THE MATCH UP
The Canucks and the Blues both faced adversity during the regular season and both battled through to enter the playoffs on impressive streaks. The Vancouver squad knows it will take everyone playing at their best to advance past tough opponents from St. Louis.
“[The Blues] did a remarkable job to push themselves and get into the playoffs,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “We’re very aware that we’re up against a very tough opponent. They’re going to be ready and we’re going to be ready also.
“To have success in the playoffs you need to have contributions from everyone. I suspect that Andy [Murray] is going to want to play [Jay] McClement’s line against the twins, [David] Backes’ line against Sundin, [Patrik] Berglund’s line against Wellwood, and [Keith] Tkachuk’s line against Johnson.
“I don’t mind that match up. I don’t mind McClement being on the ice against the twins, it means that one of their top offensive lines is not on the ice as much. So maybe you don’t play Wellwood as much, you spread out the ice time a little bit between the third and fourth lines. I know [Murray] likes to play four lines and I don’t mind those match ups at all, so we’ll see how it unfolds tomorrow."
The Canucks' scoring depth is difficult to defend against when all lines are in top form.
“I think there’s room for improvement still, but we’re going to try to be that secondary scoring that takes the pressure off Hank and Danny,” said Ryan Kesler
. “And have St. Louis worried about us a little and not so much about them.”
“I think we’ve got a couple good shooters on this team that if they get a chance they can score on any goalie in this league. [Mason] is a good goaltender and we’ve got to get traffic in front of him and get rebounds, and that’s how we’re going to beat him.”
The Canucks practiced today at GM Place and held power play and penalty killing meetings following the on-ice session. The only absence was Taylor Pyatt who remains in Ontario with his family. There are not expected to be any lineup changes heading into tomorrow night’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Home Opener.
No players on the Canucks roster have won the Stanley Cup and Vigeault believes his team is determined to make the most of their opportunity.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are highly motivated come starting tomorrow night," said Vigneault. "I think everybody is well prepared and when you’re well prepared you can deal with the pressure. Obviously the stakes are higher right now, but the game on the ice doesn’t change. We’ve been basically playing playoff hockey here for the last two months.
“We’ve had to have been playing playoff hockey to get into the playoffs, just like most of the teams, everybody needed to get on a run to get in. We’re used to this, our guys are well prepared and I think they’re just going to look forward to the moment and go on the ice and put their best game on the ice.
“There’s only one thing that matters to me and that’s winning the Cup,” said Roberto Luongo
. “That’s all I care about and all the rest of the stuff is secondary. We have a good team here, we have a chance to do something good, and we’re focused right now on the big game tomorrow night. And then trying to win four games in this series and then moving on. For now that’s all we’re worried about and we’ll take it day by day.
“It’s right around the corner, you can feel it and you can feel the buzz in the city. It’s nice to be in that playoff mode right now and it’s going to be exciting once the puck drops tomorrow night.”PLAYOFF TICKETS:
The Vancouver Canucks announced today that additional single game tickets for two home games in Round 1 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been released and are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.ticketmaster.ca
, or by calling Ticketmaster at (604) 280-4400, or 1 (800) 663-9311.