The Vancouver Canucks don’t mind back-to-back games in the bubble, especially after a 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round on Saturday.
They can walk from Rogers Place back to the hotel in Edmonton, the West hub city. They can get some sleep and get right back at it in Game 4 on Sunday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
The Canucks trail the best-of-7 series 2-1 after their second shutout loss.
“Our guys are excited to play tomorrow,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “I know that. We had a lot of energy in our game tonight. Life in the bubble isn’t bad. I hope we’re here for quite a while yet. We’ll be fine. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
The Canucks wouldn’t mind a start in Game 4 like the one they had in Game 3, even though they gave up two goals in a 1:23 span and were down 2-0 at 5:28 of the first period.
Vancouver had a 1:18 two-man advantage afterward but failed to score mostly because of Vegas goalie Robin Lehner, who made big stops on centers Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson.
“It was as executed about as well as we could, I think,” Canucks forward J.T. Miller said. “Goalie made some nice saves. We got the momentum for the team. Easily we could have tied the game or got back to close.”
After the 5-on-3, the Canucks led in shots 13-4. After the first period, they led in shots 16-9.
“I really liked our first period,” Green said. “Skated well. Drew some penalties. Give their goalie credit. He made some really nice saves. I think we could have easily been up after the first period, but that’s all part of playoff hockey. Sometimes you have a good period and don’t win it.”
The Canucks were outshot 25-15 over the final two periods, however, and had one shot from inside 10 feet of the net. Green said he thought they had a few too many east-west plays in the offensive zone.
“Sometimes when we get down, we tend to overpass some pucks,” Green said. “I thought we didn’t do a good enough job getting pucks into the net. We had a lot of attempts, but we didn’t get them there. We missed the net as well.”
That’s something the Canucks didn’t do at least early in their 5-2 win in Game 2, when they took a 2-0 lead in the first period, and something they don’t want to do in Game 4 whether ahead or behind.
“I think when we move the puck too much, especially in the neutral zone, it’s pretty evident,” Canucks forward Tanner Pearson said. “It’s not that hard to figure out. You look at the game we won, we chipped a lot of pucks in and then chased it that way and got on our forecheck and it worked out for us. So I think when we’re down, we’ve just got to keep it simple and keep to our game and not try to force too much.”