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Canucks' mantra won't change for elimination game

Vancouver CanucksHuman InterestHenrik SedinRyan KeslerRoberto LuongoChicago BlackhawksUnited Center

Ask Ryan Kesler how the chance-to-vanquish-the-Chicago-Blackhawks element combines with the Vancouver Canucks' one-game-at-a-time intonation, and the answer is as dispassionate as the approach.

"One game at a time," Kesler said after a 3-2 Game 3 victory. "We have to focus on the next game. We can't focus on anything but that."

It is an unswervingly clinical, cold-blooded tack the Canucks have embraced to thrust the Hawks to the brink, taking a 3-0 series lead into Game 4 at the United Center on Tuesday. And even the prospect of eliminating the team they desperately want to eliminate did not alter that theme late Sunday night.

"It's not any bigger than our first game," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said of Game 4. "That's our mindset. I don't think you're going to hear anything else right now from any of the guys in here. It's a long road to finish the series off. It might take seven games, we'll see. We're going to keep playing our way."

And that is perhaps as big a reason why the Hawks have had little success this postseason and have little chance moving forward: Where the Canucks could be jangled in other series, and even in Game 3, they now either shake it off or respond accordingly.

Perhaps prodded a bit by the Hawks on Sunday night into at least a couple of the seven minor penalties, the Canucks weathered storms until they put the game away in the third period.

"We talked a lot about staying composed before the series started, doesn't matter what the score is or what's going on in the game," Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo said. "You want to keep your composure, playing the same way, we don't change anything whether up or down. That's what we did."

And when a team that is playing impeccably well believes it has room to improve? The climb is that much steeper for the Hawks.

"Really, I don't think we played that good (in Game 3)," Kesler said. "We definitely need to put out a better effort. For us, we're going to take it, but we know we have to watch video and put a lot better effort on the ice.

"I think they're going to have a better effort next game. You always see teams' best games in an elimination game. That's what we're going to see."

bchamilton@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribHamilton

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Vancouver CanucksHuman InterestHenrik SedinRyan KeslerRoberto LuongoChicago BlackhawksUnited Center
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