Canucks Game Day: Vancouver seeks to square series with Sharks in 'very important' game (with video)
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (left) sits on the bench next to Dan Hamhuis after he was taken off the ice for the extra skater during the final moments of the third period of Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference quarter-final playoff series at Rogers Arena on Wednesday May 1, 2013. The visiting San Jose Sharks won 3-1.
Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – In NHL playoff history, the team that has won the first game in a best-of-seven series has continued on to win that series 68.3 per cent of the time. So the Vancouver Canucks are already on the wrong side of the odds heading into Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks.
You can imagine how those odds will lengthen if they take another pratfall tonight.
“Obviously you don't want to go down 2-0 and have all the momentum going to them going back to their home ice,” Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa said today, understating matters. “But if you win the second game, it's funny how the momentum swings in the playoffs. All of the sudden, we've got a little momentum going to play them on their home soil. So there is going to be a lot of emphasis on tonight's game.
“I don't like using the phrase 'must-win' but it is a very important game.”
Based on this morning's on-ice workout, the Canucks don't figure to change any of the 18 skaters who participated in Wednesday's 3-1 Game 1 loss. The only players who appeared on the ice were 'Black Ace' extras Keith Ballard, Cam Barker, Tom Sestito and Steve Pinizzotto. The foursome took shots on Roberto Luongo as well as tonight's backup Joe Cannata and the injured Cory Schneider (undisclosed).
Schneider appeared to be moving well in the crease area but his status remains cloudy, especially after head coach Alain Vigneault said he wasn't sure whether Schneider would even make the trip to San Jose for Games 3 and 4.
“Cory is on the ice with four guys,” Vigneault said. “He's day-to-day.”
Luongo reiterated Bieksa's comments that falling down 2-0 in the series would not be advisable.
“I think that goes without saying,” he noted. “Preferably, you want to be up 2-0 but it is a four-of-seven and you have to realize that sometimes you're going to face adversity. It's not always the way you want it. Whether you're coming off a win or a loss, you put that game behind you and you refresh for the next one.”
Ryan Kesler, one of five Canucks available to reporters this morning, will likely start on right wing on a line with Chris Higgins and Derek Roy. He vowed to be better than he was in Game 1 when he appeared to be labouring due to illness or some other form of malady.
“I expect to be at the top of my game and leave everything out there,” Kesler said.
Kesler was also dumbfounded over allegations he was cheating in the faceoff circle, a counter-charge from the Sharks after Vigneault opened the 'cheating' door both Wednesday night and again on Thursday.
“The linesmen were all over me from the drop of the puck so I don't know if they (the Sharks) were talking to them or what,” Kesler commented. “I've been taking faceoffs my whole career and I'm not doing anything different. So if they want to say I'm cheating, or whatever, I haven't changed anything.”
Bieksa, by the way, claimed amnesia on the Game 1 play Wednesday in which Shark forward Marty Havlat was injured. A video clearly shows Bieksa's stick making contact with Havlat's groin area. The injury-prone Shark left the game at that point and won't play tonight.
“I don't remember,” Bieksa said. “Havlat? I'm not shocked that you asked me a question that I have no idea what you're talking about. I'll have to watch it and see what you're talking about.”
Based on the Sharks' full morning skate, ex-Canuck Raffi Torres will skate in Havlat's spot alongside Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau while Andrew Desjardins joins Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels on San Jose's third line. Tim Kennedy is then expected to draw into the lineup on the fourth line with James Sheppard and Adam Burish.
ICE CHIPS: Kevin Bieksa, Tanner Glass of the Penguins and David Krejci of the Bruins are in a three-way tie for most accurate shooting in the playoffs. All have one goal on one shot, although Bieksa owes an assist to Raffi Torres for helping him out... Referees for tonight's game are Tom Kowal and Brad Watson. The linesmen entrusted with making sure that Kesler and the Shark centremen don't 'cheat' on the faceoffs are Mark Wheler and Steve Miller.
INJURIES: The Canucks will again be without G Cory Schneider (undisclosed), D Chris Tanev (ankle) and LW David Booth (ankle)... The Sharks are expected to be missing D Jason Demers (lower body), C Scott Gomez (undisclosed) and RW Martin Havlat (lower body).
SHARKS AT CANUCKS
TONIGHT, 7 PM, ROGERS ARENA
TV: TSN. RADIO: TEAM 1040.
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