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Canucks' plan flexible for Game 2

by Derek Jory
VANCOUVER -- After sitting out Thursday's off-day skate, Pavol Demitra and Mattias Ohlund were back practicing with the Vancouver Canucks.

Both players will be in the lineup Friday night as the Canucks look to take a 2-0 series lead on the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Quarterfinals (10 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

Demitra used Thursday as a maintenance day after blocking a hard shot late in Game 1, while Ohlund had a touch of the flu and opted for some additional rest.

The game plan remains the same for Vancouver heading into Game 2, although the players are preparing to make adjustments on the fly based on how the referees call the affair.

In Game 1, the Canucks took nine penalties giving the Blues seven power play opportunities.

"We're not sure how the game's going to be called, but we're going to have to feel it out and adapt," said defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

"If they're calling it tight then we have to be smart, if not maybe we can be a little more aggressive."

The Canucks are once again looking to jump out to a quick start to utilize the home crowd and ensure the Blues have a tough time getting any momentum.

"It's always an advantage playing at home, especially when you have such great fans and they're cheering you on for the whole game," said forward Pavol Demitra of the General Motors Place faithful. "That's a huge jump for us."

After the majority of St. Louis players took Thursday off, the entire team was back on the ice for a 30-minute skate.

The Blues were loose once again, but they understand the importance of Game 2. The previous two times these teams have met in the post-season (1995 and 2003) the Canucks won the second game en route to a series win.

The ace up St. Louis' sleeve is that the Blues were playing do-or-die hockey for the entire second half of the season. They haven't lost back-to-back games in regulation in more than three months and they intend on keeping that streak alive.

"After a tough game I think we've just come out and been really physical the next night and it's afforded us a chance to cut off slumps before they begin," explained St. Louis goaltender Chris Mason.

"We just understood the urgency of our situation, we couldn't afford to get into any slumps otherwise we wouldn't be here right now."

Twelve Blues made their playoff debut in Game 1 and a few admitted that jitters could have played a roll in the team's poor play, but inexperience shouldn't be a factor tonight.

"I think there were a few nerves there on Wednesday, but we feel better now that we've got one under our belt and we know we can play better," said Mason.
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