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Canucks want to send Sharks home in five

Sami Salo waited 12 seasons and endured countless injuries for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

One win from his first Cup finals, the Vancouver Canucks defenseman doesn't want to wait any longer.

With a 3-1 lead over San Jose in the Western Conference finals heading into Game 5 tonight in Vancouver, Salo knows how important it is for the Canucks to finish off the Sharks fast. It's something they failed to do against their opponents in Game 5 at home in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

"We noticed from series past we have to have the killer instinct to finish the other team off," Salo said one day after scoring two 5-on-3 goals in Sunday's 4-2 win at San Jose. "Otherwise it will give them momentum and too many chances."

The 36-year-old Salo also knows his team has a chance that doesn't come around often. He started his career in Ottawa, but was traded to the Canucks long before the Senators made their lone Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2007.

The hard-shooting Finnish defender became a punch line after more than 40 career injuries included a snakebite and a pulled butt muscle. He then tore his Achilles tendon playing floorball last summer.

After undergoing surgery, Salo missed the first 41/2 months of the season.

"They say the fourth win is the toughest one to get and that's been the case for us," said captain Henrik Sedin, adding the team has learned from the previous failures.

"The other team is for sure treating it as a Game 7 and if you are not doing it yourself, it's tough to win those games."

Thornton expected to play

Sharks captain Joe Thornton is expected to play tonight despite leaving the previous game with an injury.

Thornton was hurt on a shoulder-to-shoulder check by Raffi Torres in the third period on Sunday. He did not return to the game and did not take part in an optional practice yesterday before the team flew to Vancouver.

But coach Todd McLellan said he expects Thornton to play, even if he is not 100 percent. Thornton leads the Sharks with 17 points this postseason.

New York Sports