Canucks take a wild game 7
For a province full of title starved arm chair coaches, it was a collective sigh of relief, a gigantic group hug, and a brisk Vancouver night filled with the jarring chorus of, “WOOOOOO!!!” The Canucks finally, FINALLY got the gorilla, or piano, or whatever imagery you want to insert here off their back and beat the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, the Vancouver Canucks, the President’s trophy winning Vancouver Canucks eked past the Blackhawks by a score of 2-1 in Overtime.
It was a game filled with redemption and nail biting action, mostly dominated by a determined Canucks squad. In the first, Alex Burrows continued his strong play by scoring another goal, this one in the opening five minutes. Burrows now has back to back games with a goal, and he definitely had the most chances of any Canuck on the ice. He had seven shots, a penalty shot, and 2 goals.
Roberto Luongo, fresh off a Vezina nomination, showed that he is still an elite goaltender by stopping 31 shots. Was this the biggest game of Luongo’s career? Most definitely. Luongo was equal to the task, routinely keeping the Canucks in the game, and carrying on an unflappable, calm demeanor.
The Canucks and Luongo kept Burrows’ goal undisturbed on the scoreboard for the entire game. They played almost perfectly, closing gaps quickly, counterattacking swiftly, and causing turnover after turnover in the neutral zone. However, note how I said, “almost.”
Jonathan Toews, perhaps the best big game player in the NHL scored with just under two minutes left in regulation, shorthanded. He skated in 1 on 2, was knocked down, kept at the puck and was able to knock a rebound in while sliding on the ice on his belly. It took the wind out of the building. Luongo lay on the ice, no doubt with a bad feeling in his stomach.
When the game went in to Overtime, Alex Burrows took a holding penalty. You could almost see the smoke coming out of Alain Vigneault’s ears, and the building let out a collective groan. However, the Canucks killed it off, the Blackhawks only got one quality scoring chance, a Patrick Sharp shot that Luongo stopped at the last second. Soon after, it was Burrows knocking a puck out of the air, skating in alone, and blasting a shot past Corey Crawfords blocker. Burrows went nuts. The crowd went nuts. Everyone on the Canucks bench went nuts. Hell, even Jim Hughson went nuts! Burrows was mobbed by his teammates as Mike Gillis and upper management group hugged in the press box.
It was far from a perfect series. It was almost disastrous. But the Vancouver Canucks, the Chicago Blackhawks punching bag the last two seasons finally won, and in dramatic style.
Next up, Shane “The Roxy” O Brien and the Nashville Predators. BRING IT ON.