The biggest game the Canucks franchise has played since game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals did not disappoint on Tuesday night. It wasn’t easy, but the Canucks finally got their revenge over their arch rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. It took good goaltending from Roberto Luongo, a smart defensive corps and a gritty effort by their forwards to edge the Blackhawks, 2-1 in overtime.
For the first time in the Canucks-Blackhawks Trilogy, we will have a game 7. And it will happen in the most improbable way. As you must know by now, the Canucks have squandered a 3-0 series lead and now face elimination on Tuesday night.
In advance of game 6 in Chicago, the Canucks must find some way to re-find their form, just as the Chicago Blackhawks did before game 4. Chicago was inspired by their fallen teammate, Brent Seabrook, and used it as a rallying point. Well then, Alain Vigneault, I have something for you. Check that, I have something for the bulletin board.
Just when you thought the trade deadline was going to pass with Canucks general manager Mike Gillis doing nothing, he pulled off a pair of deals. The Canucks sent Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Chris Higgins. Gillis also acquired Maxim Lapierre and minor leaguer MacGregor Sharp (part of the all-name team) from the Anaheim Ducks for Joel Perreault and a 2013 3rd round pick.
The better team won. Face it. I have heard lots of whispers from the Canucks players and from fans that somehow the Hawks aren’t the better team, which boggles my mind. They were the better team during the last two regular seasons, they were the better team the last two playoffs. Sure there were some mitigating factors. Willie Mitchell’s injury sure hurt. Playing game 6 with a less than 100% Sami Salo and losing Alex Edler made things difficult. Lots of the Canucks forwards were banged up. Injuries ARE excuses, legitimate excuses. Injuries don’t mean you automatically lose, but they make things more difficult. These injuries meant that the Canucks had to be extra good, seeing as how they were underdogs to begin with. In the next few days I’ll take a retrospective look back at the Canucks season that was, but for now, lets concentrate on what happened in the deciding game, game 6 versus Chicago.
Skate and go to the net, presumably that’s the message from Coach V to his troops tonight. Alain Vigneault has a few lineup shuffles in mind for tonight’s contest. Pavol Demitra and Rick Rypien will sit out tonight’s contest in favour of Michael Grabner and Tanner Glass. Here’s what the Canucks lines are expected to look like:
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.
Team 1040 is reporting that Pavol Demitra will likely make his season debut Saturday versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. Great news, now all they have to decide is where to put him. Has the second line of Samuelsson, Kesler, and Raymond shown enough to not get broken up? I’m not sure it has. It appears Alain Vigneault isn’t ready to shake up his top two lines. Here’s what the lines looked like at practice today:
Interesting stuff from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. Among other things, Garrioch is reporting that the New York Rangers are interested in acquiring Pavol Demitra and that the Canucks are shopping Shane O’Brien. Interesting news on both fronts.
They’re 0-3 and in less than one week have gone from cup contenders to talentless bums (according to the bandwagon douchebags anyways). Well, the fact of the matter is that this team isn’t as good as those early season predictions (loyal Canuckz.com readers already knew this after reading this post) and they’re not as bad as their 0-3 record suggests.