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Canucks-Blues Blog

by Staff
What's next?
04.22.2009 / 1:09 A.M. ET

The Blues will be back next season. If Chris Mason continues to emerge as a true number one net-minder, St. Louis will be a force next season. It will be difficult to push around the Blues once Erik Johnson, Eric Brewer and Alex Pietrangelo return. Combine those three with this year’s playoff squad, and you have a rising powerhouse in the West.

Youngsters David Perron and T.J. Oshie really seemed to find their stride in Game 4, and a healthy Paul Kariya will provide enough complimentary offense for Brad Boyes and Andy McDonald. With a defensive core that includes top picks Pietrangelo and Johnson as well as stalwarts Brewer, Barrett Jackman and Jay McKee, opposing teams will be hard-pressed to find weaknesses.

The Canucks move on to the second round. They will also have a long layoff until their next series begins. This is good news for a squad that looked banged up at the end of Game 4. Willie Mitchell, Roberto Luongo and Henrik Sedin all seemed to be hobbling slightly. Sami Salo and Mats Sundin missed Game 4 with injuries. The days off will be great for the Canucks and should leave them primed to take a run at whatever team they end up playing in the second round.

I'm a firm believer that time off in the early rounds is better than time off in the later rounds. Momentum is more important later in the playoffs.

Need Proof?

In the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Anaheim Ducks won the first two round in 10 games total, took six games to win the Conference Final, and then went on to win the Cup.

Last season the Red Wings took 10 games to win the first two rounds, six to win the Conference Final and they won the cup.

And in 2004 the Lightning won their first two rounds in nine games, won the Conference Final in seven and went on to win the cup.

If this trend continues, it could be a long season and a short but celebratory summer in Van City this year.

-- Deven Persaud

Thinking outside the box

04.21.2009 / 11:25 P.M. ET

The Blues' power play is being pushed to the outside. If they survive this game they will have to find a way to get the puck down low and to the front of the net. Despite handily outshooting the Canucks in overtime, they are still playing. Although they could be "not playing" for the next six months, so they can't be too unhappy.

Vancouver looks tired and sluggish. The only person showing any life is Roberto Luongo. At the beginning of the game I said Luongo had yet to steal a game for the Canucks. If Vancouver can win this and close out the series he will have robbed the Blues of a chance to continue playing this year, despite St. Louis having been the much better squad in this Game 4.

-- Deven Persaud

Getting overtime

04.21.2009 / 10:58 P.M. ET

If the Blues were facing any goaltender other than Roberto Luongo they would be winning this game, 10-2. No. 1 in white has been spectacular in the third period. If anyone wondered why Luongo is considered one of the best goaltenders in the world send them a tape of this third period.

There are a lot of Canucks in pain. Henrik Sedin was doubled over at the end of regulation play. Willie Mitchell has been skating on half a hip throughout the third, and Luongo looks like he tweaked his groin in the second. With overtime about to start it will be interesting to see how these maladies affect Vancouver in the extra frame and beyond.

-- Deven Persaud

Hustle and Flow

04.21.2009 / 10:10 P.M. ET

This series, which had been methodical and plodding through the first three games, has found a new life here in Game 4 -- thanks in large part to the character shown by the St. Louis Blues, rallying from two goals down to tie.

With the crowd back into the game, the Blues and Canucks are flying. The game has taken on a wide-open, back-and-forth rhythm which is making for an exciting tilt. With such a wide open flow, you've got to expect that the Blues' defense will continue to jump into the rush. The Vancouver D has to be careful not to get sucked into this style of play as it's what burned them on the Boyes goal and could burn them again in the third period.

That being said, the Canucks have yet to allow a third-period goal in the series, so regardless of the ebb and flow of the game St. Louis will have to do a masterful job of carrying the momentum into the third period if it wants to beat Roberto Luongo for a third time and extend its season for one more day.

