Expecting a boisterous crowd behind the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks want to get going early and try to silence the fans.
“I think the key part is the start,” said Luca Sbisa. “The crowd is going and it gets them going, so you want to take the wind out of their sails a bit and turn the momentum to our favour. That crowd, if things don’t go their way, the crowd will quiet down a little bit.”
During the Flames first two home playoff games, the Scotiabank Saddledome was filled to capacity. Knowing that the fans will be loud regardless of what happens, the Canucks emphasized the need for a strong start.
“A good start,” Chris Higgins said. “I don’t think you’re ever going to take the crowd out of it.
“We feel confident we can win tonight, so we’re just concerned about a good start.”
After Vancouver’s win on Thursday night, they are confident that they can parlay that success into tonight’s game. Although, they believe that it truly comes down to they’re start and getting their game going early.
Entering tonight’s game down 3-2 to the Flames, the Canucks understand that their playoff lives are on the line.
“For us, our season is on the line so we have to be the most desperate team for sure,” said Kevin Bieksa.
“As far as we're concerned we feel good about this game, we feel confident. We feel like we have a good chance at winning this game.”
Special teams have been a crucial factor so far in this playoff series.
Even-strength goals are seven for each team, while on the power play, Calgary has four to Vancouver’s two. That difference on the man-advantage could be the difference in the series.
“You’ve got to stay disciplined,” said Sbisa. “As of late I think we’ve done a better job. They actually took a couple penalties that way, so we’ve got to keep doing it.”
In Game 4 at the ‘Dome, the Canucks had four penalties to the Flames three penalties, which resulted in two early power play goals for Calgary.
“We got into a little penalty trouble the last time we played here,” Higgins said. “I think we are confident in our five-on-five game.”
Even with a strong five-on-five game, they realize that anything can happen and that being able to burying their opportunities will be key if they want to win.
“In our last game, I don’t know if Calgary had an even-strength shot until they scored,” said Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins. “It wasn’t that we were bad, but they scored. That’s the thing tonight, you don’t have to be the best team, but you have to capitalize on your chances.”
For a series that has been neck-and-neck when full strength, one penalty could change the outcome of the game, or the series.
In the first two games at the ‘Dome, the Canucks saw the Flames bring a very physical style of play that helped them win. They realize that there is likely more of that coming their way in Game 6.
“They are going to come out hard,” Sbisa said. “They are going to throw the body around like they did in Games 3 and 4.
“We’ve got to be prepared for that, but we can’t back down. We’ve got to push back. Obviously there are going to be a lot of emotions in the game tonight.”
Desjardins recognized that tonight’s game will be a struggle and the team who plays harder will find victory.
“It’s going to come down to how hard you battle and how much you have left,” Desjardins said.
For Vancouver, they need the Sedin twins to bring the physicality and grit that they showed in Game 5. Though, the Canucks are not concerned about that.
“They get played hard every game and people underestimate how hard they play,” Desjardins said. “I think they are starting to get recognized a little bit about that. Last year one of them was playing with a broken rib, so they play hard. They’ve been good, I expect them to be good tonight, and we need them to be good.”