SAN JOSE, CA (NEWS1130) – The Vancouver Canucks can take a commanding lead in the series with a win at the Shark Tank in Game 4, but they’ll have to do it with a banged up blue-line.
Vancouver lost two of its top six defenceman in Game 3, as both Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome were knocked out after hits by Jamie McGinn. The Sharks’ feisty fourth-liner wasn’t disciplined by the NHL for his hit on Rome.
The two will sit out Sunday’s game with Keith Ballard, Andrew Alberts or rookie Chris Tanev expected to take their spots. Alberts hasn’t played since May 3rd, while Ballard has played in just five games during the first two playoff series. Tanev has never appeared in an NHL playoff game.
For Vancouver the key to a Game 4 win is to maintain discipline and stay out of the penalty box. The San Jose Sharks had 10 power play opportunities in Game 3, which resulted in three goals with the extra attacker. The Sharks have been deadly on the PP during the series, scoring on 46 per cent of their opportunities.
After almost single-handedly taking over the Nashville series, Ryan Kesler’s offensive flair has diminished in the West Final. Kesler has no goals and one assist in the series with just seven shots on goal. The argument can be made that he’s doing all the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, but the reality is, Vancouver needs Kesler to produce if the team hopes to have a chance to battle for the Stanley Cup.
Roberto Luongo gets the start in goal for the Canucks, while San Jose counters with Antti Niemi.