The Vancouver Canucks will get a chance to scratch a 40 year itch if they can find a way to win game 6 in Boston tonight. The Stanley Cup is in the building, and for only the second time in franchise history, the Canucks have a chance to carry it home.
It was a slow day in Canuckland today given that the team has been given their second day off without practicing and the fact that they won’t play game 1 of the conference finals until Sunday. That was, until Jason Botchford of the Province dropped this in the Twitter world:
It wasn’t a picture perfect win, but it was a win nonetheless Monday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The Canucks limited the Predators chances, en route to a gritty 2-1 win. Usually I’m not a big fan of sitting on a one goal lead for long periods of time, but if there ever was a time to do it, it was game 6 in Nashville. The ice surface was so poor that it was very difficult to make complete passes and hold pucks in the offensive zone. The puck looked like a bouncy ball out there, hopping and skipping around all over the place.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Henrik Sedin has 1 goal (an empty netter) in his last 18 games. Daniel Sedin has not scored since the Chicago series. Their plus-minus is a combined -14 in the postseason. Mason Raymond has zero goals.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: your best players need to be your best players. That’s exactly what is carrying the Canucks right now, as they lead the Nashville Predators 3-1 and are one win away from advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 1994.
Head coach Alain Vigneault tipped his hand on a few key adjustments at practice designed to improve the Canucks chances for a victory in game 3. Scoring two goals in 8 periods of hockey will do lend itself to that.
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.
There are a couple of ways to look at the Canucks 4-3 win over the Blackhawks on Friday night. On one hand, the Blackhawks finally found a way to get pucks past Roberto Luongo. Ben Smith and Viktor Stalberg scored on Luongo, and they weren’t great goals. If the Blackhawks can get goals from their depth players on a regular basis, they will climb back in this series. Another way to look at it is that the Canucks were able to win game when they let the likes of Ben Smith and Viktor Stalberg score and get an average game from Roberto Luongo.
Tuesday’s win against the Phoenix Coyotes gave the Vancouver Canucks a perfect 3-for-3 record on their California/Arizona road trip and Canuck Nation couldn’t be happier. On Sunday I told you about the Canuck invasion in Los Angeles and Anaheim, and others have taken note. We were fortunate to have our article featured in Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, which gave this story league-wide attention. Even JT the Brick (who has a nationally syndicated radio show in the US) talked about this big influx of Canucks fans at the Staples Center and Honda Center over the weekend… and those kinds of shows NEVER talk about hockey. On Thursday, the Canucks will try to make the road trip a perfect 4-for-4 and you know Canuck Nation will be there too.
The Canucks just completed a southern California sweep against the Kings and Ducks, winning both games in impressive fashion. They played two desperate teams, played them tough and fought through tight checking and a lot of physical play to get a pair of wins. What’s more impressive though, is the fan support from Canuck nation in both games!
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