Canucks ready to take on Blackhawks
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- They might be looking to exorcise some past playoff demons but the Vancouver Canucks aren't admitting to having a chip on their shoulders when they face the Chicago Blackhawks for the third consecutive postseason starting Wednesday.
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"What happened the last two years doesn't translate to this year," goalie Roberto Luongo said after practice Tuesday. "I don't think it gives them an advantage. It's a clean sheet for both teams so we can't be affected by what happened the last couple years. That would only give us a crutch."
The Blackhawks eliminated the Canucks in six games in 2009 and 2010 scoring a combined 12 goals in the Western Conference semifinal clinchers.
Blackhawks center Ryan Johnson, who played for Vancouver the last two years, said Monday he believes the Canucks were hoping not to face the Hawks in the first round.
"Is there a little bit of something in all of their minds about the Blackhawks and the inability to beat them the last two years? Of course, but I think it just motivates them that much more to try to get it done this year," Johnson said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.
But Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said there is no negative residual effect for Vancouver.
"Both teams have different pieces," Vigneault said. "I believe if you learn from the past there is a good chance the future will be different. We have proven a lot of things in the regular season about the experiences we have learned in the past and now it's our turn to prove it in the playoffs."
Vancouver infamously took undisciplined penalties in their series' defeats, but have eliminated that from their game this year. Multiple power play opportunities allowed former big-bodied Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien to set-up in front of Luongo.
He had four goals and six points in the six-game series including a Game 3 hat trick.
"I know you guys love to talk about him but they have some guys up there that do just as good a job as him," Luongo said. "They have some new players that are big bodies in their lineup so I don't know what to tell you. I don't think they won the Stanley Cup because of Dustin Byfuglien. I think there are 20 guys in that locker room that play well together as a team, that's what made them successful."
So if avoiding a knockout for the third consecutive year at the hands of the Blackhawks is in the back of their minds, it's certainly not at the forefront, at least not publicly.
"I think if you look at it that way you're in trouble," Daniel Sedin said. "If the Stanley Cup playoffs isn't motivation enough than we're in trouble. We have another chance this year to go a long way. It's two different teams out there."
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.