After an impressive 4-1 win, the Canucks will live to play another game. So just how did this team, that looked so beleaguered on home ice in game 3 and 4, manage to extend the series? Remarkably, the keys to victory have become astonishingly clear (to this blogger at least).
The Canucks got excellent goaltending from Roberto Luongo, while the team in front of him limited the chances against. They also stayed away from penalty trouble for the most part, and killed them off when they took them. Everything else in this series has remained fairly constant. They’ve been good on the power play and at even strength. Just clean up your PK and get Louie to be on top of his game.
The Return of Bieksallent
In my series prediction I said that Kevin Bieksa needed to play like he hasn’t in two seasons and/or Luongo has to be great, and well, they both did that last night. Kevin Bieksa played like he did in 2006-07 last night and it was much needed. The guy has been in my doghouse all year, playing more like a fifth defenceman than a top four defenceman. After Sami Salo went down with an injury, Bieksa was counted on big time and he stepped up.
Salo Injured – But Still Ballin’
Thankfully contrary to early reports, Sami Salo DID NOT rupture his testicle in game 5. What exact injury he has though, is uncertain. He’s apparently day-to-day, but who knows what that means come playoff time. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be back for game 6, but after that is anybody’s guess. I could go on a parade of ball jokes now, but they’re kind of tired already (so much so that you can follow ‘Sami Salo’s Testicle‘ on Twitter).
Big Game From Burrows
Alex Burrows only had an empty netter last night, but that doesn’t tell the story. Burrows was planted firmly in front of Antti Niemi on two of the three goals that Niemi gave up. Those screens were the main reason that those goals went in and Burrows hasn’t gotten enough credit for it.