Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Canucks, Blackhawks each confident

Categories: Chicago Blackhawks, VAN vs. CHI, Vancouver Canucks

Story Tools

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo appeared relaxed a day before Game 6 despite two poor performances, while Chicago forward Patrick Kane was extremely confident. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo appeared relaxed a day before Game 6 despite two poor performances, while Chicago forward Patrick Kane was extremely confident. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Roberto Luongo may be at a career crossroads but he's not showing it. For two days, his exterior has been been calm, as he's hidden any nerves.

He's been pulled in two straight games and has shown an inability to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in the postseason. Against all other teams, he is 8-2 in the playoffs with a 2.17 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Against Chicago, he is 7-10, with a 3.56 GAA and an .887 save percentage.

"I always say I like to play in this building," Luongo said of the United Center. "It's fun. I love it when the crowd yells at me, even when I get pulled. That's what's fun about playing hockey. You can't always have people on your side. When they are against you I kind of enjoy it even more."

Although some fans and media in Vancouver are urging the Canucks to start Cory Schneider, head coach Alain Vigneault has been steadfast in support of his No. 1 goalie.

"I have total confidence in Roberto. He's a great goaltender. He'll do what he has to do," Vigneault said.

The Blackhawks are a confident team at the worst of times. Now, after two straight wins, they appear to be swimming in it. They think the wins have given them a significant mental edge heading into Game 6, especially because they were each by five goals.

"We feel pretty confident," Patrick Kane said. "I'm sure being down 3-0, they didn't expect us to come back and be in this position. We're on home ice, we should have the advantage [Sunday]. I'm sure they're going to be thinking for sure. The way we won gave us some confidence and winning that way again, I think we've got a lot of confidence in here."

The Canucks admitted they thought they'd have an easy time taking out Chicago after they went up three games to none. It goes a long way in explaining the relative no-shows the Canucks have had in Games 4 and 5.

"If you're up 3-0 in games, you think it's going to be easy," captain Henrik Sedin admitted. "We weren't focused. We thought they're going to turn the puck over and it's going to be an easy goal. They're too good for that."

Henrik addressed the team as captain and after said the video sessions the Canucks had were revealing.

"The room they had," Henrik said. "I have friends back home who didn't really make it and they can make plays when they have that much room."

Head coach Joel Quenneville said he's hoping Brent Seabrook, who hasn't played since the controversial Raffi Torres hit in Game 3, will be healthy enough to return for Game 6.

Seabrook, out officially with an upper body injury, said he's been symptom free for a day. Torres' hit got him in the head. Seabrook skated for the first time Saturday since Game 3, both on his own and then with the team.

"It was really frustrating," Seabrook said of watching the past two games. "Hopefully, tomorrow is a better day for me and I can get back in there and help those guys out."

The Canucks tried to loosen some tightening collars during their practice Saturday. It started by swatting around tennis balls on the ice and ended with breakaway drills.

The shootout work could be considered for fun, or for Roberto Luongo's benefit. He's certainly faced enough odd-man rushes and breakaways during the past two games. It was an up-tempo practice which also had some unusually intense moments, including an Andrew Alberts hit on Jannik Hansen.

"I didn't mind," Hansen said.

Alberts said it felt good because it was his first hit in months. He's been out since February with a broken wrist.