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Despite Game 2 being in Vancouver, the Canucks are sleeping in a hotel tonight

When your team is fighting to win its first Stanley Cup in franchise history, it’s time to pull out all the stops. Sometimes that means going with “outside the box” strategies to get every little edge.

Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals will take place in Vancouver Saturday night (at 8 p.m. ET on NBC), but the Canucks made the decision to sleep at an area hotel instead of their own beds Friday. If you’re a Canucks fan with a devious plan to upset the Boston Bruins’ sleep schedules, you might want to make sure that the home team isn’t staying at the same locale.

While the “act as if you’re on the road when you’re at home” plan sounds silly, it actually makes a lot of sense. Professional hockey players probably deal with a lot of long-lost cousins and reemerging grade school friends looking for tickets during typical games, but one can only imagine the kind of requests they receive during a championship round. It makes a lot of sense for the Canucks to opt for the low-distraction route, even if it’s easy to imagine a collective group of hockey wives and girlfriends with their hands on their hips in disagreement.

Head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t offer a comment regarding this policy, but a few Canucks players divulged some details about the plan to NHL.com.

“We did it Game 7 (of the Chicago series), Game 5 (of the San Jose Sharks series) and for all the Finals games,” he said. “There’s so many people in town, everyone’s trying to limit as many distractions as we can. Everyone gets a good meal the night before and it keeps it really simple for everybody.”

Added back-up goaltender Cory Schneider in his blog for NHL.com: “It simulates what life is like on the road where there’s nothing to focus on but hockey. Some guys want to be around their families, but I think there’s some peace and solitude in staying in the hotel that helps get them ready. We’ve had a lot of success doing, it so we’re sticking with it now.”

(snip)

The decision to sleep away from home while the series is in Vancouver, we’re told, came from the Canucks’ leadership group.

“The day before a game, it’s not a big deal, we just get together and focus for the game,” said captain Henrik Sedin, who to no one’s surprise is rooming with twin brother Daniel. “We’ve done it for some games and other games we haven’t, so it’s more on a game-to-game basis.

“So far we’ve done it for series-deciding games and in the final we’re doing it for every home game.”

The plan seems to be working out well at the moment; they’re 3-0 in the games Tambellini mentioned. Come to think of it, maybe the Bruins might want to steal that idea when the series shifts back to Boston. They were 24-12-15 in road games and 22-13-6 at home during the 2010-11 season, after all.

Something tells me that hotel managers in hockey markets across North America would love for this strategy to catch on throughout all of the NHL …

Video: Pavelski gives Sharks the lead as they look to clinch berth in Stanley Cup Final

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Perseverance paid off for the San Jose Sharks.

Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, pushing home a loose puck on Brian Elliott after Joe Thornton was unable to convert on the breakaway seconds before.

For Pavelski, that’s his league-leading 13th goal of these playoffs.

The Sharks can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history with a win tonight.

San Jose increased its lead to two goals, as Joel Ward capitalized early in the second period.

Canucks trade Jared McCann to the Panthers for Erik Gudbranson

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Jared McCann #91 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on during a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on November 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers have made a trade — and it’s a big one.

As per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the two main components are forward Jared McCann, who just completed his rookie season with the Canucks, and 24-year-old defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who has played five seasons with the Florida Panthers.

Here are the details:

McCann is the second draft selection of the Jim Benning-Trevor Linden era, taken 24th overall in 2014. As a 19-year-old rookie armed with a big-league wrist shot, he scored nine goals and 18 points while averaging 12:31 of ice time per game in 69 games.

The Canucks had the option of sending McCann back to junior last season and not burning a year of his entry-level deal, but they chose to keep him in Vancouver for the entire year.

One particular aspect of his development, particularly this off-season, was a need to get physically stronger, which was something that could be exposed at times in the defensive end against bigger forwards.

Gudbranson, selected third overall in 2010 and signed to a one-year, $3.5 million extension earlier this month, certainly gives the Canucks size on the back end at six-foot-five-inches tall, a physical presence and a right shot on the blue line, but he has managed only 13 points as a single-season career best and that was in 2014-15.

The Canucks also gave up two picks in this year’s draft.

 

Vasilevskiy ‘is the big reason we’re in Game 7,’ says Bolts coach Cooper

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It has been an Eastern Conference Final full of twists and turns in the plot.

Exhibit A: The goaltending situation for both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins. 

That began right away, in the first period of Game 1 when Ben Bishop was stretchered off the ice with a lower-body injury. Since then, Andrei Vasilevskiy has been The Guy for the Lightning, which will face the Penguins in a Game 7, winner-take-all contest, in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Of the many storylines heading into this contest, one that stands out is it’s expected to be a goaltending duel between the 21-year-old Vasilevskiy and the Matt Murray, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday.

(Remember when Penguins coach Mike Sullivan went with Marc-Andre Fleury to start over Murray in Game 5, only to switch back to Murray for a must-win Game 6? Another plot twist.)

Bolts head coach Jon Cooper had previously left the door open to the possibility that Bishop could return in this series. On Wednesday, however, he told reporters he’ll meet with his staff but does not anticipate Bishop being in for Game 7.

“I think Andrei is the big reason we’re in Game 7,” said Cooper.

“He’s made big save after big save for us. The one thing that I do like that’s happened to him finally in this series is, you know, he finally started a playoff game and won, whereas his other playoff wins were always in relief, and he’s won in Pittsburgh. So you’ve got to like the kid feels pretty comfortable playing there, and we like that.”

WATCH LIVE: Blues at Sharks – Game 6

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues, Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks, and Joe Thornton #19 argue with a referee during the second period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The San Jose Sharks can make franchise history on home ice tonight against the St. Louis Blues. Win, and the Sharks clinch their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Lose, and it’s back to St. Louis for a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference Final.

You can catch tonight’s Game 6 on NBCSN (9 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Tarasenko needs to start ‘playing within the system’: Hitch

On the brink of elimination, Blues turn back to Elliott

The Blues could sure use a goal or two from Tarasenko

Stanley Cup Final to begin Monday