Canucks, Penguins face early Stanley Cup exits
Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin told reporters after practice that he expects to play against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).
Sedin hasn't played an NHL game since suffering a concussion last month from Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith. He practised with the Canucks on Tuesday and confirmed he hasn’t any recent setbacks with bad headaches.
"I haven't been able to work out and my shape is probably about as slow as it's been in five years," he said after Tuesday's practice. "We'll see. Hopefully I can play on the power play, and be a bit of a difference there and maybe chip in 5-on-5, too.
"I really wanted to be back for the playoffs, but my main concern was getting back to 100 per cent. We'll take it day by day. It's probably been the toughest time mentally that I've been through and I'm just happy to be back."
The Canucks also said that goaltender Cory Schneider will be in the net again for Game 4. Schneider replaced Roberto Luongo in Game 3 and was solid in the 1-0 loss, stopping 19 of 20 shots.
Vancouver faces a win-or-go-home scenario as it trails the Kings 3-0 in the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
The Canucks, the Presidents’ Trophy winner for the last two regular seasons and the top seed in the Western Conference, must find a way to get by a confident Los Angeles Kings squad if it wants to force another game at Rogers Arena.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has been outstanding so far, stopping 111 of 115 shots, and turned away all 41 shots he faced against the Canucks in the shutout win on Sunday.
The Penguins also find themselves in unfamiliar territory when they take to the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET). Like the Canucks, Pittsburgh is facing a 3-0 series deficit. Pegged as an early Stanley Cup favourite, Pittsburgh’s frustration grew in Game 3 as the team uncharacteristically lost its composure.
During the fight-filled game, star centre Sidney Crosby was involved in several altercations, including one in which he dropped the gloves against Flyers top scorer Claude Giroux. Both players have been dogged with concussion issues this year.
"I think Sidney is frustrated, there’s no doubt," Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told CBCSports.ca. "And it’s not what he’s doing; it’s just the situation that they’re in. I just think they [the Penguins] thought that they were going to come here and win. Philadelphia is doing a great job of getting under their skin, which is what they do best.
"If you look from 1972 on, how Philadelphia has been its team, there’s no change. They have offensive teams with guys that are belligerent and tough and get under people’s skin. Over the years, Philadelphia might lead the league in penalties every year, but they also get as many power plays as any team in the league. They’re good at playing this way. This is the way they want to play. If you want to play Philadelphia, have a no hitting game because they’re not good at that."
The fallout for the Penguins came Tuesday when forward Arron Asham was suspended for four games and teammate James Neal will miss Game 4 for separate infractions.
Asham was banned after cross-checking Philadelphia forward Brayden Schenn. He received a match penalty for attempting to injure Schenn.
Neal was ejected in the third period for charging at Giroux.
"Everyone has got their own reasons for why we're losing and their own opinions," Crosby said after practice on Tuesday. "They're entitled to those. But we know in this room we still have yet to put a game together.
"That's no one's fault but our own. There's nothing we can do about that now. The only opportunity that we have is to make it better next game. That's what we're going to try to do."
With files from Tim Wharnsby and Tim Panaccio