SUNDIN GAME TIME DECISION
The Canucks hold a 3-0 lead, a franchise first in a seven-game series, and have set the stage for a possible sweep tonight. The team skated this morning, preparing to face a desperate Blues squad trying to fend off elimination in Game #4.
Mats Sundin who sat out Game #3 with a lower body injury skated this morning at the team practice, a positive sign that his injury is minor. The Swedish centre is listed as day to day and will be a game time decision.
"You want to be out there every shift and every game, especially this time of year," said Sundin. "Saying that, though, it was very impressive watching the guys play [Sunday night], and how we found a way to win that game."
Speculation has been swirling around Paul Kariya, who has begun practicing with the team after undergoing double hip surgery. The Vancouver native did not skate this morning and will not play tonight.
"It's a no go," said Kariya. "But I'm getting closer every day."
Canucks captain Roberto Luongo
, sporting a .963 save percentage so far this postseason, will start in net. The expected lineup for tonight’s Game #4 at Scottrade Centre in St. Louis are as follows:
D.Sedin - H. Sedin - Burrows
Demitra - Kesler – Hansen *(If Sundin plays, Hansen will be a healthy scratch)
Raymond - Wellwood - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Rypien
Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'BrienROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The Canucks know that the series is far from over and look to continue improving tonight against a down but not out St. Louis team. The Blues facing playoff elimination are expected to throw everything they have at Vancouver tonight.
"We haven't played 60 minutes yet and that has to be a goal in every game as we go from here no matter who the opponent is," said Daniel Sedin
. "We've gotten away with it, the PK has been great and Lui too, but we're going to need those [full 60-minute] games to keep going."
"Those guys have been a resilient bunch,” said Willie Mitchell. “Everyone said they were out of it [during the season when St. Louis was last in the West], and look what they did.
"We know we're going to have to play even better than we did the first three games to knock them out."
The Canucks are a confident group, not overconfident or surprised by their early success. The hard working squad believed in their group from the beginning of the season and are taking care of business, one game at a time.
"In the playoffs, you don't want to give an inch to anybody,” said Kyle Wellwood. “You live shift by shift, game by game, just try to win that one, and don't worry about tomorrow."
"We need to have better starts and take fewer penalties," said Alex Burrows. "I'm not on the power play but I see the guys watching a lot of video and having success out there because they're working harder and harder to get that second and third chance, which is where goals often come. We're getting better at that but more work needs to be done.”
Tuesday’s game will be a physical, intense match up, but head coach Alain Vigneault believes his team can handle anything the Blues throw at them.
"They think that being extra physical and sometimes even dirty on [the Sedins], that's going to take away from their game," said Vigneault. "The twins don't back down.
"To the contrary, that probably motivates them more to play harder and better, and that's what they've shown so far in this series."
The Canucks have an all-time playoff record of 10-3 when both Sedins find the scoresheet in the same game.
Tonight’s game faces off at 5:00pm PST and can be seen on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and on VERSUS for fans in the United States.FANTASY HOCKEY:
Check out Canucks Fantasy Hockey
, a free online game that allows you to play against other Vancouver Canucks fans as you attempt to earn the most points during each of the Vancouver Canucks' 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs hockey games.