Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
“Overtime, boys. This is where legends are born.”Alex Burrows made that speech in the dressing room Tuesday night after regulation time of Game 4 ended in a 2-2 tie….
Bad goal? Weak goal? Series-winning goal, that’s all the matters, just as the four wins strung together to make a sweep obscured the closeness of the battle. The bottom line is everything.
Maybe that’s why the Blues’ dressing room was still closed 40 minutes after the game, in violation of league rules, and no one beat it down. Maybe they were crying in there, for Mason, who played so well and then let in a softie. Or for themselves, having gone 9-1-1 to close the regular season, only to be blunted by Roberto Luongo and a Vancouver Canucks squad that had an answer for every question they posed.
Alex Burrows scored the game winning goal with 19 seconds left in the first OT.
from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs everything is magnified. The battles, the intensity, the pressure, the energy, the excitement, they all rise to a higher level. The swings in momentum that can occur within a shift, a period and a game are often the moments that dictate the outcome of a series.
A hot goalie, or a streaky scorer can dominate a series, but there may not be a more important part of the playoffs than special teams.
All year teams work diligently to improve their special teams, understanding the importance of scoring a power play goal at a critical time, or killing off a string of penalties to preserve a lead. No series has exemplified that importance more than the Vancouver, St. Louis series.
Mike Gillis talks about his team’s 3-0 series lead in St Louis, their forward depth and Taylor Pyatt’s status.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
There is no I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-us giddiness around the Canucks as there was only two years ago when Vancouver bolted to a 3-1 first-round series lead against the Dallas Stars.
Even on their romp to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final in 1994, there was at least as much hopefulness as expectation that the “magical” run would continue.
There is no sense of magic now about the Canucks. This is a good thing.
There are the forwards who have elevated for the playoffs, the deep, robust defence that has no weak link, and there is Roberto Luongo in goal.
The Canucks have mustered the intensity and emotion that are base ingredients in all playoff success, but have also a detached, business-like approach. Nothing personal, they’re just moving on.
from the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Is there anything more tiresome or a greater waste of time than a Mats Sundin scrum? The man moved far more deftly than at any time he’s been on the ice by doging all the questions about his absence in Game 3 and the possibility of him playing Game 4.
He did make one slip however, admitting that in fact he did hurt himself in the third period not the first period (which Alain Vigneault claimed in his post-game news conference Sunday iin what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to mislead people).
“I haven’t spoken to the doctor yet today,” said Sundin after missing the Canuck practice Monday, he believed to have either a groin or hip problem. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Given Vancouver is up 3-0 in the series, it’s unlikely he’ll play Tuesday night, for if Vancouver win they will free up at least another week for him to rest whatever ails him to get him ready for the next series
continue for more on the Canucks and Blues…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
It’s been a great series to watch. But why hasn’t it been a series?
Why is it over before it begins? Why are the Vancouver Canucks up 3-0 on the St. Louis Blues?
Two words? Roberto Luongo?
Two teams? Vancouver’s special teams?
Two tougher twins in Daniel and Hendrik?
Yes. Yes. And yes.
from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
It’s over now. This was the Note’s chance to get back into the series and the home team failed.
The Blues didn’t get their must-have game. They took a good run at it, but fell short.
Now they will be relegated to playing for pride in Game 4. Now they will be fending off an embarrassing sweep on their home ice.
After entering the NHL playoffs as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, this is not the scenario they envisioned. But it is what it is.
The Canucks are the more experienced and more talented team (even with Mats Sundin sidelined) and the Blues couldn’t knock them off their game.
The Vancouver Canucks will not have forward Mats Sundin for Game 3 of their series with the St. Louis Blues with what the team is a calling a ‘lower-body injury.’
Sundin, who is averaging just over 15 minutes per game in the series appeared to injure himself half-way through the third period of Friday night’s Game 2 victory. Although he finished the game, he received a great deal of treatment following the win.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Luongo has stopped 55 of 56 shots in this series, and if you include Vancouver’s final three regular-season games, he’s allowed only two goals in the last 145 shots fired at him. When a goaltender is this bulletproof, he emboldens his entire team.
That’s why it was comical to see all of the Canucks’ posturing and taunting in the first two games, especially near the end of Game 2. The Canucks haven’t outplayed the Blues; the Canucks just happen to employ the world’s hottest goaltender at the moment. And they’re riding him. Basking in his glory.
That’s the unfortunate part of this match-up from a St. Louis perspective: in Round 1, the Blues came up against an opponent that’s just as hot as they were. And that team, Vancouver, has the one NHL goalie sizzling at a higher temperature than the Blues’ Chris Mason.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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