Canucks draw familiar foe in San Jose Sharks as first-round playoff opponent

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“Yeah, we won that series,” deadpanned Bieksa, who capitalized on a fortuitous bounce and scored the series-winner in double-overtime two years ago. “That was a good time. I think every game was pretty close except for the one that got away. I don’t think we expected to beat those guys in five. I think we expected to go to seven games and that’s kind of the way we’ll approach it again.” San Jose goalie Antti Niemi seemed to reference Bieksa’s goal when he talked on the weekend about meeting the Canucks again. “It’s a tough city to play in,” Niemi said. “We lost two years ago and remembering those games, they were a little lucky, they got a few lucky goals. Hopefully, we’ll get a few bounces this time.” Bounces may well determine this series again because on paper the two teams seem evenly matched. Only two points separated them in the standings and both teams are tough to beat at home. The Sharks were 17-2-5 at the HP Pavilion, aka The Shark Tank. But their Achilles heel is their play on the road, where they won only eight of 24 games. source: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/hockey/vancouver-canucks/Canucks+draw+Sharks+first+round+playoff/8306261/story.html

Playoff preview: Canucks vs. Sharks

Kevin Allen

Their attention to details. They are second in the league in blocked shots and faceoff percentage. Their special teams are strong. 3. Niemi’s level of play and the team’s scoring depth is better than you think. Niemi might be the league’s most underrated goalie and the Sharks seem to get enough goals, even if they aren’t among the league leaders in that department. Why the Canucks could win The late-season acquisition of Derek Roy seems like it could be a missing piece. With Ryan Kesler healthy, the Canucks have enough skilled players for three scoring lines. This is a very experienced team that can play with ample grit and energy. The Sedin twins have the potential to take over a series. source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2013/04/28/canucks-sharks-preview/2119739/

Vancouver at Edmonton

Edmonton (19-22-7) scored five times in a span of 3:35 late in the third period to finish off the season with two straight wins and a 12th place finish in the Western Conference. Vancouver (26-15-7) lost its final two games of the regular season, but won the Northwest Division and as the third seed in the Western Conference will host San Jose when the playoffs start. Justin Schultz had a goal and three assists, Jordan Eberle lit the lamp twice and Jerred Smithson also notched a goal for the Oilers, who got 28 saves from Devan Dubnyk. “This was a fun game to get tonight and it’s nice to win these last two here,” said Schultz. “Obviously it comes a little too late, but we’ll head into the offseason with this and build on it next year.” Tom Sestito and Derek Roy scored for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo was victimized for all seven goals on 37 shots. The score was tied when Edmonton went up by a goal in the third when Schultz tied it with a one-timer in front off a short pass from Taylor Hall at the 13:17 mark for a 3-2 lead. That opened the floodgates as Yakupov scored his second of the game 59 seconds later and Eberle made it a 5-2 game just 21 seconds after that. Yakupov capped the hat trick with 4:13 showing on the clock as he banged home a rebound from the right side for his 17th of the year and a slap shot from Smithson was 3:08 to play capped the scoring in the game. “They just took the game over there,” said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. “They grabbed all the momentum and had all the tempo and we just couldn’t get it back.” Roy got the Canucks on the board with 2:44 left in the first on the power play, but the Oilers tied the game with just 1:20 to play in the second period as a wrist shot by Schultz was tipped in by Eberle. Yakupov shot home a rebound off the glove of Luongo from the right side on the power play 2:21 into the final frame, but Sestito got a rebound goal of his own off a rush play 1:20 later to tie the game at 2-2. { “asset_collection”: [], “aws”: “”, “aws_id”: “”, “blogname”: “”, “contenttype”:” “, “seotitletag”: “”, “templatename”: “fronts/default”, “videoincluded”:”” } source: http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/hockey/nhl/game/Canucks_Oilers/2013/04/www.usatoday.com/sportsdata/hockey/nhl/www.usatoday.com/sportsdata/hockey/nhl/game

30 Thoughts: Canucks discover winning ugly is beautiful thing

While the organization believes this is an important metamorphosis that will make the team better in the long-term, fans haven’t always enjoyed the grind-it-out approach. When you’re used to an elegant style of victory, change can convince people you’re not as strong. That’s why the captain called this the most satisfying Northwest triumph. “It’s not good enough for us to just win games,” Henrik Sedin said by telephone on Tuesday. “Fans feel it should be 5-1 or 5-2 … seeing some highlight goals. We have to win in a certain way. “You look at Detroit, I think people judge them on what they should be instead of what they have … We are not a run-and-gun team anymore. You’ve got to be good in your own end. When healthy, I think this is as good a team as we have ever had.” Sedin would love the chance to prove that in May and June. source: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2013/04/30-thoughts-canucks-discover-winning-ugly-is-beautiful-thing.html

Canucks had trade deadline interest in bringing gritty Torres back to Vancouver

No wonder the Canucks kicked the tires on Torres at the trade deadline this season. But a third-round 2013 draft pick was deemed too steep for the 31-year-old winger, who’ll face his former club in a Western Conference quarterfinal series. Five of those 17 minutes came Feb. 7 in Chicago in an expected bout. Torres knew Jamal Mayers would avenge the Torres playoff hit last spring that concussed Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa. He was carried off the ice on a stretcher and taken to hospital after Torres left his feet and his arm struck Hossa in the head. No penalty was called, but Torres received a 25-game suspension that was appealed and reduced to 21. Torres credited strong family support for getting through a rough lockout and many questioning his future in the game. He responded with 18 points (7-11) in 39 games. “I get too worked up when we’re down a goal or the game it too quiet,” he admitted. “I feel like I need to go out there and do something to get the momentum back — throw a big hit or score a goal. I’ve done a better job with that this year. source: http://blogs.theprovince.com/2013/04/28/canucks-had-trade-deadline-interest-in-bringing-gritty-torres-back-to-vancouver/

Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. San Jose Sharks (6) Preview, Predictions, History – NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013

Some might argue that the window is starting to close on both teams with the rise of younger squads, but the two teams look poised for big runs this year. The Canucks will not easily forget the failed playoff aspirations a year ago when they lost in the opening round to the eventually Stanley Cup champion LA Kings. The team is loaded with offensive options but its continued goaltender battle will make for an interesting series. Cory Schneider enters the playoffs as the number one keeper for the Canucks while Roberto Luongo will be his backup. The Sharks got off to a solid start but a poor February likely led to the team’s inability to grab home ice advantage this postseason. The Sharks made some strong moves at the trade deadline to increase their team speed but the team will depend heavily on the play of number one keeper Antti Niemi, a previous cup winner. These teams met in the playoffs two years ago when the Sharks were eliminated in five games; it was the only time they ever met in the playoffs. The Sharks won all three games in the season series. San Jose Wins If… They play with the drive with which they started and ended the season. Patrick Marleau got off to a solid start and then tailed off during the rest of the year. He has never been known as a major playoff star, but the team needs him to up his play. source: http://www.latinospost.com/articles/17735/20130428/vancouver-canucks-3-vs-san-jose-sharks-6-preview-predictions.htm

 

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