Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Canucks' Vigneault fires back

Categories: Nashville Predators, VAN vs. NSH, Vancouver Canucks

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Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was still annoyed with all the embellishment talk his team has received in the last two days. (Nam Y. Hug/Associated Press) Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was still annoyed with all the embellishment talk his team has received in the last two days. (Nam Y. Hug/Associated Press)

By Tim Wharnsby

Maybe after he watched his players put forth their best effort in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, the normally composed Alain Vigneault was a little too fired up after his team's important victory on Thursday.

When the Vancouver Canucks head coach stepped behind the podium for his post-game remarks about 15 minutes after his team polished off a 4-2 victory over the pesky Nashville Predators, Vigneault was asked if this was his team's best performance this spring. But he never answered the question.

Instead, Vigneault sort of answered a question he avoided the day before about the embellishments of his goalie Roberto Luongo and centre Ryan Kesler to get penalty calls in Game 3 on Tuesday. Vigneault was annoyed.

"I know we battled real hard tonight," the coach began. "I hope that they're not going to complain about embellishment tonight with the number of things that happened out there on the ice. [Ryan] Suter having the audacity to complain after he takes that penalty and just hauls Ryan Kesler down to the ice was utterly amazing.

"Our guys battled through. They did what they had to do to do a good job with or without the puck. It was a hard fought game."

What Suter complained about as he and the referee skated to the penalty box was how a player as big as Kesler could be hauled down? Answer: Suter grabbed him around the neck. That's how.

Part two of Suter's grievance was moments before Kesler clipped and cut Fisher with a high stick that went undetected by the officials.

Did the Predators also have a beef with a possible goaltender interference call on the first goal of the game from Vancouver defenceman Christian Ehrhoff? Canucks forward Alex Burrows bumped into Pekka Rinne, but the Nashville goalie was outside his crease.

Predators coach Barry Trotz agreed with the non-call and called the contact "incidental."
Now the series switches to Vancouver for Game 5 Saturday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m., ET). The Canucks know that with the San Jose Sharks up 3-0 on the Detroit Red Wings and closing in on a berth in the West final, it's important for them to follow suit.

"We learned something from series one [against the Chicago Blackhawks] that we have to treat every game like a Game 7," Henrik Sedin said. "It's something we've done a better job of and I don't think you're going to see us lose focus."

The Predators, on the hand, have battled hard all season and aren't ready to toss in the towel.
"I've seen it," Trotz said. "I could give you coach talk and say we're never out of it. But I've seen it all year when our backs are against the wall. I've seen it in the playoffs. As our coaching staff calls it: we've been on death's door a couple times. In the Anaheim series we were there and found a way to come back and win. In Vancouver we were there.

"We find ways. We've dug ourselves a hole, but we've been in a few holes this year. This group has been able to do it all year. All I can say is that I have history with that this year, and with this group. It is a special group for resiliency and backbone."