Canucks aim to finish series in LA

Sports Network
4/25/2010 10:44:19 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to punch their ticket to the Western Conference semifinals tonight, when they visit the Los Angeles Kings for an elimination game at Staples Center.

The third-seeded Canucks enter this evening's Game 6 matchup with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven conference quarterfinals. Vancouver, the Northwest Division champions, was behind two games to one in the set before using a high-powered offensive attack to take Games 4 and 5.

The Kings, meanwhile, will try to regain a defensive hold on this series after allowing 13 goals in the last two matchups. Vancouver scored four times in the third period en route to a 6-4 win in Game 4 at LA and notched an easy 7-2 home victory in the fifth contest.

Los Angeles is in the postseason for the first time since 2002 and is trying for its first win in a playoff series since beating Detroit in the 2001 conference quarterfinals. Vancouver is aiming for its second straight trip to the West semifinals after losing in that stage to Chicago last spring.

If the Kings, who were 22-13-6 as the host during the regular season, are able to extend the series tonight, the teams will meet for a decisive Game 7 in Vancouver on Tuesday. The Canucks were just 19-20-2 on the road this year.

Mikael Samuelsson continued his superb start to the postseason for Vancouver in Friday's Game 5 matchup, as he extended his streak of scoring in every game in this series and led the Canucks to the blowout win with his league-leading sixth and seventh goals of the playoffs.

Samuelsson added an assist and set a new career-high for goals in one playoff series. His previous best for goals in an entire postseason was five markers, which he set in each of the past two seasons with Detroit. Samuelsson is now tied with Pavel Bure for the club record for goals in a series. Bure set the mark in the 1995 conference quarterfinals against St. Louis.

Steve Bernier also scored twice, Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist and Pavol Demitra registered a goal and two assists.

Alexander Edler found the back of the net, Henrik Sedin contributed two assists, and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for Vancouver.

"(Game 6) is going to be our toughest challenge of the series," Luongo said. "The last one is always the toughest one to win. I don't think those guys are going to come out on Sunday and give up the series. They're going to come out hard, they're going to want to win, and we have to make sure we're ready to play."

Michal Handzus and Fredrik Modin both tallied for the Kings, who have given up seven goals in the last two third periods. Jonathan Quick allowed five goals on 26 shots and was pulled and re-inserted into the contest after Erik Ersberg yielded two goals on four shots.

"(Vancouver) changed its scheme a little bit, they pressured a little bit harder," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "We're going to have to make adjustments -- we'll look at film and do some. Our execution has to be better. I don't think we passed the puck as well as we have."

The Kings and Canucks have met three times before in the postseason, with Los Angeles winning two of those series, but not since 1993, when Los Angeles was led by Wayne Gretzky.

Los Angeles lost three of four overall to Vancouver during the regular season, but did post an 8-3 home victory in the final meeting on April 1.


The Sedins celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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