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Canucks, Sharks looking for some special play

by Dan Rosen /
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Canucks scored the game-winning goals in Games 3, 4 and 6 against Nashville on the power play.

San Jose's 51 power play opportunities are the most of any team in through two rounds.

The Canucks killed off 20 of 21 penalties against Nashville and finished the regular season with the League's third-ranked penalty kill and No. 1 power play.

San Jose was No. 2.

Yes, special teams will be huge in the Western Conference Finals. If one team gains the edge on both ends, it will probably advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

"They've got a lot of skill up front and they've got (Dan) Boyle on 'D', and he's one of the best power play defensemen in the League," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday morning. "It's obviously not something I'd like to do, give them a lot of power plays."

The Sharks have converted only seven of their 51 power plays for a 13.7-percent success rate that is 13th in the NHL. The Canucks have allowed the opposition 50 power play chances, so the Sharks are likely going to get their share in this series as well and they have to be better.

"When you look at it from a numbers perspective, the 13 percent, 14 percent or wherever we're at, not very impressive," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "When you look at the goals we scored, the power play (goals), you have to be pretty pleased. It's won us some games, allowed us to move on."

Vancouver has converted on eight of 36 power plays, but just one of 18 on its home ice. San Jose has had its own discipline problems and has given up the opposition 52 power play chances. The Canucks need to take advantage, but they also need to keep the chances against down. They've given up a League-worst three shorthanded goals.

"I'm a big believer that when you close a series and you move on, you start with fresh numbers," McLellan said. "We have a huge challenge ahead of us, because they're a very good penalty-killing team, obviously the best in the League. We expect our power play to have an impact on the series."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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