THE SUN REPORTS
Gritty Canucks find inspiration where they can get it
After dropping Game 1 of the series 5-1, many had suggested that Canucks had already lost the series. This wasn't the way the Canucks felt though, writes Iain MacIntyre. Even with the Ducks universally favoured in the series, the Canucks themselves knew they had a chance to win if they dug deep.
"No, the monkey picked us to win - the TSN monkey," Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo
smiled after another heroic, 43-save performance. "Even though we lost Game 1 [5-1 on Wednesday] we knew we could compete against these guys and play well."
Despite missing two of their top four defencemen in Sami Salo
and Kevin Bieksa
once again in Game 2, the Canucks knew they couldn't make any excuses and had to come out playing a much better game than they did on Wednesday.
"Apart from showing far more resolve and intensity than they did in Wednesday's blowout, winning puck battles and putting pressure on Anaheim's defence, Vancouver was much smarter in Game 2," writes MacIntyre. "They were cleaner on their breakouts, slightly reduced their turnovers in the neutral zone, ramped up their penalty-killing and, generally, didn't open up the runways for the Ducks to zoom end-to-end as they'd done in Game 1." Canucks push back against Ducks' bullies
Already missing their top two defencemen, the Canucks had their lives flash before their eyes when Anaheim's Francois Beauchemin caught Willie Mitchell with a hard hit that sent him to the Canucks' dressing room, writes Cam Cole. Straight from the pages of their boss Brian Burke's manual, these are the same Ducks that know to concentrate their attack on a team's weakness and would explain why teams', especially during the playoffs, are so coy on injury reports. The Canucks however, did not only stand up against the physical Ducks, but they seemed to draw inspiration by standing up against the big, bad Ducks as well.
"I think our guys really got fired up by all that was being said about the big, bad Ducks and how they were going to stomp all over us, and nobody gave us a chance because we had a depleted lineup," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "But this is a very competitive group. On paper, maybe other teams are better than we are, but we compete hard."
But while the Canucks are not shying away from physical play in most circumstances, they are clearly not happy about the physical abuse that goaltender Roberto Luongo
has taken thus far in two games in this series.
"There was a lot of things about tonight's game that Dave [GM Nonis] and I are going to deal with the league, a lot of things we didn't like, and I'm not going to share them with you, I'll share them with the league," said Vigneault.
THE LA TIMES REPORTS
Cowan snaps Giguere's streak
It wasn't the prettiest goal he's ever scored, but it was definitely the biggest goal of his career. Not only did Jeff Cowan's goal give pull Vancouver into a 1-1 tie in the best-of-seven series Western Conference Semi-Final series that resumes Sunday in Vancouver, but Cowan did something that no other NHL player has ever done; that is score on J.S. Giguere in playoff overtime, reports Eric Stephens.
Giguere had a shutout streak of 197 minutes and 52 seconds in playoff overtime before Cowan's marker. But even the goal scorer admitted after the game he didn't know how the puck got in.
"I just think that I shot it real hard and real quick," Cowan said. "Jiggy was over there but it just snuck in between or under his pads. I really don't know how it got in but it went in and that's the main thing."
Ducks have experience with media attention
As just one of two Canadian teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs - Ottawa being the other, LA Times writer Helene Elliott refers to the Canucks as being "the darlings of the Canadian media". This was evident at the Honda Center press box where a large contingent of Canadian reporters was present for the first two games of this series. While the Ducks might not be used to this media coverage on a day-to-day basis, they have previous experience with it after playing Calgary and Edmonton last season in the playoffs.
"Playing Edmonton was a baptismal by fire in terms of the passion in the city, the home crowd, the media coverage that the Canadian markets afford to the hockey clubs," [Anaheim Coach Randy] Carlyle said.
The Ducks also know what it will be like in the opposition building, which hopefully for them won't be intimidating when the series shifts to General Motors Place for Games 3 and 4.
"It's 1-1, and this doesn't change anything other than the venue," Penner said. "We have an idea what it's going to be like in that building. "We've just got to believe in the hard work and effort we put into this entire season."
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER REPORTS
Ducks players know they're in for a good fight
After picking up a decisive Game 1 victory, it seems everybody was writing off the Vancouver Canucks in the series. The Canucks served notice that they weren't going away without a fight in Game 2 and despite what many might have thought after Game 1, the Ducks knew even then that they couldn't just write off the Canucks, reports Dan Wood.
"I don't know who thought that. I didn't think that," Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said. "This is what happens in the playoffs. You're going to play some long games that are hard fought and you put a lot into it, and you're going to come up short sometimes. We have to bounce back, get some rest and be ready to go Sunday."