LOS ANGELES — It’s no surprise that Vancouver Canucks Coach Alain
Vigneault had to do something to shore up his team’s penalty kill going into
tonight’s game against the Kings. In the first three games of their series, the Canucks have allowed seven power
play goals on twelve tries, a 58.3% average. The Kings have scored just three more times at regular
strength in taking a 2-1 lead in the series.
That’s why players and coach alike said after the morning
skate at Staples Center that everything’s fine with Vancouver’s five-on-five
“Five-on-five play we’re pretty good,” said Daniel Sedin. “I think we’re the better team.”
“I like to play in this building, and it’s the playoffs,” echoed Roberto Luongo who was pulled in the ‘Nucks 5-3 loss in Game 3 Monday night after allowing four goals. “I’ll play without fear [tonight].” This coming off Monday night, when he
was pulled after allowing four goals.
The Canucks eventually lost the game, 5-3.
Said Vigneault, “As you all know, we’ve been very good
five-on-five. Our special teams need to be better, we’ve talked about it, and
we expect to execute to better tonight.”
The question is how, and he answered that, but later.
There are two changes to note for this evening’s game. First, Nolan Baumgartner comes in on
defense. His coach said that he’ll
be in there because “he’s a good puck moving defenseman, and we’ll see how he
handles it tonight.” Baumgartner
split the season between the AHL Manitoba Moose and the Canucks, appearing in 12 games with the big club.
Second, and here’s the real news: instead of just waiting
for the law of averages to catch up on the PK, since the Kings can’t keep
scoring at this rate forever, Vigneault is making changes.
“Their [LA’s] power play has had a lot of movement, and they’ve been able to
create lanes and get pucks to the net,” said the Vancouver coach. “But it’s nothing that we haven’t seen throughout the season. We’ve just been a fraction of a second
behind, and it’s cost us. We’re
aware of it, and we’re going to be much better tonight.”
When asked whether watchers would see a different look on
the PK, Vigneault smiled and said, “No, but if we are, you’re not going to know
about it now.”
But before the coach had spoken, Sedin had given the secret
“We’ll be getting time on the
penalty kill tonight,” he had confessed in the dressing room.
So there’s your scoop for the day in LA.