-- Deven Persaud

A Tale of two defenses

04.21.2009 / 9:28 P.M. ET

Could Vancouver's Mattias Ohlund be the most underrated defenseman in the NHL? He averages more than 21 minutes a game, was a plus-14, and has at least 20 points in every one of his 11 NHL seasons. Tonight Ohlund has been a beast on the ice. In the absence of Sami Salo he's already played more than 10 minutes, averaging more than a minute a shift, while leading Vancouver in hits. Not to mention he's done a yeoman's job shutting down the Blues' top forwards for the third straight game.

Conversely, how much scarier would this Blues team be if they had Eric Brewer, Alex Pietrangelo and Erik Johnson in the lineup. All three are solid two-way defensemen who can skate, hit and shoot. Despite the fact that St. Louis is down 3-0 in the series, all three games have been competitive. It's not a reach to think that the Blues might be tied -- even ahead -- in this Western Conference Quarterfinal series had the Blues had those three on the ice.

-- Deven Persaud

Wellwood from Colaiacovo at 5:20 of the 1st

04.21.2009 / 8:46 P.M. ET

Carlo Colaiacovo made a beautiful pass to Kyle Wellwood for the goal. Unfortunately they aren't teammates anymore. Colaiacovo has to make better decisions with the puck. If the Blues want to win this game their defense has to play above their heads. They aren't a skilled enough group to get away with poor fundamentals.

Consider this, during the regular season the Blues had 113 points from their defenseman, versus 176 points for the Canucks blue-line. So while trying to contain this high-powered team, the Blues D-line also has to match their production -- something impossible to do when you make miscues that would earn you bench-time in pee-wee hockey.

-- Deven Persaud

Desperation time for Blues

04.21.2009 / 8:24 P.M. ET

I called Andy McDonald invisible early in this series. But he has quickly won me over with his work ethic and heart. He is starting to remind me of Doug Gilmour, without the mean streak. Both are sub-six-foot speedy playmakers who come up big in the playoffs. Gilmour may have had more grit but McDonald has a set of hands like no other. Both players won a Cup as a role player early in their careers -- McDonald with Anaheim in his fifth season, Gilmour in Calgary in his sixth -- and both moved on to new clubs where they became the first-line center.

The difference for McDonald is that his supporting cast in St. Louis is not coming alive like Gilmour's Maple Leafs of the 1990s. For the Blues to stay alive, they need Keith Tkachuk, Brad Boyes and Patrick Berglund to show the scoring touch they displayed in the regular season.

The Canucks have played steady hockey thus far in the playoffs. I would expect Coach Alan Vigneault to shuffle his lines early. He will be trying to negate the fact that the Blues get the last change. If he can keep one of his two scoring lines away from Barret Jackman and Jay McKee and they can get a goal early in this first period that should be enough for Roberto Luongo to steal the game.

As well as Luongo has played this series, he hasn't stolen a game yet. He was great when he had to be. But the Canucks have yet to steal a game that they had no business winning, a Luongo specialty.

-- Deven Persaud

The Canucks show they're special

04.19.2009 / 9:48 P.M. ET

In what was a tense, back-and-forth game, the difference, as it so often is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, was the special teams play of both St. Louis and Vancouver. While the Blues trailed, their best opportunity to tie the game came midway through the third period when they squandered a two-man advantage. A lack of production on the power play plagued St. Louis all night, as it went 0-for-6 with the extra man.

In contrast, while Roberto Luongo may be remembered for keeping the score close during an opening period that was completely dominated by the Blues, the Canucks shined where their opponents struggled. Vancouver scored all of its goals on the power play in taking out what was a rejuvenated St. Louis team in Game 3. The Canucks were outplayed for long stretches tonight at Scottrade Center, but they took advantage of their opportunities when they came. Barring a comeback of historic proportions, they'll be getting more opportunities in the second round.

