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Canucks expect more discipline in Game 4

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa is expecting a more disciplined approach Tuesday in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames will yield better results.

"I'm not worried about it. I think we're a pretty disciplined team," said Bieksa, who was assessed seven minutes in penalties Sunday in the 4-2 loss against the Flames in Game 3. "Obviously in the third period we were on the wrong end of some penalties and they capitalized and scored that extra goal to kind of put the game out of reach for us. It's playoff hockey. We've got to be smart. We've got to be on the right end of those calls."

The Canucks were assessed seven minor penalties, two fighting majors and a 10-minute misconduct in the loss. In all, 35 minutes in penalties were assessed to Vancouver in the third period.

But despite a physical end to the previous two meetings, Bieksa expects a calmer Game 4 on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I think at times maybe we've got sucked in a bit," he said.

"The officiating has spoken. They don't want any more stuff after the whistle and they're going to be looking to take one guy or two guys and 10-minute misconducts, whatever it be. They want to clean the series up. I think that probably plays into our favor. … We'll be smarter between the whistles and play hard."

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins expects a tighter game from the officials.

"Our guys know what was passed forward," he said. "We've got to react accordingly. We have to be a smart team and we have to be a disciplined team.

"It's a message that the referees passed onto us. It's follow what they're saying. Lets be smart. We've already addressed it. We've talked about it and moved on. We're ready for tomorrow's game."

Discipline isn't the only adjustment Vancouver is looking to make.

Experience favors the Canucks, who, Bieksa suggested, are trying to manage the ebbs and flows of the opening-round playoff matchup.

"This is what we talked about before the series," said Bieksa, a veteran of 68 playoff games. "It's going to be a series of ups and downs. We're a team that, for the most part that's gone through it before several times. I think we're able to handle these situations and we know we have to respond with a good effort and we know how momentum can switch really quickly."

Vancouver has qualified for the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons and made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. The Flames are making their first appearance in the playoffs since 2009.

That edge in experience, Bieksa hopes, will help lead the Canucks back to Vancouver with an even series.

"We knew it was going to be back and forth," he said. "I don't think we thought we were going to be in control all series and have no pushback. I'm not sure how they're thinking on their end. I'm sure they're feeling pretty good about themselves right now. That's great for us.

"We'll come in and play a nice solid road game, hopefully get the two points and momentum will be on our side heading back home."

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