowed a minimum of three goals against.
Joe Thorton scored just his third goal in 14 games on Sunday night. He was credited with a playoff-high five shots in the game. Patrick Marleau has goals in back-to-back games for the first time in this year’s playoffs. His next goal will be the 50th of his playoff career.