--David Kalan

Well, that didn't take long

04.19.2009 / 9:11 P.M. ET

At the start of the third period, Vancouver has nipped St. Louis' energy in the bud quickly. Steve Bernier has potted a power-play goal less than two minutes in to put the Canucks back on top.

With multiple lead changes tonight, clearly no advantage is safe, but Roberto Luongo is an awfully nice insurance policy to have. With the clock running out and their season possibly hanging in the balance, the cards appear heavily stacked against the Blues.

--David Kalan

Reversal of fortune

04.19.2009 / 8:52 P.M. ET

To say the Blues won the first period of this game wouldn't be a stretch. For much of the second, it appeared we could say the same thing about the Canucks, who had sufficiently quieted St. Louis' energy with two quick goals in the middle of the period.

But a brilliant pass out of the corner by David Perron to a waiting Andy McDonald completely turned the tables with 3:47 left before the intermission, as McDonald deposited the puck behind a handcuffed Roberto Luongo to tie the game. Since then it has been all Blues. The energy has been back in Scottrade Center and two massive hits by Cam Janssen and T.J. Oshie have reasserted the home team's physical dominance.

With the score even as they head to the final period, it will be interesting to see if the Blues can maintain the momentum they couldn't hold onto after the first. If the Canucks hold up their end of the bargain, I'll put my money with Roberto Luongo, but don't be surprised if the Blues can duplicate the energy they had early in the night and ensure a return trip to British Columbia.

--David Kalan

I think they noticed

04.19.2009 / 8:33 P.M. ET

St. Louis spent the first 20 minutes tonight making it abundantly clear they would not go quietly. Vancouver seems to have gotten the memo.

The Canucks have certainly upped the intensity in the second period, and Blues goalie Chris Mason had held his ground through a number of flurries in his crease, but Mattias Ohlund finally hit the back of the net on a power play at 7:57. Daniel Sedin put Vancouver in front with a score on a two-man advantage moments later.

Despite the two goals, Mason has put on a performance similar to Roberto Luongo's in the first period, but the Blues will need to regroup and find both the energy and discipline that had them skating circles around the Canucks at the game's start if they are to rally for a potentially season-saving win.

--David Kalan

First period thoughts

04.19.2009 / 8:04 P.M. ET

The Blues have dominated this period end to end. The crowd has certainly played its part in keeping the energy in Scottrade Center high, but the players on the ice have responded with multiple scoring chances and by physically taking the game to the Canucks. St. Louis tripled the number of hits delivered by Vancouver in the first 20 minutes, as the Canucks struggled to keep up.

If there is anything to be learned from the opening period of Game 3, aside from the raucous atmosphere in St. Louis, it's that Roberto Luongo has continued to show throughout this series that he belongs with Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Nabokov or Miikka Kiprusoff among the top echelon of NHL goalies. Luongo gave up one goal in the first period, and he did so early, but with a lesser netminder between the pipes, it could have been three or four.

--David Kalan

Come on feel the noize

04.19.2009 / 7:25 P.M. ET

It's been five years since Scottrade Center hosted a playoff game, and a lot of pent-up energy seems to be escaping from the St. Louis faithful. In the early moments of the first period the crowd has been as loud as one might typically see in the closing moments of a Stanley Cup Final. Screaming, chanting, booing and air horns have been so loud that the players on the ice had difficulty hearing the whistle at the first stoppage of play.

The Blues fans don't seem to be the only ones with energy. After struggling to score in the first two games of the series, the Blues have broken through early. St. Louis has skated with a purpose and put sustained pressure on the Vancouver net since the puck drop. The result was a score by David Backes -- the Blues' first even-strength tally of the series -- just over three minutes in.  

--David Kalan

Sudin scratched groin injury
04.19.2009 / 7:21 P.M. ET

Veteran Mats Sundin, who got  the game-winning goal in Vancouver's 3-0 victory in Game 2 of its Western Conference Quarterfinals matchup with St. Louis was scratched from Game 3 with groin injury. The decision was made just before game time.

