Did they deserve it?
The Vancouver Canucks are going to the Conference finals for the first time in 17 years, a staggering figure for any NHL team. They managed to do what they couldn't against Chicago; beat their opponents early, as they beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in Game six. Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin both scored for the 'Nucks, while David Legwand had his sixth goal of the playoffs in a losing cause.
However, amidst the high fives and hugging, one question still has to loom for this team; did they deserve it?
When you look at the Canucks, you can take a handful of players that went above and beyond the call of duty. Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, Chris Higgins, Kevin Bieksa, Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond all played fantastic hockey, proving that this is not your fathers Canuck team. But what about the not named? Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Alex Edler are the most important omissions. While they were undoubtly the more talented team in the Nashville series, where they the better team in Game 6? Or for that matter, most of the series? In Game 1, the Canucks were far better, out hitting, out shooting and out scoring a tired, flat Predators squad. In game 2, they were awful, losing in Overtime and being out shot by a wide margain.
Game 3 was a win, and a hard fought one at that. Call it a toss up.
Game 4 was supposed to be the breakout game for the Sedins, as Henrik had three points. He didn't.
Game 5 was a win by the predators, and a complete no show by every canuck except Ryan Kesler. Which brings us to Game 6, a squeaker of a win. They scored two early goals, managed a dismal two shots in the second period, and ten in the third. They were outshot, again, 24 to 19. In a game where they were supposed to be the superior team, they eeked out a win and made Ryan Kesler once again steal the show. Daniel Sedin had a tap in goal, but other than that, were the Sedins really noticable?
The Canucks will advance and play a tough team no matter what, whether it be San Jose or Detroit. These teams can score. They have decent goaltending. If the Sedins don't show up, if Luongo keeps letting in "oops" goals like he did the entire Nashville series, what could happen?
Take a wild guess. This is the third round; time to step it up. And I mean more than just Ryan Kesler.