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Canucks tweak lineup for Game 3

by John Manasso /
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault made some changes to his lineup on Tuesday for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals, choosing to sit offensive-minded defenseman Keith Ballard, who was minus-1 in 19:27 of time on ice in Game 2's 2-1 overtime loss to the Predators, and going with some size in 6-foot-5 Andrew Alberts.

Ballard was on ice for the winning goal against in overtime of Game 2. Alberts, who sat out the first two games of the series, has played only two games in the playoffs, missing the Canucks' first two in the first round with an injury.

He played Games 6 and 7 for Vancouver in the first round, logging 14:55 in Game 6 and going minus-1 and 7:08 in Game 7 and playing even.

Also out was right wing Victor Oreskovich who has no points and 12 penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating in six postseason games. In his place is Cody Hodgson who has one assist and is minus-2 in four postseason games.

Vigneault did not address the media following the team's optional skate on Tuesday but after Monday's practice he was asked about Hodgson.

"He brings a skill element," Vigneault said but then cautioned of practice lines, "I wouldn't read into too much into what you saw on the ice."

Vigneault also was somewhat critical when asked about his third defense pair of Ballard and Aaron Rome, saying, "I thought they had their moments where they looked all right. Some of their decisions put them in a little bit trouble.

With injuries to Canucks' defensemen in the second half, including ones to Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis, Ballard at times played a top-four role and reached the 20-minute mark in time on ice on occasion.

Vigneault seemed to be going with a bit more size against the physical Predators with Alberts than the 5-11 Ballard, who is more of an offensive-minded player, once reaching the 39-point mark with Phoenix.
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