Signs point to Kariya not playing

04.19.2009 / 6:36 P.M. ET

Paul Kariya did not come out for the pregame skate. It was thought the 14-year veteran might be in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 5 in Anaheim. Kariya had two goals and 13 assists the Blues' first 11 games before being sidelined for the rest of the regular season with surgery on his left hip on Jan. 5 and then the right hip in early February. The Blues have had just one goal in the first two games against Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Cam Janssen apparently will get the call over Dan Hinote for Game 3.

-- Larry Wigge

Kariya's status uncertain
04.19.2009 / 6:08 P.M. ET

With just under an hour remaining before game time, the question of whether Paul Kariya will return to the lineup is on everyone's minds. The 34-year-old left wing has been out for much of the season, but while on the ice he has been productive. In only 11 games Kariya tallied 15 points, including 13 assists. With St. Louis trailing in the series 2-0, Kariya's return could provide a significant boost to an offense that, while potent late in the regular season, has only managed to put one shot past Vancouver's Roberto Luongo in the first two games.

While Kariya hasn't played since November, he participated in the morning skate earlier today and will be a game-time decision. If the veteran forward were to take the ice tonight, it could significantly change the dynamics of a series that might get away from the Blues if they can't break out and take Game 3.

--David Kalan

Canucks 3, Blues 0
04.18.2009 / 12:46 am ET

If anyone was wondering why Roberto Luongo is one of the best goaltenders in the League, it's because he works harder than anyone else. Luongo spent the better part of practice this morning working on the one goal that St. Louis scored in Game 1.

With that type of work ethic, two solid scoring lines and a bruising defense, it is a testament to the will of the Blues that they've only conceded five goals throughout this series.

Despite the lopsided score, this 3-0 win for Vancouver was much closer than the score indicated. It was a one-goal contest until midway through the third period. Both teams were flying and hitting through the contest, and there is definitely no quit in this Blues squad. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take both games at home with a raucous St. Louis crowd behind them.

  -- Deven Persaud

Young Guns and McDonald's
04.18.2009 / 12:16 pm ET

The Canucks are 31-0-3 when leading after two periods this season. The Blues have their work cut out for then. Lucky for them it seems Andy McDonald reads this blog between periods. He's been all over the ice this period. If one of their young guns steps up with him, it could be trouble for Vancouver. David Perron, T.J. Oshie and David Backes have to play better. The trio is not playing to the level expected after each player enjoyed sensational regular seasons.

Vancouver looks primed to take a significant hold on this series. If they can stay out of the penalty box they should be able to maintain this lead. They have a big defense corps who stick-check well and solid two-way forwards who back-check ferociously. Low-scoring games are the Canucks' forte and this is quickly shaping up to be their kind of series.

  -- Deven Persaud

Quick hits after 40 minutes
04.17.2009 / 11:58 pm ET

This game is flying by, it’s been two hours and we’re already through two periods.

How mentally tough are these Blues? What if captain Eric Brewer was able to play? Do you think the Canucks could compete without Robert Luongo?

Does anyone have better hand-eye coordination than Mats Sundin? His redirection on the first goal of the game makes me think he could play professional baseball successfully.

How happy do you think Pavol Demitra to get an assist against the club with which he spent he first seven years of his career?

Paul Kariya must be unbelievably frustrated on injured reserve while his teammates play their hearts out in his hometown.

Steve Bernier signed an offer sheet with the Blues in the offseason. David Backes signed one with the Canucks. Would this series be any different if they had changed teams?

In the third period the Canucks will almost certainly move to a collapsing defensive scheme, while the Blues will have to open it up more. Look for Carlo Colaiacovo to get double-shifted in the third period and jump into the rush.

