There are few ways to describe the feeling for this long suffering Canuck follower. The way this game went, was torturous. Breaks galore that did not come, and then came at the wrong times for each team.
The San Jose Sharks need not hang their heads for this game, but for the result. They played magnificently. They were the better team as far as chances went. But they were not the better team.
Because the goalie is part of the team as well, and you have to beat him more times than the other guy. Tonight, Roberto Luongo went a long way to shutting up the wags that want to critique his every move. You hear them on the TEAM 1040 in this city incessantly. Perhaps some of those folks will give him some slack now.
Goals and thoughts, because you must have saw the game right?
– San Jose had a wonderful effort throughout the game, and especially in the 1st period. Their 4th line of Desjardins, Mayers and McGinn forced the game against any line they played against, and were out against the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lines of the home team.
– Joe Thornton is a warrior. Boston fans that chased him from that team may have had a point then, but not now. Todd McClellan deserves some credit for coaching him up, but the most credit has to go to Big Joe. He played tonight with a separated shoulder. He was still a force.
– Dany Heatley had a great game as well, as did his linemates Mitchell and Wellwood. Wellwood had a chance in O/T, but it was mainly Heatley the other two were setting up. He had his best game of the series.
– The Sedin Twins showed today why they are superstars. From their first shift to their last, the Twins were the best line on the ice by far. It did not matter who it was, they went ahead and played their game at some of the highest levels we have seen in this city, in the biggest game of their careers. Well done boys!
– Now, the scoring in this classic. Well, the first goal came in a period where the Sharks were awesome, but every time the Sedins got on, it was in the other end most of the time. Kesler’s line, and Lapierre’s line contributed and pushed back later on, but the Sedins pushed on almost every shift. It was impressive. So, in a first where the Sharks were pushing hard, watch how well the Sedins throw this puck around. There was no chance for Niemi on Burrow’s shot.
– The most underrated part of this game will be how the Canucks killed off a two man disadvantage in the first period. Fabulous play by the penalty killers, and of course Luongo. Multiple saves on Boyle, Marleau, and Thornton, amongst others. The rest of the penalty killers played desperate hockey, but it was Luongo that was the difference.
– The Sharks came on in the second period, but so did the Canucks, pushing back. Kevin Bieksa took a high sticking call that he did not even do ( it was Raymond ), and the penalty kill was doing OK until Kesler and Boyle raced for a puck and the Vancouver stalwart pulled up lame. As he went to the bench, the penalty kill broke down, and Marleau made a nice play in front to try and tip it, but Boyle’s shot looked to go off Ballard. The refs may have seen him actually get a piece though, as Marleau was given credit for the goal.
– After it was tied, both teams had a power play. But the penalty killers were up to it for both teams. On a night where the Sharks had a decided edge in power plays ( 4 to 1 ), special teams got the Sharks a goal, but the refs were not part of this game. The fans were screaming in the third and in both O/T periods when both teams could have been called for a variety of offenses. They let everything go.
– The third period started out as a disaster for the Canucks. A bad bounce that got by Edler, a smart play by Pavelski to beat Luongo coming out for the puck, and Setoguchi had an empty net.
– It set the stage for a hell of a period. The Sharks pushed forward at times, but mainly played desperate defense. The Canucks were coming hard, but the clock wound down closer and closer to a Game 6. Then, the Canucks caught a break. With about 30 seconds left, Boyle attempted a clear. Replays slowed it down and showed that the puck went off of Daniel Sedin on its way out. The linesman gets to see that once, at real speed. 99.9% of Vancouver, and .01% of San Jose will forgive him. Breaks happen though.
– Even with that break, look at the execution with the goalie pulled and 28 seconds left. Kesler won the draw, Edler and Henrik set up the shot, and Kesler made a tremendous tip. So, yes, they caught a break on the faceoff. But they used that break to come back.
– That being said, the Sharks sure pushed back in the first overtime. Luongo made great saves on Wellwood, Marleau, and Clowe. But Niemi kept his team in with saves on all three members of the Sedin line. San Jose outshot the Canucks 20 to 14 in the extra time. But though they were the better team in the first O/T at times, they certainly were not in the second. Just before the goal that sent the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Lapierre and Kesler lines both had dominant shifts.
– The goal. Everyone said it went of a stanchion when Marleau tried to clear it. BUt what happened was, Burrows made a hard play to make it tough on him. Edler a nice play to hold it in, and then when Edler tried to dump it deep again, it went off of Marleau’s stick. A break? Certainly. Even the camera man was fooled. Bieksa shot a knuckler. But it went in…
So, there you go, the Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Finals. They may have gotten a few bounces tonight, but that should in no way denigrate their effort tonight. The Sharks and their fans will be crushed by this one, but they will be back.
In the mean time, enjoy it Vancouver. You too, the rest of Canada, if you so desire. If you want to still poo-poo it, we will understand. We are too happy to care, to tell you the truth!