Canucks survive with throwaway lines

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler, centre, celebrates with teammates Chris Tanev, left, and Jannik Hansen after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Philadelphia.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler, centre, celebrates with teammates Chris Tanev, left, and Jannik Hansen after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Philadelphia.

Photograph by: Chris Szagola, AP

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BUFFALO -- Before chartering to Buffalo on Wednesday afternoon, the Canucks practised in Philadelphia, where in the City of Brotherly Love the Sedins once again remained apart.

And they’re okay with that.

Coach John Tortorella kept his lines in practice the same as they were when Tuesday night’s game against the Flyers ended. Henrik was centering a line with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins, while Daniel skated with Mike Santorelli and Jannik Hansen.

Tortorella suggested reporters should not jump to any conclusions about what his lines will look like on Thursday night, when the Canucks meet the Sabres in Buffalo.

“I’m not sure what the lines will be tomorrow night,” Tortorella said. “I just kept the lines the same as I ended the game last night so we’ll see where we go tomorrow.”

Whatever happens, the Sedins sound like they are prepared for some solo time.

“It’s going to be a year where you are going to see lines starting games and they are not going to be same finishing the game,” Henrik said. “So it’s going to be a year like that. He likes mixing and matching.”

It has happened twice now in Vancouver’s first seven games. And both times it has sparked come-from-behind wins for the Canucks.

“We did it in Calgary as well,” Henrik said. “I think it’s good that he does that. We had a lot of time in their (the Flyers’) end but didn’t really create any scoring chances so we mixed up a few lines and it seemed to get everyone going.

“You get some new looks, just guys doing different things. It is going to happen throughout the season. It’s not the last time it’s going to happen so I think it’s good as a team to see that it helps.”

Daniel is also on board.

“I like it, it has worked out fine so far,” Daniel said. “We have been down in games a lot this season and when you shake things up you get new looks and get that spark sometimes that you need. It has been working so far. I think it is going to happen more times this season.”

The only fly in the ointment is the fact this split-the-Sedins thing could really complicate contract talks.

If Henrik is deemed to be on the new No. 1 line, does that mean he’ll demand more money than his brother?

The Canuck captain just smiled when that was put to him on Wednesday.

POWER OUTAGE: It has been a tale of two very different special teams for the Canucks so far this season.

Their penalty-kill has been humming along nicely and as of Wednesday ranked second in the NHL with a kill rate of 91.3 per cent. The power play is another story. It sits 27th and has only clicked on 10 per cent of its chances.

A few more opportunities would help. The Canucks simply aren’t drawing many penalties. Tuesday night in Philadelphia, they had just one power-play opportunity and have only had eight in their last five games.

““It is really tough for our power play right now because we are ending up getting one, maybe two chances a game,” Henrik Sedin said. “I think if you look at the game against Montreal we should have had two or three goals, we had some good chances, but just got some bad bounces. . .Last night wasn’t good but that is what is going to happen if you only get once chance a game, if you are off a little bit and all of a sudden it doesn’t look good. I think we’re close.”

So far, the special teams have been a wash. The Canucks have given up just two power-play goals and have scored two of their own.

Tortorella liked the work his PK did midway through the third period Tuesday night when the game was tied 2-2. He singled out Chris Tanev, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler for blocked shots on that kill.

Tanev literally dove in front of a puck during that kill.

“It was great,” Tortorella said. “We don’t teach them how to do it, we just want them to do it. And to me the willingness is the most important thing in wanting to block shots. Do what you have to do to block a shot.”

GOOD START: Tortorella liked what he saw of Jordan Schroeder in his first game back from injury.

“He played good, for a guy that was out with an injury, came back and played one exhibition game, got banged up again, and played one practice with us,” he said. “I thought he distributed the puck. he made a great play coming across the blue line when when he gave it to Booth and David shot it wide.

“He made some nice plays in our end to get us out of our end zone, turned one over in our own end. It was was pretty good pass, just to the wrong guy But he made some good plays and you give him credit. He gets thrown into a situation where he hasn’t played much at all and I thought he handled himself really well.”

ICE CHIPS: Defenceman Dan Hamhuis took a maintenance day after blocking a shot in the upper chest area in the second period Tuesday night. . .Injured winger Alex Burrows is out of his walking boot but is still not close to being ready to play. “He’s not even close to discussing as far as when he’s coming back,” Tortorella said.

bziemer@vancouversun.com; twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler, centre, celebrates with teammates Chris Tanev, left, and Jannik Hansen after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Philadelphia.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler, centre, celebrates with teammates Chris Tanev, left, and Jannik Hansen after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Philadelphia.

Photograph by: Chris Szagola, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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