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Canucks Report - This is what they play for

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks


The Canucks are facing a new challenge tonight, for the first time in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vancouver is fighting off elimination. Trailing the series 2-3, the Canucks head into the United Centre tonight and look to push a seventh game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"This is what it's all about," said Ryan Johnson. "There's no easy ride in the playoffs. There's nowhere to hide as a team or as an individual. You can't hide in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This game is nothing to be [afraid of], there should be no hesitation. This is exciting. There's nothing to fear here.

"This is why you play the game, to have to go into someone else's barn and steal a game and come back home. You don't win a Stanley Cup without having to deal with these things."

The players know that until one team has won four games, this series is far from over. After battling through adversity to get where they are today, the players look to lay everything on the line tonight in Chicago.

"If people want to count us out, so be it,” said Willie Mitchell. “But we've got a lot of character in this group. And there's a lot of passion in this team and a lot of heart. All I have to say is last time I checked, it still took four wins."

"I know the character we have on this team and the leadership we have on this team," said Johnson. "We've faced things on a major scale and a minor scale before and we've always worked through them. This is going to be no different."

Head coach Alain Vigneault is confident his team has what it takes to bring this series back to Vancouver and looks to them to execute their game plan.

"Our players are aware of what needs to be done in terms of composure and as far as physicality," said Vigneault. "It's a matter of going out and getting it done. Part of having playoff success is players taking their game to another level and we don't have enough guys who have done that so far.

"There's still time."

There are no lineup changes heading into tonight’s Game #6. Defencemen Ossi Vaananen and Rob Davison, along with forwards Jannik Hansen and Jeff Cowan are expected to be healthy scratches. Forward Pavol Demitra remains out with an undisclosed injury.

"I'm just going to guarantee that we're going to play our best game and that's what it's all about," said captain Roberto Luongo. "We've played well in stretches, but we've got to put a full 60 [minutes] together. That's the only way we're going to bring the series back to Vancouver.”

Tonight’s game faces off at 6:00pm PT 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.


Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that centre Cody Hodgson has been assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL from the Brampton Battalion of the CHL.

Hodgson, 19, led the Brampton Battalion in scoring in 2008-09 with 92 points (43-49-92) in 53 games played. He led the Ontario Hockey League in game-winning goals (11) and established a club-record 23-game point streak (17-23-40). Hodgson also recorded 31 points (11-20-31) in 21 playoff games and appeared in the OHL Championship with the Battalion. He was named the 2008-09 OHL Most Outstanding Player for his accomplishments.

The Ontario native also had success on the international stage this year. Hodgson led Canada to a gold medal at the 2009 World Junior Championship at Ottawa. He led the tournament in scoring with 16 points (5-11-16) in six games played and was named to the tournament all-star team.

The Moose swept the Grand Rapids Griffins in the second round and start their next series Friday in Winnipeg.

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.
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