The Canucks regrouped this morning, their nerves a little calmer, after starting their Stanley Cup Playoff run last night with a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Pavol Demitra and Mattias Ohlund were both absent from the team practice. Demitra blocked a shot in last night’s match up and had a maintenance day, while Ohlund came to the rink this morning feeling a little under the weather. Head coach Alain Vigneault decided to give them a day to rest, but they will be fine to play in Game #2 on Friday.
The practice focused on special teams, the players were energetic and skating hard, but the mood was kept lighthearted by some friendly ribbing.
Back in the locker room the lighthearted humour continued. Ossi Vaananen’s name plate in his locker stall had been replaced with former Canuck Esa Tikkanen. The Canucks’ newest defenceman laughed when he saw it and correctly suspected that fellow Finn Sami Salo
was behind it.
“I think our guys are taking care of business,” said Vigneault. “I mean they come to the rink, work hard and practice hard to try to get better. But at the same time as you’re taking care of business there are some moments where you’ve got to keep it light and make sure the guys are loose. We’ve got quite a few guys in our dressing room that find it easy to do that. So I let them do what they need to do.”
The team had their work cut out for them yesterday, going shorthanded seven times, including a long 5-on-3 that they expertly killed, before the night was over. The Blues managed only one goal on the man-advantage. The Canucks opened scoring on the power play and added the game winner with Luongo on the bench for a delayed-penalty call.
The players look to use last night’s game as a building block, learn from their mistakes and move on, focusing on Friday’s Game #2.
“We got the result last night, we did some good things, but we still have to work on other aspects," said Alex Burrows. "I think just make sure we stay out of the box tomorrow night."
“I think [Friday night we need to] keep doing what we were doing in the third [period of Game#1]. Keep pressuring their d-men and getting pucks deep, get some shots and get some traffic. And maybe do a little bit more on the power play, move the puck sharper. There are a lot of things we can do.
“We’re taking it one game at a time, the series is tight right now. So we’re going in there tomorrow night to win a game.”
The Canucks lead the series 1-0, but plan to come out harder and stronger, looking only at the game ahead.
“You quickly move on [from a win or a loss],” said Ryan Johnson. “In the playoffs you have to have a short memory. We need to come out tomorrow with the desperation again that we’re down in the series.
“If you kind of dwell on your early successes in the playoffs you can be bounced pretty quickly. So we’ve got to refocus and reset for Game #2.”THE PLAYOFF SHOW
The Vancouver Canucks are proud to announce that Canucks.com will feature added coverage throughout the 2009 NHL Playoffs.
Premiering at 3 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2009, Canucks.com will present The Playoff Show every day following a Canucks Playoff game. Jeff Paterson will be joined by a guest host for each broadcast, where they will analyze the game, discuss breaking news and answer fans questions in real time.
Canucks.com will also feature news updates from Kristin Reid, Alain Vigneault’s press conferences, exclusive one-on-one interviews with players and Classic Canucks Playoff clips throughout the post season. On game days, all morning skates and post-practice interviews from the dressing room will be streamed live on Canucks.com.
to check out the Playoff Show.