CALGARY -- The Vancouver Canucks survived elimination once. They hope to prolong their season again with a win in Game 6 in their Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
With the momentum of winning Game 5 on home ice, the Canucks will enter Scotiabank Saddledome in search of their first road win of this best-of-7-series.
“I don't think we gave them our best here in [Games] 3 and 4,” Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. “For whatever reason, maybe sitting back at times, not attacking, a little bit hesitant, not 100 percent sure of our reads, not trusting them and staying hard on the forecheck and keeping pucks in. Just go out with more of an attack mentality I think.”
The Canucks fell behind 3-1 in the series against the Flames after losing both games in Calgary by a combined score of 7-3. A 2-1 win on home ice in Game 5 has reinvigorated Vancouver’s optimism, and another victory would force Game 7 on home ice on Monday.
The Canucks said they are hoping to ride that momentum back to Vancouver.
“It’s always good playing a game after a win,” forward Chris Higgins said. “We feel confident we can win tonight, so we’re just concerned about a good start.”
Slow starts have plagued Vancouver on the road.
Flames forward Brandon Bollig scored 6:35 into Game 3, Calgary’s first home playoff game in six years, and the Flames won 4-2. It took Johnny Gaudreau 3:23 to put Calgary up in a 3-1 win in Game 4.
The Canucks said they expect a similar push Saturday and will try to weather a quick start from the Flames and a boisterous Calgary crowd.
“They are going to come out hard,” defenseman Luca Sbisa said. “They are going to throw the body around like they did in Game 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. You’ve got to stay disciplined.
“The crowd is going and it gets them going so you want to take the wind out of their sails a bit, turn the momentum to our favor. That crowd, if things don’t go their way, will quiet down a little bit. At the same time, even If they do have a good start and land a couple big hits or what not, you can’t really read too much into the crowd. Every little bump, every little play they are going to hype up. Just focus on our game and stay composed. We’re an experienced group in here and we just need to go to work.”
The Canucks said they understand what is at stake if they don’t.
“For us, our season is on the line so we have to be the most desperate team for sure,” Bieksa said.
Here are the projected lineups:
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertschi - Nick Bonino - Radim Vrbata
Ronalds Kenins - Bo Horvat - Derek Dorsett
Chris Higgins - Brad Richardson - Shawn Matthias
Alexander Edler – Christopher Tanev
Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber
Luca Sbisa - Kevin Bieksa
Scratched: Linden Vey, Ryan Stanton, Brandon McMillan
Injured: Alexandre Burrows (upper body), Zack Kassian (back)
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne
Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Brandon Bollig - Josh Jooris - Mason Raymond
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland
Tyler Wotherspoon - David Schlemko
Scratched: Markus Granlund, Corey Potter, Drew Shore
Injured: Ladislav Smid (upper body), Paul Byron (lower body), Mark Giordano (torn biceps tendon), Raphael Diaz (lower body), (lower body), Lance Bouma (upper body)
Status report: Richardson is expected to be a game-time decision for the Canucks. … Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins suggested he’ll evaluate his lineup after morning skate. … Burrows, who sustained an upper-body injury at the morning skate before Game 4, is expected to travel back to Vancouver following the game. He’s remained in Calgary since sustaining the injury.
Who’s hot: Daniel and Henrik Sedin each have a goal and an assist as part of a two-game points streak. Miller has allowed one goal on 36 shots in 96 minutes of work since entering the series in Game 4.