Game 4 had a similar feel to it to Vancouver vs Chicago in game 6 last year. The main difference, of course, is that the Canucks found a way to win this one. They did it on the backs of their top players.
What a bizarre, infuriating game it was. Vancouver came out and dominated most of the first period, hitting like they’ve never hit before, making the right plays, getting scoring chances, causing turnovers and getting the first goal by Mason Raymond on the reunited speed line with Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson. Then it happened.
Whew! That was close. Not only did Jack Johnson nearly put the puck in the net, but if Michael Handzus doesn’t put his arms up in the air, he might have been able to bury it. Classic Bieksa pose in this picture by the way, standing upright, watching a member of the opposing team in front of the goal. With that said, perhaps I’m being a bit unfair. I thought Bieksa had a solid game, as did the rest of the Canucks D. Most notably, Alex Edler was strong in both ends of the rink. He was a beast, as evidenced by this hit on Drew Doughty (you think Edler trash talked him? Something like “welcome to the playoffs, kid” would have been nice).
The moment Canucks fans have been waiting for all season is almost upon us. That’s right, round 1, game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Canucks faceoff against the Kings in what promises to be an entertaining series. Lets see how the series breaks down.
Ok, maybe there’s not a true goaltending controversy in Canuckland these days, but if it weren’t for Roberto Luongo’s reputation, there would be. Luongo is having his worst season in a Canucks jersey, being pulled more times than ever, while Andrew Raycroft is enjoying the the best season by a Canucks backup since Alex Auld. Statistically speaking, Raycroft has better numbers. They share essentially the same save percentage (Luongo at .913, Raycroft at .914) and Raycroft has a better goals against average (Luongo at 2.55, Raycroft at 2.31). These stats should be skewed a bit given the fact that Luongo plays fatigued more often and usually plays the tougher teams, but this is still highly unusual for Luongo. Luongo typically has numbers far superior to his backup and is usually at the top of the league in GAA and SV%. This year, he’s middle of the pack, 18th in GAA and 17th in SV%. To put that in perspective, Dan Cloutier was 16th and 18th in GAA and SV% in 2003-04.
With 15 games left in the regular season and the nightmare record road trip behind them, one thing is still not clear. Are the Canucks contenders or pretenders? It’s a question that doesn’t elicit a unanimous response. I think that we as Canucks fans underrate this edition of the Canucks (just as we overrated the Naslund-Bertuzzi era Canucks).
After a long absence (bloggers get caught up in the Olympic hoopla too you know), Canuckz.com is back with a look at the Olympic hockey tournament. Most notably, what’s wrong with Team Canada, and what is head coach Mike Babock going to do about to fix things? Brodeur vs Luongo The pundits have spoken, and they are in almost total agreement: Luongo should start the next game.
After lets face it, a boring first 20-30 games this season, there are now lots of things going on in Canuckland. In fact, I can think of at least ten of them:
The speculation about who will make Team Canada ended on Wednesday (Canuckz.com correctly predicted 16 of the 23 players named back in August… is that good?), as GM Steve Yzerman revealed the 2010 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team. As expected, lots of deserving players were left off, but lets start by looking at who made the team:
How great was it to see Kyle Wellwood score his first goal of the season last night against the Los Angeles Kings? Sure, it was an empty netter, sure he needed two cracks at the empty net, but to have a game where the crowd chanted his name, booed the announcement that his goal earlier in the game would be credited to Tanner Glass and have a standing ovation for a meaningless empty net goal was pretty special. And Kyle Wellwood is a special character for Canucks fans.
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