Courtesy of Daniel Fung
THE PROVINCE REPORTSNever in his wildest dreams could Jannik Hansen imagine the type of media attention he's receiving right now, writes Jason Botchford. Not only has his call-up help stake the Canucks to a 2-1 win in Game 3, and a 2-1 series lead overall, but he's also been credited for lighting an offensive spark under Jan Bulis.
Hansen soaking it all in
"It's a little overwhelming but I'm having so much fun," Hansen, 21, said. "I didn't expect any of this. Not even close. I never thought this would happen, that I would be doing so many interviews."
While Hansen's popularity may have something to do with his background, being only the second Danish player to suit up in the NHL and first to do so in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it is what he has brought to the table for the Canucks in terms of his ability that has kept him in the limelight.
"He's giving us some offence that is very hard to create," Vigneault said. "We need that skill that he's bringing to the table right now."
Modano kept in close quarters
Mike Modano has yet to score a goal in this Western Conference quarter-final series and that's just the way the Canucks want to keep it, writes Jason Botchford. Held to just one assist in three games, it appears Modano is starting to let some frustration show in being unable to penetrate Vancouver's tight checking.
"The scoring chances are slim and none out there," Modano said after [Game 3]. "You try to make the most of it when you do get it. You've got to work through their checkers, then you've got to go through [Willie] Mitchell and then you've still got [Roberto] Luongo."
But the Canucks, particularly their top defensive pairing of Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell who have been assigned to shadow Modano in the series, knows they can't rest on their laurels.
"If [Modano] generates a lot of speed, he'll get himself in a position where he's shooting through defencemen," Mitchell said. "He's got a great wrist shot. So far, we've minimized that as much as possible and hopefully we can continue to do that."
Can't kill the power play
With special teams crucial to the series, the Canucks can ill-afford to waste precious power play time but taking themselves off it, writes Jason Botchford and Ed Willes. In 17 power plays so far in the series, the Canucks have taken themselves off it seven times with penalties.
"Our biggest problem is every time we get a power play we get a penalty right after," Vigneault said. "So we never have the chance to work it. I mean the one (out of three in Game 3) that we spent two minutes on we created some chances. All the other ones were 10, 15 seconds in and we end up in the box."
More props for the ice crew
What was supposed to be notoriously bad ice at the American Airlines Center has actually been fairly decent, writes Jason Botchford and Ed Willes. The issue, which came to the forefront prior to Game 3 with the ill-timing of the end of the NBA game and the start of the NHL game, hasn't really been that big a deal. Even Willie Mitchell, who had been particularly outspoken about the ice in Dallas having played on it first-hand in the post-season last year, was impressed.
"It was very good considering the conditions," said Mitchell. "Guys were really happy with it. I hate to say it, it might have been better than Vancouver's ice."
Deliberate cheap shots annoy Luongo
The crease crashing reached a boiling point in Game 3, and Roberto Luongo has had enough. And while the Canucks have let the NHL know about the issue, Luongo knows it's probably going to continue and he'll just have to fight through it, writes Ed Willis.
"A couple of times it was flagrant," said Luongo. "You just have to fight through the situations. You can't let it affect you."
But while traffic in front of the net is commonplace in hockey games, Luongo thinks the Stars are deliberately taking liberties with him.
"Why else would they be bumping me after the whistle like that," said Luongo. "There's no one around them. It's not like they can say someone is pushing them into me."
THE SUN REPORTS
Bieksa fights urge to retaliate
Protecting your goalie is one of those unwritten duties that every hockey players knows to exist, but despite the much-publicized crease crashing of the Dallas Stars thus far in the series, the Canucks knows they need to keep their tempers in check and resist the urge to retaliate, writes Elliott Pap.
"It's tough when you see a guy bumping your goalie and the ones who have been bumping him are their little guys," [Canucks defencemen Kevin] Bieksa said. "I don't want to say Europeans, but it's their smaller, less physical guys who are trying to get in there and just be little pests. You know they aren't going to do anything back so if you give them a little shot, there could be a dive in there. You have to be very careful."
No Green light just yet
Elliot Pap is reporting that Josh Green (knee) will not be in action in Game 4 tonight, meaning Nathan Smith will probably get the call once again. While Green is chomping at the bit to return, he knows it's probably wiser to be safe-than-sorry.
"It's a good opportunity but, with a major knee injury, you don't want to rush it," Green said. "We want to be careful not come back too early, tweak it, and be out again for another month. We are hoping to have a long playoff run so there is no need to rush it, although I am anxious to get back in there."
Dallas defencemen Darryl Sydor is showing no ill-effect from the hit he took from Trevor Linden except perhaps the bitter taste it has left in his mouth, writes Iain MacIntyre.
"I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot," Sydor said. "He got me in the head with his elbow and I didn't have the puck."
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS REPORTS
Safe but sorry?
The million-dollar question being asked by the Stars right now may be whether they are a team that protects the lead in an intelligent, aggressive manner or whether they're just deluding themselves, writes Mike Heika. Holding a 1-0, third period lead in Game 3, the Stars appeared to play not to lose instead of for the win and it cost them the lead in the series. But while the Stars are saying all the right things in terms of their game plan, execution is a different matter.
"We have stressed it over and over and over in here that we are not a team that sits on a lead," Stars captain Brendan Morrow said. "And yet when we get out there. I don't know, we just don't generate the chances we should."
The Stars are hoping to find that killer instinct in Game 4, knowing just how pivotal it will be. In NHL history, teams that are up 3-1 in a series and have home ice are 127-10 (.927) in winning the series.
Bump? What bump?
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has not been happy with the deliberate attempts to crash into Roberto Luongo by the Dallas Stars, but as far as Stars General Manager Doug Armstrong is concerned, he doesn't think there's much of an issue, writes Kate Hairopoulos.
"Personally, I think the series has been well-officiated," said Doug Armstrong after being told of the Canucks complaints. However, Alain Vigneault is much more passionate about the issue, especially since it relates to the health of his number one goaltender.
"Obviously all teams tell their players to go hard to the net, put traffic in front of the goaltender and to drive hard," Vigneault said Monday. "Louie got hit twice there and once almost got hurt. The league is aware of it. Roberto doesn't embellish anything whereas other goaltenders really do embellish. It's tough for the referees to see everything going on out there, but obviously, he has been getting bumped. We need him to stay healthy."
THE FORT-WORTH STAR TELEGRAM REPORTS
Big E still not ready
Eric Lindros skating Sunday morning, but the timetable on his return is still up in the air reports Tracey Myers. Lindros (groin) has not played since March 8th and did not skate for two days while the Stars were in Vancouver. Stars coach Dave Tippett says it's not a matter of when Lindros can play, but rather when he can do so safely.
"It depends on how hard he can get going without getting hurt again," Tippett said. "You can't just jump into a playoff game."
Winner takes 2?
While it might not seem overly relevant in the grand scheme of things, the winners of Game 2 in a series has gone on to win 71.7 percent of the time in NHL history, reports Tracey Myers. Last season, 12 of 15 playoff series were won by the winners of Game 2, an 80 percent success rate.