Canucks and Beyond

Game #4: Dallas vs Vancouver

04/17/2007 at 5:53pm EDT

I only need to recall the heartbreak and therapy necessary to recover from the

2004

2003 2nd round series loss to Minnesota to remember what kinds of horror are still possible, even being up 3-1. Not to mention the Canucks’ own comeback against the St. Louis Blues that same season, in the first round.

About Tonight…

—The refs will be watching Luongo’s back tonight. (The off-ice gamesmanship will pay dividends to a goalie as important as ours is, I’m guessing). If I’m wrong about this, then look to see Turco turned into road kill, whatever the cost. And Canucks hitting the penalty box for it on a regular basis.

—Dallas won’t go into a defensive posture again if they get a pre-third period one-goal lead. As good as their D generally is, they’re too nervous about overtime. If I’m wrong about this, I’ll be happy because the Stars will almost definitely lose this game.

Key to Canucks game: Markus Naslund? On the whole, he’s playing better in this series than he’s played all year. The passion is there and it shows. Of course, you could argue that Jan Bulis could (weirdly) end up being the key to this entire freakin’ playoff run. He’s playing his best hockey in a Canucks uniform, no question. It wouldn’t have shocked me at all to see him put up the game winner the other night.

But in truth, I think the key comes down to playing as a team. All the small players chip in and play their roles, while the big guys (ie. Luongo, Sedins, Naslund) do their thing. I really think it’s the only way to win this series: everyone on the same page.

Key to Dallas’ game: Mike Modano? (Ha! Kidding...) I’d say coaching is the key for Dallas. Vancouver’s coach Vigneault is making it very difficult for them to match lines. While Vigneault can afford to take a chance on bad chemistry, knowing he can reliably depend on Luongo to bail the team, Tippet is reduced to responding to these unexpected line matches, never entirely sure what he’s trying to defend against.

That’s gotta be a bitch to deal with, when you’re the home ice coach and having last change does you no good whatsoever half the time.

That’s my two cents. Probably not even worth that much…

Go Canucks!

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