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Canucks not surprised by early upsets

by Dave Lozo / NHL.com
VANCOUVER -- The opening night of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured three upsets and three road teams winning. It was a stark reminder that nothing can be taken for granted this time of year, that your seed doesn't dictate your quality of play and having home-ice advantage can mean nothing.

For the third-seeded Vancouver Canucks, who host the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series Thursday night (10 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS), those Wednesday surprises weren't breaking news. They are well aware of the perils and pitfalls of postseason hockey.

 
"I didn't need last night to realize that," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "I think we all know everyone starts at zero. We know who we're playing and what type of team they are. By no means is this is an easy series. If we want to win, we have to play well."

"Like you all saw last night, it doesn't mean much," defenseman Shane O'Brien said of the Canucks' home-ice advantage. "Once the puck's dropped, it's a whole new ballgame. You just got to be ready to play and play your systems well and play a full 60-minute game. Those guys work hard on the other side and they're extremely talented. By no means can we take shifts off."

There's plenty of reason for the Canucks to not take the Kings lightly. Since 2005-06, the No. 6 seed has won five of eight first-round series.

Still, the lessons of Wednesday night were learned a long time ago by the Canucks, and coach Alain Vigneault doesn't believe those Game 1s have any bearing on the Game 1 happening at GM Place.

"What's happening in the other series has nothing to do with our series," he said. "We know we're up against a very strong and prepared and tough opponent. Tonight's Game 1 and we're going to be ready for it. We've been looking forward to this for quite some time."

Follow Dave Lozo at: @DLozoNHL
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