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Canucks Report - Playoff tough

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks


The series is tied 1-1 and the Canucks are in Chicago gearing up for Game 3 tonight at the United Centre.

Pavol Demitra, who did not practice with the team yesterday, is a game time decision. If he does not play, Taylor Pyatt will step into the lineup, likely playing on the third line with Steve Bernier and Kyle Wellwood, while Mason Raymond would move up to the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mats Sundin.

Defenceman Ossi Vaananen is expected to take Sami Salo’s place on the blueline. Salo is in Vancouver receiving treatment on a lower body injury. Vaananen will be paired with Salo’s defence partner Willie Mitchell. The other pairings of Mattias Ohlund with Alex Edler, and Kevin Bieksa with Shane O’Brien will remain the same.

The whole team will have to step up their game to compensate for Salo’s absence on the back end and the power play, especially against this fast, skilled Chicago team.

“Sami’s been exceptional on the power play, using that big shot,” said Mitchell. “We’ll miss him, there’s no doubt. But against St. Louis [in Game 4] the same thing happened [Salo sat out with a lower body injury] and we responded well. We’ll do the same thing now.”

The 6-3 Game 2 Chicago win was the Canucks first loss in six games so far this postseason.

"We lost one game and you guys are talking about adversity," said Alex Burrows. "We're facing a good team. They're a smart, young and exciting team, but it's 1-1. We're right in it. I don't know where all this negative stuff is coming from.

"We're a good team, we're fine and we'll battle back."


The Canucks look to increase their physical game and make their presence felt against the young Blackhawks squad that will be motivated by a sold-out home crowd tonight.

"Sometimes, you have to swallow your pride on a late hit, a high hit," said Mitchell. "Hopefully, you get a couple power play opportunities. We're going to need to do that in here.

"Being tough this time of year is not throwing down and getting into a fight. Tough this time of year is taking a hit, but making a play.

"I got Ben Eager coming down on me and I got the puck. Instead of just throwing the puck up the wall and maybe turning it over, I take a half-second to see my centreman and make a nice pass to him. Then, take a hard check. That’s tough.”

The players know they will need to play better, but remain confident in their team.

“We've got to step up as a team,” said Roberto Luongo. “I’m not going to take on the whole responsibility of what happened last game. It's a team thing and as a group we could all play better. We've got to be sure we're tight on defence and I've got to make the big saves. We're going to make some adjustments and make sure we don't give them as many scoring chances.”

Tonight’s game faces off at 5:00pm PST and can be seen coast-to-coast on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, on RDS for French-language viewers, and on VERSUS for fans in the United States.

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