Predators keep Canucks' top scorers off the board

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 11:04pm

One of two things has happened.

Either the Nashville Predators really have bottled up Daniel and Henrik Sedin or they have put a lid on what is a boiling pot of the Vancouver Canucks’ offense.

If it’s the latter, of course, there is going to be an explosion.

“They work so well together, it’s tough,” Nashville center David Legwand said. “I’ve played against them since I was 16 in international tournaments and stuff. It’s pretty dynamic what they do. They’re excellent hockey players.”

The Sedins, twin brothers and the last two NHL regular-season scoring champs (Henrik had 112 points in 2009-10, Daniel has 104 points in 2010-11), have yet to record a point in the Western Conference semifinal series with the Predators, which continues at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. The series currently is tied at one game apiece.

Combined with the fact that they were scoreless in Vancouver’s opening round, Game 7 victory over Chicago, they have played three straight contests in which neither has had a point.

Only once during the regular season did Vancouver play three straight without a goal or an assist from either one. Coincidentally — or not — the third game of that stretch was against Nashville, a 3-0 Predators’ victory on March 3.

There was only one other time when they went back-to-back contests without a point.

“I wouldn’t say [it’s] frustrating,” Henrik Sedin said Monday. “We know we have to score. We know that … but it’s going to be tight games. We can’t go out of our way just to score. At the same time, we have to bear down on our chances when we get them.”

On Saturday, coach Alain Vigneault tried three different players at right wing with left wing Daniel and center Henrik to no avail.

Indications at Monday’s practice were that he planned to try a fourth, Alexandre Burrows, in Game 3. Burrows was the third member of the Sedins’ line at times during the regular season and in those times was consistently productive.

“When we’ve put Alex with them, it sort of seemed like their point production took off,” Vigneault said. “I know they don’t want a guy just to cycle and just stand in front of the net. They want a guy who can think a little bit like them, and I think that Alex, for the most part, because of his work ethic and his willingness to go in those tough areas, really complements them well.”

Vigneault steadfastly refused to discuss lineup decisions — as is his custom — and attempted to downplay the significance of the combinations during the workout.

It’s worth noting, though, that the only time in six meetings this season (four in the regular season, two in the playoffs) that Vancouver scored more three goals against the Predators, Burrows scored the first two — each with assists from the two Sedins.

“The Sedins … we know what they’re capable of doing,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter said. “They have a lot of talent over there.”

Daniel Sedin has had six shots on goal in each of the two games. Henrik Sedin had six in the opener and one on Saturday.

In the four regular-season contests against the Predators, they combined for one goal and six assists.

“We need all our lines to step up, especially our line,” Henrik Sedin said. “We have to produce.”