Canucks not feeling too good yet

Vancouver Canucks centre Henrik Sedin celebrates his third period goal against the Los Angeles...

Vancouver Canucks centre Henrik Sedin celebrates his third period goal against the Los Angeles Kings with teammates Daniel Sedin (R), Alexander Edler (L) and Dan Hamhuis during Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference Hockey playoff quarterfinals in Los Angeles, California. (REUTERS)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:27 PM ET

VANCOUVER - It sounds like a great theory: The Vancouver Canucks, by virtue of winning Game 4, have possibly planted a seed of doubt in the collective heads of the Los Angeles Kings.

Then reality strikes.

Sure, the Canucks are coming off a win, but they still trail the Kings 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. The squad from Hollywood still has the upper hand.

"Even though they lost, they are feeling pretty good about their game," Vancouver associate coach Rick Bowness said Thursday. "They played a good game.

"I'm sure they felt they had a very good chance to win. I don't think the loss (Wednesday) night is going to knock the wind out of their sails at all."

The Canucks win prevented them from being the first regular-season champion to be swept from the opening round of the playoffs since the 1937-38 Boston Bruins, but they're hardly out of the woods.

Vancouver is staring at being the third Presidents' Trophy winning club bounced in the first round in four years. Plus, only three teams in NHL history have won a series after losing the first three games, so they know they'll be in tough to complete that feat.

Which is why the Canucks are vowing just to try winning the fifth game, Sunday in Vancouver, and nothing more at this time.

"We have to take it shift by shift and make the best out of every shift. That's how we have to look at things. That's the only way we can get back in the series," said Canucks winger Daniel Sedin, one of the few regulars to hit the ice Thursday. "We're still alive so we're going to play on Sunday. That's all we know right now. We're going to try to do our best on Sunday and hopefully try and get this series going.

"They're still in control. They're up 3-1. I like their chances better than ours. We'll take it game by game."

The Canucks may be facing a huge challenge, but Sedin's return is a big check mark in their favour.

Despite missing four weeks due to a concussion, he jumped into the fray in a big way during the club's 3-1 win. Only his brother Henrik saw more ice time among the team's forwards, on a night Daniel collected an assist, fired three shots on goal and had four offerings blocked and another four miss the net.

He had a huge impact on the club's offensive push, including the moribund power play.

"I felt good out there," said the club's lone 30-goal regular-season scorer. "The first period was kind of hesitant coming into a playoff game, it's pretty fast paced. After that it settled down and I felt good. It was a nice surprise to me, too."

Not many people are thrilled about the long break between games -- the cause is Coldplay concerts at Rogers Arena Friday and Saturday -- but Sedin will benefit.

All that time off did affect his fitness level, but a couple of practices should have him up to his standard.

"If you're off for three weeks and not doing anything, you're going to lose some quickness and even being able to stay out for those 40-second shifts," he said. "I felt fine for 20-25 seconds and then it was off to the bench. It'll take some time."

The Canucks are hoping he's up to speed in a hurry.

They need all the help they can get, because any thought the Kings may be feeling self-doubt at this point -- which may be the case if the Canucks win the next one and would definitely be the case if it goes to a seventh game -- are pure folly.

"I don't really care how they're feeling," said Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa after Wednesday's clash. "All we know is we've got to win the next game. We're in desperate (mode) right now, so we'll focus all on the next game and that's it."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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