Henrik Sedin, right, has five assists and no goals in his team's 10 playoff games. (Mark HumphreyAssociated Press)
NASHVILLE -- Henrik Sedin is healthy. That's the story and the Vancouver Canucks are sticking to it.
Theories have been a plenty as to why the Canucks captain has gone 10 Stanley Cup playoff games without a goal and has a team-worst plus-minus rating of minus-six. One of the latest is that Sedin must be playing hurt.
Some around the team claim to have seen Henrik limping. Others have remarked that he simply doesn't have the same burst of speed on the ice. Television cameras have caught Sednin stretching during stoppages in play, like he's trying to work out a kink.
But if there is an injury, that's news to his coach and one of his linemates, Alex Burrows.
Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault was asked if Henrik is healthy. "Yes," was the coach's short and sweet reply.
Burrows, who was reunited with the Sedin twins for Game 3 on Tuesday, a 3-2 overtime win for the Canucks, also was queried if Henrik's wellbeing was on the up-and-up.
"I think so, yeah," said Burrows, wearing a Kurt Cobain t-shirt.
Neither Sedin was made available to reporters on Wednesday as the Canucks prepared for Game 4 against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
They were better in Game 3. Daniel fired a team-high seven shots on goal and had an assist on Ryan Kesler's first goal. But they were on the ice for both Nashville goals. They could not be faulted for the first goal, when the Canucks were on the power play and defenceman Alex Edler was stripped of the puck by Predators David Legwand.
On the late-game tying goal, Henrik won a face-off in his own end. But Predators forward Joel Ward simply beat the Canucks to the puck and scored on a wraparound.
"I thought they played well last night," Vigneault said. "Maybe they didn't get on the score sheet, but they did spend some quality time in the other team's end and doing what they do, and that's cycling, protecting the puck and breaking down the opposition's coverage.
"They were getting opportunities. They had some real good opportunities to put it behind a great goaltender [Pekka Rinne] but weren't able to last night. I'm confident that with the effort they have shown, that the second and third commitment in getting to loose pucks and protecting it, they will be rewarded."
The fact that the Sedins have not produced offence and the Canucks are two wins away from advancing to the conference final can be viewed as a good thing. Although, Ryan Kesler waited until Game 3 for his first two goals of the 2011 playoffs, he has been so effective in shutting down the opposition through 10 games and has anchored a Canucks penalty-killing unit that has gone a perfect 18-for-18 in the last five games.
Chris Higgins, Burrows, Maxim Lapierre also have been factors. So have defencemen Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis and Christian Ehrhoff, and Roberto Luongo has certainly been better since his back-to-back rough outings in the middle of the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks.
But there are some areas the Canucks need to clean up if they want to continue on. In three of the past four games, they have surrendered late third-period tying goals that has made life stressful for them.
Vigneault and his players have passed this off as nothing more than bad bounces, especially Ward's game-tying goal on Tuesday that bounded off a skate and Ryan Suter's pass from behind the goal line hit a stick in front for the tying goal in Game 2.
But these late-game incidents have resulted in a lot of extra hockey for the Canucks. Four of Vancouver's last five games have extended into overtime. As a result they have played an extra 66 minutes and 28 seconds of overtime and they're only half-way through the second round. That's the equivalent of 11 games, plus 6:28, since the postseason began three weeks ago.
"We're in great shape," Burrows said. "We're getting proper rest, proper food and all that kind of stuff to make sure that when we hit the ice we're energized.
"If it takes 60 minutes to win a game, that's fine. But if it takes 80 or 100 minutes we're still confident we can get it done."
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