DEALING WITH THE C OF RED
The Vancouver Canucks bring their playoff road show into Scoitabank Saddledome for the first time in 11 years.
It's safe to say the playoff starved C of Red won't be a welcoming group when Vancouver hits the ice. The expected energy the crowd will bring won't be a surprise to Canucks' coach Wilie Desjardins.
"I think everyone’s aware," Desjardins said after the Vancouver skate on Saddledome ice. "Calgary’s got good fans, they’re going to be excited. The building will be going and both teams will be ready."
The Canucks have had success on the road all season amassing a 24-14-3 record away from Rogers Arena. Desjardins has prepared his team by rolling all four lines in the first two games and he downplayed the importance of line matchups for Game 3.
"We want to play our lines and whoever they’re playing against they’re playing against," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's Sedin against Monahan or Backlund, we’re not as concerned about that. We’re just trying to roll our lines and keep them going."
Canucks forward Nick Bonino doesn't care who he lines up against.
"You're still playing against everyone on the other team," said Bonino, who has one assist and three shots to his credit in the first two games. "I don't think matchups that Calgary throws at us are really going to throw us off because everyone has already played against everyone else on their team in these first two games. [Desjardins] has confidence in everyone on the team and I think that helps guys, it gives them confidence and I think it's worked well so far."
Vancouver came out flying in Game 2 scoring in the first few minutes. The Flames struggled to match the Canucks' intensity level and Vancouver took advantage skating to a 2-0 lead after the first stanza and eventually coming out on top to tie the series.
The start in Game 2 is the reason why the series is deadlocked and taking the crowd out of it early will be key for Vancouver.
"They’re going to be going nuts," Canucks forward Shawn Matthias said of the home crowd, "So if they score first, it’s just going to be that much crazier. We want to have a good start and get the ball rolling in our favour and try to take the crowd out of it. It’s playoffs so they are going to be going crazy regardless of what the score is. We've just got to focus on our end and focusing on this room and not worrying about too much more than that."
It's no secret the Canucks have the edge when it comes to playoff experience.
The Flames have just 231 combined games of NHL playoff experience -- 68 of those games belong to Jiri Hudler compared to Vancouver, owners of 761 games collectively.
"It's always important to see guys with experience that have been there before," said Bonino, who had 24 playoff games under his belt in three season's with Anaheim before being dealt to Vancouver as part of the Ryan Kesler trade. "They get scored on and it's not a panic on the bench, it's a pretty even keel. It's beneficial this late in the season and in playoffs and the deeper you get into the playoffs you need to understand that anything can happen.
"Our leaders have done a good job of keeping us calm in the room between periods on the bench and I think it really showed last game."
Experience didn't seem to matter much to Calgary in Game 1. The youthful group settled down after a slow start and controlled much of the last half of the game. Game 2 , however, was a different story.
Unlike the Flames, the Canucks did not skate on Saturday and are expected to ice the same lineup as Game 2. Eddie Lack will get the nod in goal after a strong performance in both previous games and a near shutout in Game 2.
He’s been good," Desjardins said of his netminder. "There’s lots of action around the net. The key for anybody, there’s going to be some intensity and some emotion, the key with that is that you have the mind to keep it focused. He’s been real good so far. He’s a passionate guy, but his mind has been good and his focus has been good."
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows
Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino - Radim Vrbata
Brad Richardson - Shawn Matthias - Derek Dorsett
Ronalds Nenins - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen
Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev
Kevin Bieksa - Luca Sbisa
Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber