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Canucks need to pick their spots better

by Dhiren Mahiban

VANCOUVER -- A lot was made after Game 1 about the Vancouver Canucks setting the physical tone, out-hitting the Chicago Blackhawks 47-21 in their 2-0 win. However, the Canucks know they have to pick their spots a bit better in Game 2 Friday night at Rogers Arena.

"You get yourself in trouble when you go looking for hits and we had a few times (Wednesday), their forwards have their head up, they're good skilled players," said defenseman Keith Ballard, whose hit on Tomas Kopecky on a harmless looking play sidelined the forward for Game 2 with what the Blackhawks are calling an upper-body injury. "They make it hard to get contact on them, but we have to make sure we're in control.

"By no means is anyone going to lay off the physical play."

The likes of Dan Hamhuis, Alexander Edler and Kevin Bieksa were caught stepping up looking for a big open-ice hit, only to miss their Blackhawks target, and get caught out of position.

"We missed with a couple hits and it led to some odd man rushes so we don't want to do that too often," Bieksa said. "The adrenaline is flowing at the beginning of the game and you want to get into somebody, but a lot times with these guys you open stuff up and they can make you pay.

"We'll do a little bit better job there (in Game 2)."

The Blackhawks acknowledged immediately after Game 1 that they needed to be better in the physical department.

"They took it to us physically," forward Patrick Kane said. "We got to make sure we're better in that respect -- try to play physical on their defense, try to wear them down a little bit.

"I know they got some guys back there who have been injured for a while and maybe played a couple games since they've been injured, so try to get on them, hit them, and maybe that can make the difference."

Chicago was led in the physical department in Game 1 by forward Michael Frolik, who had six of the team's 21 hits. Coach Joel Quenneville said his team needs to do a better job in the neutral zone.

"(Vancouver) is looking for hits in the middle of the ice, I think we got to be smarter with our transition game and getting the pucks in behind them," he said. "I think that we were taking it across the board and I think that's how we got to deliver it back."

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