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Canucks Report: "It's a must-win game"

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
April 15, 2012


By Derek Jory

Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault, like many of his players, took time to soak in the amazing Santa Monica weather Sunday and upon returning from a run he wasn’t at the team hotel 30 seconds before he was pulled into a media scrum where everyone wanted answers.

Is Cory Schneider starting in Game 3?

“Cory’s playing.”

Why play Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo?

“Two great goaltenders, I’ve used both of them all year long, obviously being down 2-0 is not a reflection of the goaltending that we’ve had so far, but I feel that it’s time to maybe try and change the momentum a little bit and this is one of the cards that we have.”

How do you fix the special teams?

“Anybody that’s followed our series closely knows that 5-on-5 has been pretty balanced, where it has been a different is our power play and our penalty killing. In both facets of our game, LA has been a lot better than we have and we’ll try to make a few adjustments tonight.”

What kind of adjustments will you make on the power play?

“Score a goal and not give up a goal!”

Any other line-up changes?

"Weise is in for Ebbett."

Based on Vigneault’s four-minute interview, you wouldn’t know the Canucks trail the best-of-seven Western Conference Quarter-Final 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings.

The players who spoke to the media, Henrik Sedin, Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra, displayed the same calm demeanor and going into Game 3, the Canucks are saying all the right things.

“We’re going to focus on tonight’s game, that’s the only thing we need to think about,” said Henrik Sedin, regarding the pressure facing the Canucks. “It’s not about winning four games, it’s about winning tonight that’s our only focus right now.”

Hamhuis took that a step further saying the pressure isn’t solely on Vancouver tonight.

“I think there’s pressure on both sides right now. It’s a tough spot to be down 0-2 for us, but I think it’s going to make our game stronger, and for them too, they have some pressure now to win at home.

“We’re not where we want to be, but at the same time both teams need to win four games and we’re a little bit behind right now, but I think we’re in a good spot mentally, there’s some spots of our game that we recognize we need to work on but our focus is really on tonight’s game and getting the win.”

With the most important game of the season mere hours away, Ryan Kesler, standing in front of a massive fig tree outside the team hotel, said the Canucks are as united as ever.

“Our foundation is strong, much like this tree,” he said.

“It’s a must-win game. You don’t want to go down 3-0; we’re going to take it shift-by-shift tonight.”

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