Canucks put Keith Ballard back in lineup
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault, as is his custom, would not confirm any lineup changes, but his players provided that information Tuesday morning.
Defenseman Keith Ballard and forward Tanner Glass both said they were going in. Ballard was expected to replace Sami Salo, who was injured early in Game 6. Salo did not participate in the morning skate Tuesday. Glass, meanwhile, was expected to replace rookie Cody Hodgson.
Ballard, a healthy scratch the past two games, was pumped about going back in.
"This is the position you want to be in as a player," he said. "It's the big stage. It's Game 7. Lose and go home."
Vigneault, meanwhile, said he wasn't planning any big pregame speech to motivate his team.
"There's nothing to say. We're going to go out there and we're going to play," said Vigneault, who was composed Tuesday morning but kept his media briefing short and sweet.
The coach was asked if he needed more from Team USA Olympian Ryan Kesler, who has been held without a goal in six games. On the flip side, Kesler has been going head to head with Chicago captain Jonathan Toews who doesn't have a goal, either.
"He's working real hard right now at both ends of the rink and he's playing against a real good hockey player," Vigneault said of Kesler. "So it's a real good battle out there."
Seventh-game jittersGame 7 is old hat now for Canucks center Maxim Lapierre, who with Montreal last spring was victorious in two such games versus Washington and Pittsburgh.
"It's fun to be back with that feeling," Lapierre said Tuesday morning. "It's a big game. You dream of these types of games since you're young."
The feeling is always unique on game day.
"It's always the same thing: everybody is a bit nervous and anxious for that game," Lapierre said. "When you focus on your game plan, you'll be fine."
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said Game 7 is a unique experience that players should cherish, not dread.
"You have to look at it as a positive thing," Sedin said after the morning skate. "This is not something everyone is going to go through as a hockey player. It should be fun."