By Derek Jory
The Vancouver Canucks were saying all the right things Monday.
Despite trailing the best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks, the Canucks were upbeat and talking the talk when a select few met with the media following an optional practice, which only six skaters and three goalies took part in.
Ryan Kesler, for one, is excited for the challenge at hand. If anyone can overcome the odds, it’s this team, according to the forward.
“It’s a pretty big task, but we’re extremely confident,” said Kesler. “We feel 5-on-5 we have been the better team, we just have to stay disciplined and keep them off the power play. They’ve got an extremely good power play over there and that’s been our Achilles heel. We’re confident and we’re excited for this challenge.”
Kesler was one of four Canucks to meet the media, in addition to coach Alain Vigneault. The message from each was the same, but instead of taking things game by game or period by period, the new approach is shift by shift – it has to be with the Canucks season hanging in the balance.
“We’ve got a long ways to get out of this and win this series, but it starts with tomorrow and just that first period, that first shift and we can’t look past that,” said Dan Hamhuis.
“Last night was pretty disappointing. We thought we had a pretty good start to the game, then got ourselves into some penalty trouble and let a big opportunity slip away to get ourselves back in the series. Today we have to force ourselves to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
Part of what has made the Canucks successful for years has been the D chipping in with O and that hasn’t happened enough this series.
Hamhuis said that was addressed post-game Sunday and again Monday morning.
“One of the things we talked about is that we have a good D that can skate and move the puck and is good being part of the offence. We want to create more, we haven’t scored enough goals in this series and that’s one of the thing we need to do better.”
Coach Vigneault has decided who will start in net for the Canucks in Game 4 Tuesday night at HP Pavilion, but he wouldn’t reveal it to the media as he hasn’t informed Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider yet.
Vigneault did, however, focus on his belief that his team can win one game.
“We haven’t beaten them once this year, but I believe we can tomorrow. We have to.”
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