The Vancouver Canucks play their third of four Young Stars games Wednesday afternoon in Penticton. They're looking to have a strong showing against the San Jose Sharks two days after a 4-3 overtime comeback win over the Calgary Flames.
Nathan Longpre was the hero of Game 2 with a pair of goals and an assist, he and fellow forward Darren Archibald are in the line-up once again today making them the only players to have dressed for every game thus far. They’ll skate with speedy Swede Anton Rodin on what promises to be Vancouver’s most potent line.
There was method to coach Craig MacTavish’s placing of Rodin with Archibald and Longpre.
“I just wanted to play him with some skill, Archie will give him some pop down low and add some size to that line, and Nathan can move the puck pretty well and hopefully put Anton with some guys that compliment his skill set,” said MacTavish, who revealed that the plan for the tournament was not to have anyone play all four games.
David Honzik will make his second start of the tournament in net, he was chased from Sunday’s 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers after allowing six goals. Nerves played a part in his and the team’s poor showing, so MacTavish has higher expectations for Honzik against the Sharks.
“He’ll feel more comfortable tonight for sure then he did that first night. We talked about it after the game that you forget how important games are and how nerve wracking they can be for not only forwards, but goalies in particular. That type of nervousness seldom does great things for performance and that’s why you have these camps. He’ll be better tonight.”
Defenceman Frankie Corrado expressed the same desire for the Canucks to play an improved game tonight. He’s looking back to what went down Sunday for guidance as to how to prevent the same from happening again.
“We basically need to spend more time in their zone, it’s simple as that,” said Corrado, who will make this second start. “They were coming into our zone too many times and the more you play in your zone the more shots you’re going to give up and that eventually leads to goals. We need to stay on the offence but keep a third guy high and play some solid D.”
Corrado said that Game 1 ended with a lopsided score, but that the Canucks found positives in the third period and that carried over into a Game 2 win. Now they’re looking to go streaking and make it two straight.
To do that Corrado and company will have to shut down the likes of Michael Sgarbossa, his teammate from the Sudbury Wolves. Corrado will also be pinned against defenceman Justin Sefton, another Wolves teammate.
“Sgarbossa is a high-energy offensive threat, so he’ll be looking to score, and Sefton is just a big ol’ bruising D-man, he’s not the guy you want to get trapped in the corner with, but you can definitely take advantage of him with some speed.
“It’ll be fun playing against them, there’ll be some friendly banter going on, absolutely.”