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Canucks look to past playoff failures as motivation against tight-checking Preds

VANCOUVER - Henrik Sedin knows his playoff history. He doesn't want it repeated.

The Canucks captain remembers Vancouver's scoring struggles in the 2007 Western Conference semifinal against Anaheim when his club forced the play, took chances and pucks ended up in the wrong net.

The Nashville Predators evened this year's semifinal 1-1 with the Canucks thanks to Saturday's 2-1 overtime win. But despite the loss, Sedin is happy with how Vancouver has played over the first two games.

"If it had been four years ago you would have seen us trying to overdo things to get goals, trying to get chances and that's going to hurt you in other ways," Sedin said prior to Sunday's flight to Nashville ahead of Game 3 on Tuesday.

"It taught us a lot of lessons that year. If you're looked upon to score and you're not doing well you start cheating to get points."

Sedin, the league scoring champion last season, has only one assist in six outings since Game 3 of the Canucks' first-round series with Chicago.

Twin brother Daniel, who led the league in scoring this season, has five goals in the playoffs but only one in the last five games for Vancouver, which last in goals among the eight surviving teams.

But the club will remain patient against a Predators team that has stuck to Canuck forwards in this best-of-seven conference semifinal.

"We can't expect to win 4-1," Henrik Sedin said. "We've got to be able to go in there with the mindset to maybe win it in overtime or in the 55th minute.

"That's fine with us. It's going to be a grind."

Alex Burrows gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead Saturday with a second-period short-handed goal.

Nashville defenceman Ryan Suter tied the game by banking a puck in off goaltender Roberto Luongo's skate with 67 seconds remaining in regulation.

Rookie Matt Halischuk, who won the 2008 world junior gold medal for Canada with an overtime goal, ended Saturday's game for the Predators as Vancouver lost a one-goal lead in the final two minutes for the second time in three games.

"You want to get a win in their building to know that you can do it," Suter said after the longest game in franchise history.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said his club seemed out of sync against the tight-checking Predators, who oushot them 36-15 in the opening 60 minutes.

"I'm not crazy about how we played in the first three periods," Vigneault said. "The first period we went offside on numerous occasions. In the second period we had five outnumbered situations where we didn't even get a shot on net.

"In the third, where we've been the best in the NHL this year as far as scoring goals, we didn't get a scoring chance."

In the first round, Vigneault tried to get the twins going by taking Burrows off the Sedin line and replacing him with Mikael Samuelsson.

On Saturday, Jannik Hansen moved up from the third line for the third period, a decision that irked Samuelsson.

"I'm always disappointed when I don't get ice time but the coach, I guess, felt he had to do something to get that line going," Samuelsson said.

He rejoined the twins in overtime when the Canucks had the better chances but couldn't solve netminder Pekka Rinne, who has stopped all but two Canuck shots over 155 minutes.

"That's where we really came together," Samuelsson said of the overtime, where Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa was robbed by a diving Rinne save.

"We had a lot of good chances. Obviously Rinne played a hell of a game, in my mind, especially in overtime but as a line I think we felt pretty good."

Bieksa, who rolled his eyes to the rafters after Rinne's larceny, said the Canucks have played well defensively but need to score.

"When it's costing us games it affects us but we'll win every game 1-0 if we can. If we're letting in one or two goals then we have to score more."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz demanded more from his troops after a slow start and a 1-0 opening-game loss.

He got it Saturday as the Predators outshot Vancouver 46-33, dominated the face-off circle and outmuscled the Canucks.

Predator defenceman Shane O'Brien expects his former club to push back on Tuesday.

"We're not dumb here," O'Brien said. "We know they're going to play better. It’s going to be a long, tough series."

Notes: Canucks defenceman Sami Salo, who missed his third playoff game Saturday night, made the trip to Nashville. ... Vigneault would not disclose his injury. ... Game 4 of the series is Thursday in the Music City.


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