Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Canucks trying to avoid Sharks' Murray

Categories: Conference Finals, San Jose Sharks, VAN vs. SJS, Vancouver Canucks

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Douglas Murray (3) of the San Jose Sharks checks Ryan Kesler (17) of the Vancouver Canucks in the first period in Game 1 on Sunday in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) Douglas Murray (3) of the San Jose Sharks checks Ryan Kesler (17) of the Vancouver Canucks in the first period in Game 1 on Sunday in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)
by Tim Wharnsby,

Vancouver Canucks sniper Daniel Sedin tries to avoid Douglas Murray on the ice and off the ice as well.

The Art Ross Trophy winner knows the monstrous San Jose Sharks defencemen from their time together on Swedish national teams as well as being long-time opponents in Sweden and the NHL.

"He has his opinions," Daniel said, "and he doesn't mind sharing his opinion with you, which is very un-Swedish like."

The 31-year-old bearded Murray stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 240 pounds. He delivered two bone-crunching body checks against on Vancouver forwards Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows in the Canucks 3-2 win in the West final opener on Sunday.

"He was a man when he was 12," Daniel said. "I don't know how much he weights, what 300 pounds? He uses his size to his advantage."

Embellishment, Chapter 2

San Jose veterans Dany Heatley and Dan Boyle accused Vancouver's Raffi Torres and Maxim Lapierre of enhancing penalty calls in Game 1, just like Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz pointed the finger at Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo in the middle of the second round.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, however, complained why there wasn't at least one penalty called during that wild goal-mouth scramble around San Jose goalie Antti Niemi late in the second period.

"Look at the video and tell me if there wasn't at least one penalty there," Vigneault said.
"Referees are going to call what they're going to call. There's nothing he can do about it or we can do about it. We just have to play through that."

Luongo's faux pas

Luongo expressed disappointment in himself following the opener when he stopped playing the puck after his early giveaway led to Joe Thornton's early goal. But Vigneault wants his goalie to help in that area.

"Without a doubt," the Canucks coach said. "A big part of us is spending less time in our end and Roberto stopping the puck on rims, setting it up for defence, and sometimes himself beating the forecheck.

"You have seen him all year long. He's improved that area of his game. We've got a tremendous amount of confidence in him. He's going to keep doing what he's been doing all year."

Sharks and third-period leads

The Canucks went through similar problems late in the first round and in the second round, but in their last three defeats the Sharks surrendered third-period leads.

*They were up 3-1 early in the final 20 minutes of Game 5 of the previous around against the Detroit Red Wings and lost 4-3 on May 8.

*Two nights later, the Sharks watched a 1-0 lead midway through the third period transform into a 3-1 Red Wings win.

*In the West final opener, a 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes became a 3-2 win for the Canucks after goals from Kevin Bieksa and Henrik Sedin.

"I thought last night they were flat out better than we were in the third period," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "They scored the goals, earned the power-plays. In the other series where we were able to come back, we did the exact same thing against our opponent.

"I don't even think we changed the style of play," San Jose centre Logan Couture added. "We just turned pucks over. We looked at some video this morning. We had so many turnovers in the third period. Can't do that against that type of team. They're too good."

Kid Rock and Prince

The reason the Sharks catch a break and have two days to rest up for Game 2 of the Western Conference final after their quick turnaround from their seven-game series against the Red Wings is a Kid Rock concert at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.

Looking ahead to San Jose, there will be Prince concerts in San Jose's HP Pavilion on Thursday and Saturday. The ice surface could be sloppy on Sunday, considering the swift turnaround from the concert on Saturday evening to the noon local time start for Game 4 on Sunday.