  -- Deven Persaud

Give my back my Filet-O-Fish
04.17.2009 / 11:24 pm ET

Something seems fishy with the ice behind Chris Mason. Daniel Sedin falls and seconds later, Roman Polak loses his balance and hits the ice. It's something to keep an eye on as the game wears on. I'd hate to see this stellar game turn on a miscue caused by a warm arena.

Chris Mason is starting to remind me of an early-1990s Curtis Joseph. He is seeing the puck well and making acrobatic saves look routine. Vancouver is finding out how it feels to play against a world-class goaltender who is on top of his game.

Vancouver's defense seems more porous in the neutral zone than in Game 1. They are going to have to lock that down. The Canucks can't afford to give the Blues easy access through center ice. St. Louis generates offense carrying through the zone and across the blue line. I expect to see less dump-and-chase from the Blues if the Vancouver D remains lax.

  -- Deven Persaud

First period thoughts
04.17.2009 / 11:00 pm ET

After one period we’ve been treated to some extremely exciting hockey. But where is Andy McDonald? The only Stanley Cup winner in this series has been ineffective thus far. His return from injury was a huge reason the Blues made the playoffs. They need him to be creative if they want to compete.

The Canucks have done an excellent job of staying out of the penalty box. No penalty minutes through 20 minutes of play. If they can start turning the puck up the ice faster, they can easily out-skate the St. Louis 'D' and take the puck to the net. Speed and aggressive play in the offensive zone seems to be the only way to generate chances against a hard-hitting, but plodding, St. Louis defense.

  -- Deven Persaud

The Fast and the Furious
04.17.2009 / 10:47 pm ET

This game is one of the most entertaining I've seen in a long time. It's full of end-to-end rushes, big hits, and stellar goaltending. It reminds me of a pee-wee game with infinitely more skill. Chris Mason and Roberto Luongo have been spectacular thus far. With so many teams looking for consistent starting goaltending, it's amazing that both the Panthers and the Predators, neither of whom made the playoffs, traded Luongo and Mason.

I'm surprised the Blues' forwards aren't trying to initiate the contact with the Canucks' defense. This is the kind of contest Keith Tkachuk was built for. He needs to take the reins and show his young teammates how to take it to the net.

  -- Deven Persaud

Pregame Thoughts: Blues Edition
04.17.2009 / 9:34 pm ET

What they did well --
Solid defense and good goaltending. Chris Mason didn’t allow a bad goal and the defense kept St. Louis in the game. Their young blueliners played with poise in a pressure-packed situation. They went into a hostile building with two-thirds of their defense corps making their playoff debut. The back end handled the game and the Vancouver offense masterfully.

The Blues kept it close and left G.M. Place knowing they can keep pace with the favored Canucks. Despite losing Game 1, the Blues have to feel good about themselves.

What to improve -- The Blues played hard and still lost -- so even at their best, can they beat the Canucks? They’ll have to take advantage of the Vancouver defense's tendency to pinch. St. Louis will need tape-to-tape passes when there's an opening. There were numerous opportunities for odd-man rushes Wednesday night that were nullified by passes that missed the mark.

Additionally St. Louis will have to do more on the power play. If the Blues can take advantage of an overzealous Vancouver penalty kill, they should be able to generate good chances against Roberto Luongo.

What to Watch for -- A looser, much more relaxed St. Louis squad that will make crisper outlet passes and forecheck harder. Specifically look for David Perron -- he looked very frustrated toward the end of Wednesday night’s game, but has the skill to be a difference maker.

  -- Deven Persaud

Pregame Thoughts: Canucks Edition
04.17.2009 / 9:13 pm ET

What they did well --
The unsung heroes for Vancouver came through in Game 1. Yes the Sedin twins were the most visible Canucks Wednesday night, but the game was won thanks to Steve Bernier, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows.

Bernier was spectacular in an unspectacular fashion. He created space for Daniel Sedin on the Canucks' first goal and screened Chris Mason on the second. Kesler and Burrows kept the St. Louis defense honest with their aggressive forecheck and solid two-way play. Kesler played the best all-round game of any player -- he didn't make the scoresheet but finished with three shots, six hits and four blocked shots while taking pressure off the Sedin Twins.

