Game 5 was the first one sided game of this entertaining series. For the first time in the series, Roberto Luongo clearly outplayed Jonathan Quick, who was chased in the second period. For the second game in a row, the Canucks power play equaled the Kings power play, perhaps indicating that this penalty killing jinx is at least close to ending.
While the Kings have silenced Alex Burrows in this series (I believe he must be injured, he hasn’t looked himself at all), they haven’t found an answer for Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson had two goals in game 5 and is red hot, netting seven goals already in this series. That ties him with none other than Pavel Bure for the franchise record of most goals in a playoff series.
Encouraging for the Canucks was the play of their defense. Alex Edler continues to be a beast on the back end, with Ehrhoff and Sami Salo also leading the way. The problem in recent weeks has been the play of their bottom three d-men: Kevin Bieksa, Shane O’Brien and Andrew Alberts. While the three of them weren’t superstars by any means, Bieksa looked steady, O’Brien got in a fight and the fans were chanting “Lets Go Alberts!” late in the game. Alberts looked steady defensively, but is still incapable of making an outlet pass, which reminded me of possibly the best tweet in the history of twitter: “Saw Alberts play a bit in Carolina. Hits like a truck. Handles the puck like a truck, too”.
Speaking of O’Brien, he appears to have not learned his lesson yet. I think he’s an underrated player, but giving the #1 motion with his finger after his fight was not the brightest move. If you’re in a one-off game in the regular season I don’t have much of a problem with it, but doing it in a playoff series is showing up the other team and essentially works the same as giving the other team “bulletin board material”. Kings head coach Terry Murray called him a “clown” which was probably a little bit harsh, to which Alain Vigneault responded with “I don’t care” (you got to love Vigneault).
Here’s another example of why you’ve got to love Vigneault:
Now the bad news. The Canucks ran away with game 5 and looked good doing it. I believe a lot of Canuck nation is getting a little cocky after it though and we shouldn’t be surprised if the Kings take game 6 to set-up a dramatic seventh game at GM Place. Teams often rebound from blowouts to win the next game, presumably because the losing team makes a lot of adjustments while the winning team gets a little overconfident. Game 6 will also be played at the Staples Center where the Kings have looked great and the Canucks (save for the 1st period in game 3 and the 3rd period in game 4) have looked overwhelmed. Once again, special teams will be of the utmost importance. If you stop the Kings power play you should win the game.