Game Day: Canucks ‘need this one badly,’ look to knot series vs. Flames

 

 
 
 
 
'There's no secret to it, you don't want to go down 2-0,' says Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen, here shielding the puck against checking Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan.
 

'There's no secret to it, you don't want to go down 2-0,' says Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen, here shielding the puck against checking Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, PNG

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER — If the Vancouver Canucks fall again tonight against the Calgary Flames (7 p.m. PT, on CBC, TSN 1040), they will become a dubious part of Stanley Cup history by becoming the first team to lose eight straight playoff games on home ice.

So they would be well advised to end the drought, win the game and, more importantly, knot the series at 1-1 before it shifts to Calgary for Games 3 and 4 Sunday and Tuesday.

Canucks right-winger Jannik Hansen, who has been around for all seven of the home losses, isn’t the least bit concerned about the possibility of a negative record. He is only concerned about pulling even in the series. The Canucks have also lost six straight playoff games dating back to the L.A. Kings series in 2012.

"There's no secret to it, you don't want to go down 2-0," Hansen said following the Canucks' optional skate. "It's self-explanatory. We need this one badly and, hopefully, our play will show that."

And the losing streak at home?

"You know what? That's not something that we're looking at right now," Hansen replied. "This team, we're down 1-0 and that's it. What has happened in the past is the past. We've been preaching that the entire season. We've come away with some bad losses and turned it around and we're going to look at this game no different than that.

"We need to score more than one goal tonight. You're not going to win a lot of games in this league scoring one goal. Obviously we need to get some traffic, some rebounds, all those things we've been preaching the entire year. We definitely need to score."

Although the Canucks aren't facing an elimination game, they might as well be, according to Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins.

"I think the way you approach every game in playoffs is a must-win," he said. "Like, you have to win that game because you just don't want to be in a position where if something else goes wrong, your margin for error goes down so much. This is a big game for us and we have to find a way to win it, for sure. We don't want to go into Calgary down by two."

The Canucks are not expected to have any lineup changes, or different line combinations, based on Thursday's full practice at UBC. The only slight question mark is defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who didn't skate Thursday or in this morning's optional practice. However, Desjardins indicated that Bieksa would likely play.

"He'll be a game-time decision," said the coach. "We'll see tonight, but he should be good."

In the event Bieksa is more lame than the Canucks are letting on, Ryan Stanton will draw in. He is the only other defenceman available.

Eddie Lack will again start between the pipes for the Canucks, facing Jonas Hiller. Lack stopped 28 of 30 shots in his playoff debut Wednesday while Hiller turned aside 29 of 30 in the 2-1 Calgary victory.

"I kind of felt our guys did everything possible to score but Hiller played a really, really good game," Lack said. "Give him credit. But we don't want to go down 2-0, so it's a must-win tonight."

The Flames are already guaranteed a split and, with their young roster, perhaps they will be satisfied going home for the next two. Even Calgary head coach Bob Hartley wondered about that following his team's morning skate.

"Well, you know, human nature can play in different ways," Hartley said. "But we've faced adversity all year and we've basically set ourselves to play playoff hockey since Game 1 of the regular season. At this time of year, we put our faith in our players.

"Every playoff game is a different page and a new page and you never know what can happen. A big check, or a big goal early in the game, and suddenly the emotions run high and that's when you need to show that you're under control.

"We know that the Canucks will be pushing hard," Hartley added. "They are an organization with tremendous character and great history so I think they'll want to win this game. It's going to be a long series, seven games, and we need to be ready and we need to be better. I really believe we can be better."

Hartley is not expected to make any changes to his lineup, which would mean a second straight game in the press box for one-time Canucks winger Mason Raymond. Here's the way the Flames should look again tonight:

Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler; Sam Bennett- Mikael Backlund-Joe Colborne; Michael Ferland-Matt Stajan-David Jones; and Brandon Bollig-Markus Granlund-Josh Jooris.

ICE CHIPS: Bo Horvat was the 15th player in Canucks history to score a goal in his first playoff game. Others who have done it include Stan Smyl, Greg Adams, Pavel Bure, Mattias Ohlund and Todd Bertuzzi … The Flames deployed five rookies in their opener, the most rookies used by any team in the first game of the 2015 playoffs … Referees tonight are Brad Meier and Dan O'Halloran with Ian Walsh the alternate.

INJURIES: The Canucks will continue to play on without RW Zack Kassian … The Flames will again be missing D Mark Giordano (biceps), D Ladislav Smid (neck), D Raphael Diaz (knee), LW Lance Bouma (hand) and LW Paul Byron (ankle).

epap@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/elliottpap

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
'There's no secret to it, you don't want to go down 2-0,' says Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen, here shielding the puck against checking Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan.
 

'There's no secret to it, you don't want to go down 2-0,' says Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen, here shielding the puck against checking Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice