Canucks not getting ahead of themselves
Yes, the Vancouver Canucks enjoy a 3-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues in their Western Conference quarter-final.
Yes, Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo has looked virtually unbeatable.
And yes, only two out of the 155 NHL teams that have stared down the barrel of a 3-0 playoff deficit in the history of the NHL have come back to win four in a row and claim the series.
But the Canucks aren't taking anything for granted when they visit the Blues on Tuesday in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).
Despite sitting on what appears to be an insurmountable lead, Vancouver hasn't exactly overwhelmed St. Louis, and at times has looked slow and sluggish.
If not for the efforts of Luongo, who has stopped 79 of the 82 shots he has faced, the Canucks could just as easily be in the same position the Blues currently find themselves in.
Foremost on the minds of most Canuck players and coach Alain Vigneault after Sunday night's 3-2 win was to improve on how they start the game.
In Game 3, the Canucks could have been overwhelmed had the Blues been able to make it 2-0 with all the power-play time they enjoyed in the first period.
"I guess it's human nature that when the other team has its fans going and they're down in the series that maybe they're going to start quicker than us, but we've got to do a better job of responding," said forward Alex Burrows.
Vigneault expects his players to come out of the gate stronger in Game 4.
"We really want to stress our start Tuesday night," said Vigneault, who said he was happy with the way his team responded in Game 3, but didn't like the idea of taking so many penalties.
The Canucks have now given up three 5-on-3 situations that have lasted over a minute in the series. Fortunately the Blues' power play has been a dismal 1-of-17, while the Canucks have four power-play goals despite the loss of Mats Sundin.
Sundin hobbled, Kariya may return
And speaking of Sundin, the Swede sat out Game 3 with a groin injury and is questionable for Tuesday's tilt.
"I haven't spoken to the doctor yet today," said Sundin after missing Vancouver's practice on Monday. "We'll see how it feels [Tuesday]."
Given Vancouver is up 3-0, it's unlikely he'll play Tuesday night, for a Canucks win would free up at least another week for him to rest for the next series.
The Blues could see the return of influential forward Paul Kariya, who is coming off a pair of hip operations and hasn't played since November.
Kariya enjoyed his first full workout with the team before Game 3, but coach Andy Murray decided he wasn't fully fit to play.
Whether Kariya will make an appearance on Tuesday remains to be seen.
"He feels good; he's skating well out there," Murray said. "Paul will tell me when he is ready to play."
Game 5, if necessary, is scheduled for Friday in Vancouver (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).