Canucks captain Henrik Sedin says reeling team still believes in itself, even if no one else does
Henrik Sedin believes the Canucks have what it takes to come back against the San Jose Sharks.
Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images
VANCOUVER – As captain of a sinking Vancouver Canucks' ship, Henrik Sedin attempted to find silver linings Saturday but even he admitted it was difficult after Friday night's devastating 3-2 overtime defeat to the San Jose Sharks.
“Absolutely, it was one of the toughest losses in a while,” Henrik said at Vancouver International Airport before the team flew out to San Jose. “We played a great game and they scored late and again in overtime. Being down 2-0 is a lot tougher than being tied 1-1. But I think you wake up today and you look forward to the game tomorrow.”
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series goes Sunday night at The Shark Tank. The puck drops just after 7 p.m. (TSN, Team 1040).
The odds are greatly against Canucks as teams losing the first two games in a best-of-seven have come back to win just 14 per cent of the time. Not many believe this edition of the Canucks has it in them, especially since the core group is 1-8 in its last nine playoff games, 2-10 in its last 12 and has lost six straight at home.
The Canucks have also lost all five games they've played against the Sharks this season and have been outscored 15-8. The Sharks, meanwhile, are nearly invincible on home ice and have lost just twice in regulation in 24 games.
“No one is believing in us, apart from us,” Henrik continued. “I think every time we're down in a series, no one believes in us. We were in L.A. a few years back (2010) and we were down 2-1 going into the fourth game and we came back and won three straight. So this is a city where if you win a playoff game, everybody is happy and if you lose one or two, no one's going to believe in you. That's the way it is in every market and that's the playoffs.
“If we would have won yesterday, we'd be standing here as happy as ever and going down there feeling good about ourselves. I liked the way we played yesterday. We have to believe in ourselves and do the same thing tomorrow. If we do, we're going to give ourselves a good chance.”
Injured goalie Cory Schneider (undisclosed) is on the trip as is defenceman Chris Tanev (ankle, still in a walking boot) and minor-league callup Jordan Schroeder. The latter played 31 games with the big club during the regular season, scoring three times and adding six assists.
Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault stickhandled around the question of his Sunday night lineup, most notably the ones involving Schneider and Schroeder. Schneider has been out almost two weeks, even though the team claims he's day-to-day.
The coach on Schneider: “He's on the trip and he's day-to-day."
The coach on Schroeder: “It was more that we wanted to have five lines and eight defencemen (for practice).”
With the team's inability to win in the playoffs since Game 3 of the 2011 final against Boston, Vigneault has never been more inthe crosshairs despite all those Northwest Division titles. But he can hardly be blamed for the deployment of his personnel late in Friday night's game. He used his most experienced players to protect the lead and they couldn't do it.
Jannik Hansen (56 playoff games) missed an empty net that would have clinched the win. Henrik Sedin (97 playoff games) and Alex Burrows (65 playoff games) botched a breakout leading to Patrick Marleau's tying goal. Goalie Roberto Luongo (63 playoff games) was brilliant most of the night but couldn't squeeze his pads on Marleau's initial shot.
On the game-winning overtime goal, Alex Edler (57 playoff games) inexpicably shot the puck into Brent Burns shin pads and then Kevin Bieksa (63 playoff games) poorly played the resultant 2-on-1 as Burns set up Raffi Torres for the back-breaking tally.
They were all pressure moments, as Vigneault likes to describe them, in which the Sharks came up large and the Canucks came up small.
“In the last three minutes of that game, we were basically rolling two lines and we were in good shape,” Vigneault said. “We had an empty net and we had two opportunities to get the puck out. We have to make those plays and we didn't. Hopefully everybody learns from that and next time it happens, we make the right plays with the puck.
“It's tough feeling and we're going to take a day here to analyze and adjust a few things and we' re going to be ready for tomorrow," added the coach. "Some might be disappointed, discouraged, pissed off, however you want to call it, but what we've got to do is make sure tomorrow we're focused on what we need to do on the ice.”
In his post-game remarks Friday night, Vigneault stated that the Sedin twins and Burrows, his top line, needed to find the scoresheet at even strength and that “they know that more than anybody else.” On Saturday, he was practically pleading for anyone to make a difference.
“We need that line to step up but, that being said, this is the time of year when you need difference makers, heroes or whatever,” Vigneault noted. “Somebody has to step up and make a difference.”
If not, and the Canucks go out swiftly, it's very likely there will be big changes before next season. Five straight division titles may be nice but continued playoff failures are not.
“We don't think about it that way,” said Henrik. “We're looking at tomorrow. There is no thinking about what's going to happen in the future.”
Echoed Burrows: “We don't think really think about that. We're thinking about tomorrow night's game. We came close this year to winning in San Jose and we've won there before. We've played some good games in their building. It's the same ice sheet and same dimensions as Rogers Arena. I thought we had a lot of chances in Game 2. We had some good looks and their goalie (Antti Niemi) made some good saves. We just have to keep working and finding a way to put them in the back of the net.”
And keeping them out, too.
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