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Canucks Hope To Find Road Warrior Mentality

Apr 19, 2010 – 2:42 AM
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Monte Stewart

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The Vancouver Canucks are hoping to become road warriors in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Los Angeles Kings.

"I don't know if anybody expected us to sweep – it's not going to happen," winger Mikael Samuelsson told reporters before the Canucks left for L.A. from the airport Sunday afternoon. "It's going to be a tough series. We have to go down there and battle back."

The Canucks are looking to get back on the winning track at the Staples Centre on Monday night after dropping a 3-2 overtime decision at home in the second game of the best-of-seven series that is now tied 1-1. With three goals, top post-season scorer Samuelsson has been one of their most consistent players.

Series tied, 1-1
Kings 3, Canucks 2 (OT): Recap | Box Score | Series Page

The Canucks will be looking for more consistency from a greater number of players while they also try to make up for up-and-down play on the road during the regular season.

"On the road you have to be a bit more careful and you don't want to do too much," said goaltender Roberto Luongo. "But we know what makes us successful and we've got to bring that on the road.'"

Home-ice advantage has not lived up to its billing this spring. Every series saw the first two games end in a split, and the Phoenix Coyotes managed to take a 2-1 advantage on the road Sunday in their series with Detroit.

The Canucks are looking to do likewise against the Kings.

"If you look around the league there is so much parity going on," said Luongo. "Every series (was) tied 1-1, so it's tight and every game is a one-goal game. It's pretty much the team that makes the least mistakes that wins and we want to be the one that makes the least."

To succeed, the Canucks will have to stay out of the penalty box. The Kings have scored four of their five goals in the series on the power play, exploiting a Vancouver penalty-killing crew that struggled during much of the regular season.

"We have to be a little more responsible out there," said defenceman Sami Salo, echoing comments he made after Saturday's loss. "We're taking too many penalties and that's what is giving us trouble. You want to be intensive and finish your checks but you have to be more disciplined."

"It seems every year that is the difference between teams that go on and win Stanley Cups and teams that don't," added rearguard Shane O'Brien, who has drastically reduced his penalties this season. "So we want to be in their face and be physical and make them pay and grind them down, but at the same time we've got to play within the rules."

The Canucks ultimately lost Game 2 on a two-many-men on the ice penalty called by a linesman while defenceman Kevin Bieksa was trying to get off the ice after being cut by Kings' captain Dustin Brown's skate. Bieksa, who was sporting a cut cheek and stitches on his chin, said the Canucks need to take a different attitude into the Kings' barn.

Coach Alain Vigneault's club will be looking to rediscover some of the magic that helped it go 8-5-1 during an extended road trip before and after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

"Playing road games is a different mentality than at home," said Bieksa. "A lot of times you are weathering the storm and you are trying to survive. If we go into that building with a road mentality we should be fine. We have played good hockey at home this year, but on the road we are still looking to establish ourselves.''

NOTES: Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome skated on his own before joining his teammates at the airport for the trip. He is getting close to returning from an undisclosed injury that has kept him out of the first two games. If he can play, Andrew Alberts, who has displayed a penchant for penalties in this series, could be the odd man out.
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