Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/9/12
The playoff series between the eighth-seeded Kings and top-seeded Vancouver Canucks hasn't started, but both teams were in full playoff gamesmanship mode Monday. Shortly after Kings forward Jeff Carter said his bruised ankle felt good and he expects to play Wednesday at Vancouver "for sure," Coach Darryl Sutter sounded less positive about Carter's imminent return. Maybe Carter isn't ready, though center Mike Richards said Carter "could have played the last couple games if we needed him to, the last game for sure." It's more likely Sutter didn't want the Canucks to know his plans, and he's not the only coach who's especially vague this time of year. "He's still got a ways to go," Sutter said of Carter, who alternated with Brad Richardson on line rushes with Dwight King and Richards. "I think we've just got to evaluate it a day at a time, him being that far away. We'll just see how it goes." The Canucks were similarly unclear after 30-goal scorer Daniel Sedin practiced for the first time since he suffered a concussion on March 21. He was kept away from the media in Vancouver, but his twin and linemate Henrik was optimistic about his playoff prospects. "He's 100," Henrik Sedin told the Vancouver Province. "It was good to see him out there. It's been a while. He looks good. We're happy. If he wouldn't have been out there Monday he would have been a real longshot for Wednesday." Sutter said because he's uncertain about Carter, he reunited the Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams line Monday to have one set trio. The third and fourth lines were unchanged: Dustin Penner skated alongside Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis, while Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan remained together. The defense pairs were unchanged. "Jeff Carter, if this was regular season, would be on IR, right? So until he's activated it's not a point of discussion," Sutter said. Carter said the ankle is improving daily. "The strength, the movement and everything is coming back so it should be good," he said. THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET Sutter hasn't hesitated to challenge players he thinks are underperforming, and on Monday he issued a blanket challenge after he was asked what kind of series he expects. "I think they're the best team in the league and we're going to have to have some guys play above and beyond what they've played during the regular season," Sutter said. KEY TO THEIR KINGDOM Team captain Brown said the most important factor for the Kings against Vancouver will be maintaining their defensive game. "At the end of the day that, in a nutshell, is why we've been successful the last three years. It's because we've been so good defensively, and now we're playing one of the better offensive teams," he said. "If we're not on our game defensively they're going to pick us apart. "The flip side of that is we've got to find ways to get goals. But we're capable of winning games 2-1, 1-0. It's going to be really hard to win a game against the Vancouver Canucks if we're giving up four, five goals. That's just a fact. We're not that type of team where we're going to trade chance for chance." LINE 'EM UP The Canucks' lines in practice Monday were Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows; Mason Raymond-Ryan Kesler-David Booth; Chris Higgins-Sammy Pahlsson-Jannik Hansen; Manny Malhotra-Maxim Lapierre-Byron Bitz. The defense pairs were Dan Hamhuis-Chris Tanev; Alex Edler-Kevin Bieksa; Aaron Rome-Sami Salo. -Helene Elliott
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Tony Romo ‘believes it’s Texans or retirement’

Clay Matthews Sr. passes away at 88

WWE’s Kane is inching toward running for mayor in Tennessee

Jung Ho Kang denied visa for DUI, may miss 2017 MLB season

Jets not ready to say Josh McCown will be starter

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sens owner on Sidney Crosby: He’s 'a whiner' and should be suspended for Methot slash

Report: Griffin could be growing more open to leaving Clippers

Brandon Brooks accepts wedding invite from Eagles fan

Report: Josh Gordon expected to get reinstatement update in May

Landon Donovan retires from soccer again, this time for good

No discipline for Crosby for slashing off Methot’s fingertip

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker