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Canucks center Richardson to be game-time decision

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks center Brad Richardson was one of several forwards who didn't practice Friday, but coach Willie Desjardins sounded optimistic Richardson will play in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

If Game 4 in Calgary was any indication, the Canucks will need him.

Richardson is one of Vancouver's top penalty-killers, and without him and right wing Alexandre Burrows, who is out for the series with an undisclosed injury, Calgary scored on its first two power plays in a 3-1 victory in Game 4.

With Richardson back in the lineup for Game 5 on Thursday, the Canucks gave up one shot while killing off all three Flames man-advantages, including two in the third period of a 2-1 victory.

Richardson missed 37 of the final 39 games of the regular season with an ankle injury, but he played the first three games against Calgary before being a surprise late scratch in Game 4.

"He'll be (a) game-time (decision) again, but I think last night was a good game for him and having him back in the lineup helps us," Desjardins said. "He helps us [on the penalty kill] and he's a real good playoff performer, and I think that adds to our team when he is in the lineup and I think that can make a difference for us."

Limiting the Flames power-play chances on their home ice could also make a difference. Calgary converted a long 5-on-3 in Game 3, and scored quickly on its first two chances of Game 4 after Vancouver took undisciplined, overaggressive penalties.

"We have to stay out of the box; that's No. 1," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "We know they're going to come out hard. That's going to be no surprise. Even if they do have some shifts in our end, you just have to stay focused and don't panic if they spend some time in there."

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