Sorry for no post after Friday’s game. There wasn’t really a whole lot to hash over on that game: everyone was brilliant and the Kings played like hot garbage. I hate blatant cheerleading (just subtle, restrained cheerleading, durrr) so no point in doing a wrap-up.
I gotta write about tonight’s game, though. First off, I’d just like to get something out of the way really quickly. Some of you may have noticed I participated in a roundtable over at Canucks Corner. In that roundtable, I made a couple of predictions. Regarding the Canucks, this is what I wrote on April 14th (scroll down to 8:47 or so):
“Canucks in 6. Luongo will have 1 bad game but look solid throughout the rest. Sedins and Samuelsson lead the way offensively.”
Luongo had 1 bad game (and was pulled) and looked solid throughout the rest.
Samuelsson leads the Canucks offense and leads the NHL in goals scored and is looking like a (VERY EARLY) Conn Smythe candidate (then again, so is Sidney Crosby.)
Daniel is third in NHL points, fifth for assists and second for the Canucks.
Henrik is third in scoring for the Canucks and third in assists.
To be fair, I did predict Jonathan Bernier was going to step up, which didn’t happen. But Quick did falter.
I also wrote,
“I also think hockey poolies are going to be frustrated with Frolov.”
1g, his only point in the entire series. I know he’s young and it was his first time, but jeez, you had a worse outing than Ladislav Nagy had against the Canucks in the 06/07 playoffs (1g,1a) and that was a low scoring affair. Pretty weaksauce!
So, let this be a lesson to anyone who may happen to work for a West Coast hockey team and may just so happen to besmirching my good name. I CAN use my powers for good. Anywho…
I had been saying for a while I was willing to be patient with Luongo and his play. I pointed to the Olympics and also said that sometimes, goalies just happen to go through slumps. I wanted to see if he’d show up for the playoffs. I loved the big goalline save he made in Game 1 (helped in part by Michal Handzus being a dummy and celebrating early, mind) but did Luongo ever show up tonight. Several Mount Olympus sized saves and a compete level that would have Al Pacino’s character from Any Given Sunday drooling in envy.
A great game, for the most part. While it’s frustrating that Burrows and Raymond didn’t have a fantastic series, I’d like to think that it’s in part due to the relative size of the Kings in comparison to them. Both of them are in the 6’0-6’1″ and 185-188 lbs range while the Kings have numerous players over 6’3″ (Handzus and Modin are both 6’4″) and are on the heavier side of the scale. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Samuelsson, who is 6’2″ and 218, enjoyed more success on the Sedin line than Burrows did.
It’ll be interesting to see how Burrows and Raymond come out against likely second round opponents Chicago, who have forwards and play a game that are more suited to Burrows and Raymond.
I also spoke about Alberts. Injuries had him back in the lineup and I thought he played a lot better and actually had some big clears on the penalty kill, too. That said, his misplay with the puck resulted in Luongo’s The Save and it looks like Alain Vigneault was none too pleased with his antics, as he got only seconds of icetime in the third. I’ve said before it may have just been a matter of adjusting to systems play and getting rid of bad habits with Alberts and he seems to be getting better as time goes on. Very interested in seeing him next season.
Beyond that, I’m loving both Steve Bernier and Shane O’Brien’s play in the postseason. SOB has been asserting himself well for the most part. His ‘Are you not entertained?!’ bit on Friday was a little much in the eyes of some, but it’s the playoffs. You gotta completely throttle your opponent.
Bernier’s just been playing a simple game, capitalizing on his chances, and playing a sound defensive game. Glad he’s picked the right time to start contributing.
I’ll have more on the second round once their opponent is confirmed (probably Chicago!) Also, looks like the Canucks are going to be set to play on Thursday, so keep your schedule open!