Courtesy of Daniel Fung
THE PROVINCE REPORTS
Salo could be the difference
According to Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province, the biggest difference-maker in the Canucks vs. Stars series could come down to the booming slapshot of Sami Salo. Of Salo's 14 goals on the season, five came on Vancouver's 18th ranked powerplay.
"The KISS method - Keep It Simple, Stupid - might be the best way to kiss off the Stars", he says. "The key is when you get the puck at the point - shoot it", Salo adds.
More manpower in extra time
The Province's Gordon McIntyre says fans shouldn't expect a repeat of teh regular season come Wednesday, if for no other reason that the fact that the rules will change. The 4-on-4's and shootouts - prevalent during the regular season - will be a thing of the past once the playoffs begin. The Canucks, while finishing with the most overtime wins in the regular season (17-7) may have to adjust their game in the post-season, reports McIntyre.
"[When Colorado defeated Dallas in round one last year] Dallas had been the NHL's best team in overtime in the regular season with a 15-6 record", he says. "With two of the Canucks-Stars four games going into overtime this season, and the other two decided by one goal, overtime is expected to be in the cards in this opening round."
Brendan Morrison however, doesn't think the Canucks game will be affected too much. "It's almost like a race to score before the shootout in the regular season," Morrison said. "But I don't think our game will change all that much come overtime."
All eyes on Marty
Tony Gallagher says that despite being one of the regular season's best goaltenders, Marty Turco's playoff resume leaves something to be desired. Marred by questionable goals and early exits, all eyes will once again be focused on the Stars netminder when the playoffs kickoff on Wednesday.
"There's going to be pressure on every player, and specifically all 16 goaltenders in the playoffs, and I don't have any more pressure on me than I put on myself" says Turco. The spotlight on Turco might even be heavier given the questionable health of Stars forwards Eric Lindros and perhaps Jere Lehtinen, who sat out the regular season finale against Chicago.
THE VANCOUVER SUN REPORTS
Beerfest shouldn't ruin the show
Iain MacIntyre says that Willie Mitchell won't soon forget his first playoff visit to General Motors Place. As a member of the Minnesota Wild in 2003, when the Wild knocked off the Canucks in seven games, Willie's visit to his hometown was marred by the actions of a few unruly Canuck fans.
"A lot of beers worn on the side of the face coming through the tunnel," Mitchell recalls. "I was one the other side of the fence then. There was a lot of name calling."
MacIntyre, who has witnessed many less-than-elegant displays of excitement by Canuck fans hopes history doesn't repeat itself. "You really want to surprise the Stars, make everyone take notice of Canuck Nation?" asks MacIntyre, "Then belt out the national anthems. Both of them. Stand for the warmup, wave your towels and flags, and scream until you are hoarse. But hold your beer."
Ready to roll
The Sun's Brad Zeimer reports that both Kevin Bieksa (foot) and Lukas Krajicek (shoulder) will be ready to go for game 1.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS REPORTS
Talkative Turco mum on eve of playoffs
Mike Heika writes that Marty Turco is well-aware of the pressure he's under as the playoffs get under way. A tremendous regular season goaltender, breaking the record for lowest GAA in his first year as a starter, beating out Ed Belfour for a team record in wins in a single season, means little when his playoff resume consists of just one series victory in the last three post-seasons. However, Turco is looking only to the future and this year's playoffs. And while he's open to discussing a variety of different subjects, the talkative Turco is mum regarding questions of his playoff play. "Hey, I'd love to give great quotes and make wonderful articles. But I really have nothing to say...Right now, my actions are going to speak 10 times louder than any words."
Smith lurking in the shadows Heika adds that should Stars number one netminder Marty Turco falter, coach Dave Tippett won't be shy to put in Mike Smith. The last time the Stars replaced their number one goaltender in the playoffs was back in 1994, when the Stars turned to Darcy Wakaluk to help them sweep the St. Louis Blues in the first round. The Stars returned to incumbent starter Andy Moog in round 2 against the Canucks and were promptly defeated. Smith has posted a 12-5-2 record this season.
THE FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM REPORTS
Special teams key in defensive battle
According to Milenko Martinovich, this series might all come down to special teams. While Vancouver's PK prowess has been well-documented this season, the Stars are not far behind. Head-to-head, Dallas has killed 18 of 21 powerplays against the Canucks this season.
"The last time Dallas gave up a power-play goal was in its 4-3 victory over Phoenix on March 24," writes Martinovich. Also, Jere Lehtinen and Darryl Sydor, who both sat out the final regular season game against Chicago, are expected back for game 1.