What to improve -- Avoid taking needless penalties. After taking eight minors Wednesday the Canucks were able to contain the Blues eighth-ranked power play in Game 1. But they need to play more disciplined hockey.

On the offensive side, Mats Sundin needs to show up. He was outplayed and out worked. He is not showing any of the trademark hustle that made him a fan-favorite in Toronto.

What to Watch For -- Don’t expect much change from coach Alain Vigneault. The Canucks will continue to batter the Blues forward corps often. Look for the Vancouver D to jump into the rush and for another goal from a Canuck defenseman -- maybe a wrister from the hash marks.

  -- Deven Persaud

Canucks back on the ice
04.16.2009  6:52 P.M. ET

Vancouver’s Steve Bernier hit the ice 15 minutes before the rest of the Canucks Thursday morning.
The team practiced for roughly an hour, but Bernier felt a little overtime was necessary to help him polish up his shooting from in close.

Missed opportunities from the hash marks in have plagued the first-year forward this season and he’s on a mission to rectify that in the postseason.

"Playoffs are so important and it’s so hard to get scoring chances that when you do have one, you want to do the best you can to score," he explained.

Bernier’s new routine, which started at the beginning of the week, has him rifle pucks into the net from the goal mouth, before backing up 10 feet to practice his touch from farther out.

The extra work set the stage for a light practice where the Canucks focused on their special teams play, specifically the power play.

Noticeably absent from the skate was forward Pavol Demitra -- he blocked a shot so was given the day to rest up -- and defensemen Mattias Ohlund, who was sent home when he arrived in the morning with a touch of the flu. Both are expected to play Friday.

Sami Salo will also be in the lineup, albeit a little more colorful. He took a puck to the face on his final shift of Wednesday night’s game. No stitches were needed but his left eye is black and blue.

 -- Derek Jory

Final score, Canucks 2, Blues 1
04.16.2009 / 12:55 AM ET

The main story has to be the team play of the Canucks -- nothing spectacular, nothing flashy, just a hardworking effort on the part of Vancouver, specifically the defense. Their fans have to be excited.

What a difference a year makes. Last season, the Canucks struggled down the stretch, missed the playoffs and had a tumultous offseason. This year, they're one game into the playoffs and they looked impressive in grabbing a 1-0 series lead. A great defensive effort, timely scoring and another solid effort from Roberto Luongo in tonight’s victory re-affirms my belief that they are a squad to be feared in this postseason.

Not to take anything away from the Blues, who, thanks to a stellar game, were finally able to solve Roberto Luongo. But they'll have to make more than a few adjustments if they want to take Game 2 and make it a series -- the game wasn't quite as close as the final score indicated.

- Deven Persaud

Third Period Thoughts
04.16.2009 / 12:20 AM ET

The Canucks continue to throw bodies in front of Chris Mason. It's a testament to his skill -- plus a couple of posts hit by Daniel Sedin -- that the Canucks have juts two goals.

Now that the penalty calls have stopped, the game is finally getting into a rhythm, with both teams' defenses asserting more of a physical presence. I haven't heard much from either team’s forward corps at all this period. Neither team seems able to carry the puck into the offensive zone effectively, I wouldn't be surprised to see Blues coach Andy Murray move to a dump and chase plan with Keith Tkachuk and David Backes forechecking hard.

- Deven Persaud

Second Period Thoughts
04.15.2009 / 12:08 PM ET

The confidence the Sedins are showing is remarkable. Two years ago in Dallas, they were getting knocked around playing against the top defense pair of the Stars. This year, with the Blues' D being forced to concentrate on two scoring lines, the twins are flying. A cheeky goal in the first period and a shot off the post in the second are evidence that the Sedins are clearly playing inspired hockey.

