Monday, April 26, 2010

I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Kings, April 25, 2010

Above: Absurdity

I Watched This Game is a recurring feature on Pass it To Bulis, chronicling the observations and insights of two people who watched a hockey game.

To quote the excellent sign held by a Canucks fan last night at the Staples Center: "YES!" That is Canucks hockey at its finest. Superb goaltending from Roberto "Bob Long" Luongo, highlighted by his absurd save on Ryan Smyth shown above. Steve Bernier introducing Johnny Quick to his behind. Daniel Sedin scoring a crucial goal. Mikael Samuelsson shooting from absolutely everywhere. Fantastic stuff.

And now, in my very best impression of Will Farrell impersonating Harry Caray, "CANUCKS WIN! CANUCKS WIN!"

  • Andrew Alberts was decent on the penalty kill. Who knew? It was hard to tell through the first couple games of the series because he was in the penalty box for all of the Kings' powerplays. He only had one shift in the third period, so it's clear Vigneault still doesn't fully trust the guy, but he's turning things around after a putrid start.
  • Steve Bernier has been a revelation all series, but he played his best game last night. His strong work on the boards on the penalty kill was a major reason why they didn't give up a single powerplay goal.
  • Slight caveat to that last point: the Canucks killed every penalty, but both LA goals came immediately after powerplays and were a direct result of the pressure LA was able to mount throughout the two minutes. The Canucks still have some work to do on that PK, it seems.
  • Dustin Brown played an excellent game, but his dive to draw a Daniel Sedin tripping penalty was ugly. Between periods, Ron Maclean showed the clip several times, while praising Dustin Brown for his high level of play. What, no compilation of the "best of" Dustin Brown diving?
  • What was with the guy in the Oilers' jersey behind the Canucks bench? Is he just a fan of hockey in general? Is he an Edmonton fan who is now cheering for the Canucks as the closest Canadian franchise? Is he a Wayne Gretzky fan, but prefers the Oilers jersey to the Kings? What's the deal?
  • Alex Burrows' tribute to Luc Bourdon gets me every time. Even when it comes on an empty net goal. Here's hoping that goal gets Burrows to loosen up a bit. It was far too easy to forget that he was the Canucks' leading goalscorer in the regular season.
  • Terry Murray's post-game comments about the game-winning goal? Not the least bit classy and sound awfully whiny: "The puck just flutters around, and it ends up with a very fortunate bounce. If (Samuelsson's shot) gets through, it probably goes over the net. That was not a well-placed shot."
  • Luongo's glove stop on Smyth was the highlight reel save of the night, but he was solid throughout. It helped that he faced a ton of shots early and made 15 saves in the first period. He settled into the game quickly and was at the top of his crease for most of his saves.
  • Johnny Quick, after solid performances to start of the series, looked like a playoff rookie through the last two games. It was indicative of his performance throughout the year. The difference in the regular season was that his team could frequently score their way out of trouble and were unable to do so in this series. Still, he's young and has a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see Bernier and Quick battle to be the Kings starter next season.
  • Ron Maclean's "pull that top off" moment was baffling. The man realizes he's on national television, right? The really sad part is that two men have been dressing up in skintight bodysuits, rubbing themselves against the penalty box glass, and generally being very provocative, and not a single sexual comment or innuendo has come their way. Instead, it's seen as goofy, fun, and humorous. As soon as a female dressed the same way, a sexual comment is made (intentionally or otherwise). I'm surprised this hasn't been picked up by more media sources.
  • Finally, I'm already looking ahead to the next series. Whether it's against Chicago, Phoenix, or Detroit, I'm confident the Canucks can make it through. That said, they'll need to get more offensively out of Raymond and Burrows, . The Sedins have been their usual steady selves, Samuelsson has been ridiculous, and Bernier has been surprising, but Raymond and Burrows only managed a goal each. As the playoffs progress, teams will key in on the Sedins and Samuelsson, which is when the second and third lines will need to contribute more. Some will call for more from Ryan Kesler as well, but he did score 6 points in 6 games while playing solid defensively. Raymond and Burrows, however, will need to provide that secondary scoring punch for the Canucks to get through the next round.

Note: this post is actually by Skeeter, but I, Harrison, bumped it to the top and blogger gave me credit for it. I have plagiarized my best friend and I take full responsibility for the crime.

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