SVEN TO MAKE SERIES DEBUT
Sven Baertschi will make his first playoff appearance against his former team tonight.
It was thought the 22-year-old might play Game 4 in Calgary after taking warmups but Canucks coach Willie Desjardins opted for Richmond, B.C. native Brandon McMillan instead.
Baertschi has yet to get his first taste of NHL Playoff hockey but the former Flame has been waiting for a long time.
"It’s something special for me, getting the call and coming up here and being able to be here during the playoffs is something special," said Baertschi, who tallied a pair of goals in the Canucks regular season finale against the Edmonton Oilers. "I think, for any young player. Against your old team is something even more special."
The Flames shipped Baertschi to the Canucks at the NHL trade deadline for Vancouver's second round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft after he requested a trade through his agent. Baertschi felt he was being under-utilized and was searching for a fresh start and a new scenario.
This is the first time he'll face his former team.
"For me, I’m already motivated just to be here and being able to play in a playoff game," Baertschi said after the morning skate at Rogers Arena. "That’s where the focus is for me. I don’t really care who is on the other side, to be honest with you. Of course I’m going to see the red jersey. I’m going to be reminded of my old teammates and everything.
"In the end, I’m just so excited being here and being able to play and being able to play in such a big game right now."
IT'S MILLER TIME
Ryan Miller will get his first start of the 2015 post-season tonight in Vancouver.
The veteran netminder replaced Eddie Lack in Game 4 after the first period when Lack surrendered three goals on seven shots.
Miller turned in a strong performance in the final two periods in Game 4 stopping all 13 shots he faced despite only seeing action in one game -- the Canucks final regular season game --since being sidelined with a knee ailment on Feb. 22 in a game versus the New York Islanders.
Desjardins was happy with the way Miller finished the game in Calgary.
"I think he’s been in big games before but the biggest thing is how he played in Calgary," Desjardins said. "I thought he looked really sharp in Calgary.”
The decision to go with Miller was a tough one for the Canucks coach. Other than the opening period in Game 4, Lack has been solid for Vancouver.
"I don’t think it’s easy," Desjardins said. "Eddie’s played really great for us. He did a great job down the stretch. I just think Miller looked good in Calgary. He was really clean over the last two periods. Other than that I think he deserves the chance."
Miller had 53 NHL playoff games to his credit between Buffalo and St. Louis. After Tuesday's action he has a .916 save percentage and 2.16 goals against average.
After scoring just three goals in the past two games, Vancouver is looking to get their offence going tonight.
The lack of offence always seems to come back to the production levels of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who have combined for four points in the series.
"I think the Sedins have been real good in this series, they just haven’t scored," Desjardins said. They’ve had chances but haven’t scored. Sometimes that happens. You never know. You just don’t know and that’s playoff hockey.
For Henrik, the solution is simple.
"Shoot the puck past Hiller or the goal line," he smiled. "We are going to keep doing the same things. There are things we can change and do differently to create some more chances and maybe more open ice for us, but I think we’ve had enough chances to put enough pucks in the net to win games and we haven’t done that so far. That’s on us and the only thing we can do is go out there tonight and score a few."