Can Sedin solve Canucks' woes?
Star winger will return for practice
RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
LOS ANGELES - The goal scorers are slumping in unison.
The power play has been disjointed.
Those are the two biggest reason the Vancouver Canucks are facing elimination -- in a series sweep, no less -- at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings.
Is it possible Daniel Sedin can fix both Canucks problems in time to save their playoff lives?
Sedin, who has been on the shelf since Duncan Keith's elbow to the face knocked him from the March 21 game at Chicago, will join the team for Tuesday's practice.
From there, the decision will be made whether he'll play Game 4 Wednesday for a team which is shockingly down 3-0 in the best-of-seven, opening-round series.
"That won't be my decision," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said at the team's hotel in Santa Monica. "That's a medical decision. He's been skating now for quite a few days. They feel he's progressed real well.
"Exactly what that means, we'll have a better indication here in the next couple of days."
It's possible Sedin, whose 30 goals was tops on the Canucks this season, won't be healthy enough to play. He took part in a full practice two days before the playoff opener, but has only been seen doing light skating since.
However, with the regular-season champions in a must-win situation, and having scored only four goals in three games, it's worth trying to see if he's well enough to play.
Hopefully Sedin and the team aren't rushing his return.
"No player with this type of injury (would do that)," Vigneault said. "You have to be healthy. You have to be ready to go. That's a decision that him and the doctors will make together."
Just the news he'd join the Canucks in practice was a lift to a team in dire need of some positives.
"I don't know what it means for his availability for next game, but any sign is a good sign and we'll take it," goalie Cory Schneider. "We feel we're a good enough team we can overcome the loss of any individual, but in a series where goals are hard to come by, getting a 30-goal guy and last year's Art Ross winner definitely couldn't hurt.
"We're still feeling good and we're not relying on a saviour to come in and help us, but to get a player of that calibre back will help us."
With or without Daniel Sedin, whose twin brother, Henrik, has only two assists in the series, the Canucks still face an ominous task.
Only three teams in NHL history have erased a 3-0 series deficit and won.
"We're not trying to think about it as a 3-0 hole," Schneider said. "You win one game and anything can happen. It all has to start with one win."
They certainly have recent history to draw on. Sort of.
Last year's team had a 3-0 lead on the Chicago Blackhawks in the first-round series, but needed an overtime winner in the seventh game to advance.
"They were one great Roberto Luongo save away from winning that thing. That save he made in overtime in Game 7," recalled Ballard. "That happened to us and we were a very good hockey team last year and we're playing a good hockey team now. We know we can produce that same thing.
"We have to win one game."
It's brave talk, but talk only means so much for a team in such a dire position.
"I don't think our guys are discouraged. Obviously, we're faced with a huge challenge," Vigneault said. "I thought the last two games, we've executed well. It's a result-driven business, and we're not scoring."
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak