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2011 NHL Western Conference Finals: Canucks Keys to Winning Game 5

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 18:  Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks looks to teammate Mason Raymond #21 as Christopher Higgins #20, Ryan Kesler #17 and Kevin Bieksa #3 celebrate Bieksa's goal in the secon period against the San Jose Sharks in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 18, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
John BainCorrespondent IIMay 22, 2011

It is clear to anyone who watched Game 3 of the 2011 NHL Western Conference finals that the Canucks have some work to do if they want to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

First off, they need to be disciplined whether the penalties are deemed deserving or not. If you play perfectly responsible hockey, you won't be getting any phantom calls against you.

If they are going to take a run at a Sharks forward, they have to be sure that the hit is well-timed and clean. The Canucks cannot get caught flat-footed and be forced to take hooking and tripping penalties.

They need to keep their feet moving and work hard for a complete 60 minutes.

With the injuries to both Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome, the Canucks will have to call on Chris Tanev and Keith Ballard. Both players have had zero to very limited ice time in these 2011 playoffs.

Tanev, Ballard and the rest of the Canucks defence need to be smart when they enter the rush with the forwards. They cannot get caught pinching. Giving up breakaways to the Sharks has proven deadly. In addition, the Canucks D needs to be physically responsible and play a stronger game on the big San Jose forwards.

Lastly, the Canucks need to keep their emotions in check.

As it is in any sport, if a team or player can get under your skin or in your head, it can really take you out of your element. The Canucks need to return to ignoring the little games opponents try and play and focus on their own game.

If they can come out hard, stay responsible and force the Sharks to play the Canucks' game, they will be okay.

All in all, the Canucks are clearly the better team when playing five-on-five and cannot afford to go down shorthanded versus an offensively deep team like the Sharks.

Canucks hockey means winning by playing with pride and heart

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