Second liners expect breakout

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

Freddie Pettersson insists he's not gripping his stick too tightly.

The Calgary Hitmen's Swedish sniper said his line, which includes compatriot Robin Figren and Ian Duval, is feeling confident despite being held off the scoresheet through the first two playoff games against the Kootenay Ice.

"We're confident and we're playing a good game. We've just got to keep doing the same things because we've had a lot of chances. We've just got to bury them," said Pettersson after practice yesterday at Centennial Arenas.

"We're doing things right. We just have to get some traffic in front of their goalie (Taylor Dakers) -- because he's a good goalie and he's a big goalie -- when we're shooting the puck. For us, it's just a matter of time."

With Game 3 of the best-of-seven series going tonight (Saddledome, 7 p.m., Shaw TV), the Hitmen could certainly use some secondary scoring from Pettersson's speedy line as they look to grab a 2-1 series lead.

During the regular season, the three players combined for 117 points and played the better part of the final two months together.

But so far the trio has been shut out, with Pettersson sitting at minus-2 and Figren at minus-1. Duval is even.

The three put up more points combined on the road (six) against Kootenay than they did in the friendly confines of the Saddledome (three) during the season.

Of the four goals the Hitmen have potted so far, three are courtesy of the big guns as Brodie Dupont has a pair, while leading scorer Ryan White also has scored. Derek LeBlanc has the other tally.

Despite the lack of production from Pettersson and Co., Hitmen head coach Kelly Kisio isn't too worried heading into Game 3.

"They've had a few chances to score but it was one of those things where they either just arrived a little late to the net or a rebound had gone by," Kisio said.

"They're all skilled enough that if they work their butts off like they did in the first game and still keep it simple, it'll come for them."

Kisio isn't hesitant to juggle lines and won't be afraid to break up the trio.

"Not right now but if they're flat, maybe after a period and a half, I'll have to do something. But they all want to score and they all want to be involved, so we're not worried about their effort," he said.

Through the first two games, the underdog Hitmen have held their own against the high-octane Ice and could very well be up 2-0 in the series. That said, there are still a couple of areas Kisio feels his charges could be better.

"Turnovers at the blueline are every coach's worst nightmare and we've had them a few too many times," Kisio said."The other thing is we've got to stay out of the penalty box." The Ice have had 15 powerplays in the series and have converted once.

HIT PARADE:

The Hitmen are 3-1 in their last four Game 3s at the 'Dome.


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