Speaking of inspired, a stat just came up: Brad Boyes' score was the first goal allowed by Roberto Luongo in more166 minutes of play. Does anyone think that the Blues have their work cut out for them?

-- Deven Persaud

Special Teams and Screens
04.15.2009 / 11:52 PM ET

You can't stop what you can't see. Steve Bernier looked Tomas Holmstrom-esque on the second Vancouver goal, blocking Chris Mason's view as Sami Salo's point shot sailed into the net.

On the next penalty kill, the Blues successfully defended against this by playing a big box and tight to the point on the power play, rushing the D-men and forcing them to move the puck before they can shoot.

However, the Canucks have proven adept at moving the puck along the side boards and into the slot -- as they did on Daniel Sedin's first period goal -- and it will be interesting to see how St. Louis is able to contain this suddenly potent and varied Vancouver power play.

- Deven Persaud

Bailouts and Leafs Stock
04.15.2009 / 11:05 PM ET

Roberto Luongo is in the zone, and his teammates know it. Mathias Ohlund just crept in to take a shot in the Blues' zone, knowing that even if he didn't get back in time, Luongo would bail him out. Right there is a major theme in this series: the ability of the Vancouver defensemen to cheat knowing that they have one of the best goalies in the world backing them up.

As an aside, how many former Maple Leafs are playing prominent roles in this series? It's 20 minutes into the first game and I've heard Sundin, Wellwood and Colaiacovo mentioned half a dozen times each already. Alex Steen, get in the game!

- Deven Persaud

Early Thoughts in Game 1
04.15.2009 / 10:38 PM ET

Three goals. That's how many Robert Luongo and Chris Mason gave up in the last week of the season, COMBINED. For anyone expecting an offensive shootout, go watch a tape of the 1980s Edmonton Oilers. Despite the lack of offense, this game already has the Vancouver crowd hyped, and they're chanting early in the game. For a province that's considered calm and serene, these Canuck fans seem like an ornery group. They've got good reason: Their big forwards are really laying into the defense. Ryan Kesler just stood up Carlo Colaiacovo.

Mats Sundin and Keith Tkachuk took a faceoff against each other. One started his career with the Quebec Nordiques the other with the Winnipeg Jets. What are the chances another faceoff happens in the entire playoffs with guys who played for those teams?

- Deven Persaud

A few more things on the 'Nucks-Blues series

04.15.2009 / 6:58 PM ET

Canucks: Secondary offense -- For years, Vancouver has been a one-line team, in the past with Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison and this season with the Sedin twins. But you have to think that with the acquisition of Mats Sundin and the emergence of Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, the Canucks are finally able to roll multiple scoring lines, and that could spell trouble for the Blues. If this line’s success doesn't carry into the post-season, don't be surprised to see Coach Alain Vigneault collapse the D, reel in the forecheck and try to win on the back of Roberto Luongo.

What to watch for -- The Kesler-Sundin-Burrows line will come out quickly, but look for them late in the third. If Kesler and Burrows are still banging away in the corners and freeing up space for Sundin with the same energy they had in the first period, then they haven’t been neutralized by the Blues' defense and will probably be effective throughout the series

Blues: Defensive depth and experience -- Barret Jackman, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jay McKee, Mike Weaver, Roman Polak and Jeff Woywitka. Although it's not exactly Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis -- the Blues' top pairing last time they made the playoffs -- this unsung group has gotten it done all season. But as solid as they've been this season, they'll have to be even better to shut down a deep Vancouver forward corps while the offense tries to solve all-star netminder Roberto Luongo. Key for this group will be a quick turnaround in the defensive zone.

What to watch for -- Watch for the quick outlet pass out of the zone and to the forwards. If the Blues' inexperienced D can stay calm and make the safe tape-to-tape play under pressure it will kick-start the forecheck and lead to chances.  If they can't, watch for turnovers in front of Chris Mason and a quick series.

- Deven Persaud
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