No surprise, Sedins no-shows at skate

Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks with his brother...

Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks with his brother Henrik. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- On the day of an optional skate for the Vancouver Canucks, Daniel and Henrik Sedin weren't anywhere to be seen.

The team's sensational twins haven't been spotted on the scoresheets of late, either.

As much as the Canucks believe they're back on track for their Stanley Cup march -- having vanquished the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and opened their second-round series with a victory over the Nashville Predators -- their championship chances will require more production from the Sedins, plus a handful of others.

Heading into a Saturday night clash with the Predators, Daniel Sedin -- the Art Ross Trophy winner this season as the NHL's top point producer -- has just one goal in the past four games.

Henrik Sedin, last season's scoring champ, has just one assist over the past five outings.

That level of production from players of that calibre may not be costly over a short period but will prove fatal over the long haul of the playoffs.

Still, if the Canucks are worrying about their dynamic duo, they're not showing it.

In fact, coach Alain Vigneault said he believes it's a small slump his players will overcome.

"The important thing at the end of the day is to win. Those guys are permitting us to win," Vigneault said.

"It's more challenging now. You've got the best teams in the league -- you had the 16 best and now you're down to the eight best -- so you're going to get the best defencemen, the best forwards. It's tough to score for any team.

"I like the way that (Sedin) line has been playing. They're doing a lot of good things, a lot of the right things to get scoring chances. Sometimes it's a cycle, but I'm very confident those guys are going to contribute."

Then again, the Sedins aren't alone in struggling to light lamps.

Ryan Kesler has been outstanding defensively but has no goals in eight playoff games, while Mikael Samuelsson and Mason Raymond have carried their regular-season struggles into the playoffs.

The highest scoring team during the season has cooled down at a crucial juncture.

Even the power play, which was tops in the league, hasn't clicked in four games.

Vigneault is quick to point out during his club's 1-0 victory in the series opener his team had 13 shots on goal and multiple opportunities while on the power play, only to be stymied by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

"We did everything but finish," he said. "The way we were playing it, the way we were retrieving pucks, the way we were moving it around, makes for a power play that should have success. It didn't (Thursday) night, but it did everything it was supposed to do, except score, which is a pretty important thing when you think about it."

Then again, if the Predators don't show more than they had in Game 1, the Canucks need not worry about any of those problems until they face either the San Jose Sharks or Detroit Red Wings in the conference final.

Any concerns about Vancouver's game can be multiplied in the Predators room after being beaten in every department during the opener.

The 1-0 final score was flattering simply because Rinne was at his best, and Nashville coach Barry Trotz -- who along with Vigneault and Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma are finalists for coach of the year -- was sure to let his team know after the game.

After practice Friday, Trotz said he was certain his team would put up a better fight as the series continues.

"I wish we could have played today because we had more energy today than we had (Thursday)," he said. "I do know this: Our guys are resilient, they've got a lot of character and they've got a lot of pride."


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