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Press Round-Up Apr.16.2007

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Courtesy of Daniel Fung


Unlikely heroes step up

Weird doesn't begin to explain how the Canucks, who were down 1-0 in the third period having been thoroughly outplayed by the Stars, somehow left Game 3 with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series writes Iain MacIntyre. Looking like they might lose the entire series in just one game, the Canucks manage to rally thanks to some unlikely heroes in Game 3.

"So, these were the heroes: Pyatt, Smolinski, Bulis and Hansen," writes MacIntyre. "A guy who had never scored in the playoffs, a veteran who has struggled to make a dent since his trade-deadline acquisition, an enigmatic winger who all but asked for a trade last January, and [a] Danish kid no one had heard about until the desperate Canucks recalled him Thursday."

Stars don't shine in overtime

Playoff overtime is clearly not the time when the Stars come out to shine, at least not those from Dallas, writes Elliott Pap. Dallas lost their sixth straight overtime playoff game, and Dave Tippett is starting to grow impatient with his millionaire players who can't deliver in crunch time.

"It's a huge concern," Tippett responded when queried about the lack of big goals from his big guys. "We need someone else to score some goals for us in this series, that's for sure. We've had a lot of overtimes and we need some players, who get the good offensive opportunities, to step up and start doing that."

On the injury front

After needing to surgically repair his left index finger after having it shattered in Game 1, Ryan Kesler will be out of action for four-to-five weeks, writes Elliot Pap. There is some good news on the horizon for some other injured Canucks however.

Josh Green (knee) has begun to skate with the club, although the winger has not been cleared for play. Matt Cooke did not make the trip to Dallas for Games 3 and 4, but don't rule the Cooker out of the series just yet.

"The treatments were easier to do back home," Vigneault said. "Matt is still day-to-day. If he's capable of coming down here and helping us, we'll get him down here."


Coach V not happy about crease crashers

Alain Vigneault responded with a laugh when talking about how much confidence the team had not to be down 24 seconds into Game 3 as they were in Game 2, but he was not at all happy about the liberties the Dallas Stars players were taking with his franchise goaltender and he has let the NHL know about that, writes Ed Willis.

"I'm very concerned about it," said Vigneault. "We told the NHL, they're supposed to be dealing with it. But it happened again three or four times tonight."

Three Kings steal momentum from Stars

Reuniting the Tre Kronor line - Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins - turned the tide in Game 3, writes Jason Botchford. The trio, reunited shortly after the Canucks went down 1-0 and were struggling to generate any scoring chances, did not score in the game but clearly shifted momentum back in favour of the Canucks.

"On their first shift, the line had more scoring chances than the rest of the team had all game," writes Jason Botchford. "In Sunday's game, the Sedin twins didn't score but their work with Naslund put the Stars on their heels for the most significant amount of time in the series."

Kesler determined to buck the odds again

When Ryan Kesler returned to the Canucks lineup for Game 1, he defied even the most optimistic estimates, writes Jason Botchford. Originally expected to be sidelined for 12-16 weeks, Kesler made a surprise return in just ten. Now he's looking to do the same for a hand injury which is expected to sideline him for 4-5 weeks.

"They're telling me I'll be out for four to five weeks, I'm saying I'll be back in three," Kesler said Sunday with the hope that the Canucks will still be playing. "I healed quickly before with the hip and I can heal quickly now."

Not always a common practice with injured players, Kesler accompanied the team to Dallas because coach Vigneault felt "he deserved to be around".

"He's been part of this team," said Vigneault. "It's unfortunate he was only able to play one game but I wanted him around."

True Stars set up ice

Props should go out to Dough Waugh and the arena conversion staff at the American Airlines Center on Sunday. With the task of converting the arena from basketball, following the end of the Dallas Mavericks game, to hockey, the staff pulled out all the stops having the ice in place by 6:28pm local time, well ahead of the 8:30pm puck drop reports Jason Botchford. The crew finished the job in 1 hour and 28 minutes. According to Waugh, the fastest time they did it last year was 1:55.


Overtime demons haunt as Stars fail to capitalize on momentum

Overtime has come back to haunt the Dallas Stars once again. After giving up Taylor Pyatt's goal at the 12:13 mark of overtime, the Stars have lost five straight playoff overtime games at home, writes Mike Heika. After playing nearly perfect hockey in Game 2 and tying the best-of-seven series at 1-1, the Stars simply couldn't build on the momentum that the game's opening goal should have provided.

"[I]nstead of building on that momentum as they did in Game 2, the Stars appeared to fall into a shell," writes Heika. "They sat back and let Turco take the heat from two hot Vancouver lines. Henrik and Daniel Sedin started cranking up scoring opportunities with Markus Naslund on their line again, while the newly created line of Brendan Morrison, Jan Bulis and rookie Jannik Hansen also began to spend a lot of time in front of Turco."

Modano needs to step up

Coming into this series, it was expected that the Canucks would do all that they can to shut down Mike Modano. But as Jean-Jacques Taylor reports, few teams have been able to effectively shut down Modano as well as the Canucks did in Game 3. And while it might not be expected for Modano to be potting goals left and right, the all-time leading U.S. born goal scorer needs at the very least to be an offensive force if the Stars are to advance.

"It should surprise no one that seven players have scored goals for the Stars in the first three games. But Tippett needs Modano to be an offensive force, which entails more than scoring goals," writes Taylor. "You shouldn't judge Modano's game solely by goals. You must factor in whether he's working hard to fight through checks and putting himself in position to take advantage of scoring opportunities. You judge his performance on whether he's committed to forechecking, creating turnovers that lead to scoring chances and whether he's setting up others."


60 minutes to win

For two periods, the Stars' defence harkened back to their Cup winning ways in 1999. The only difference between the Stars on Sunday and their championship team from eight years ago; the championship team played that way for 60 minutes writes Jim Reeves.

According to Reeves, what should have been a 2-1 series lead for the Stars now belongs to the Canucks, and all the Stars can hope for now is to rebound and earn at least a split on home ice.

"It didn't have to be this way. If the Stars could have continued playing defense in the third period the way they played in the first two, a 1-0 lead formed on Stu Barnes' deflection at 13:09 of the second period might have stood up," writes Reeves. "Instead, the lapse in the third, when the Canucks outshot the Stars 15-4, effectively prevented Turco from turning the Stars' first-round playoff series with Vancouver into his own personal moment of redemption. The game-winner by Pyatt now puts Turco back in the pressure-cooker as a playoff suspect."

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