The Canucks put a finish on a record breaking season with a strong third period and the almost expected strong goaltending that seems to happen every game this season. The Flames put up a fight, but the combination of the Sedins, Kesler, and the first time the Canucks could ice their Dream Six defensemen all year, proved to be too much for the Flames.
They were obviously full of the divisional rivalry hatred in Calgary last night. From the way the Flames were hitting to hurt, to a little stick from Stajan that had Canuck fans holding their breath, when he got his stick into Kesler’s skates, causing him to limp off ( he played the rest of the game after being checked out ), through a much more cowardly spear from the same 3.5 million fourth liner on Lapierre, the game had some definite feeling.
Burrows got under Iginla’s skin by asking him for a signed stick. Regehr and Bouwmeester did their usual lousy job on the Sedin twins ( why does Sutter insist on that matchup? ), and Daniel had two assists, including one on this piece of mastery to tie it up. Ehrhoff won it in O/T, and for one team, the season is over.
You’ve inevitably read about the game already. This is not about that. We are on to bigger things now.
But its a good time to think of rivalries, and the way they affect us and the teams.
This morning, watching the Hawks lose to their divisional rivals the Wings, in regulation, you cannot tell me that the Wings did not really want to stick the knife in. Detroit and Chicago fans give it to each other in all sorts of sports, and the NHL is no different.
The hatred runs deep for these two Original Six teams. It definitely had something to do with the result today.
So, Hawks fans turn into Wild fans. They are definitely on the edge of their seats, as the Wild gave the Stars all they could handle. With less than ten minutes left in the 3rd, and the Wild leading 4-3, the Stars got desperate. The Wild are used to defending with five guys in the slot collapsing. Every time the Stars attacked for a goal to save their season, it was rebuffed, and chipped out. Even with the extra man the last ninety seconds, the Stars could not really threaten.
Season over. Dallas done, in a game they had to have. The Wild deserve credit for playing hard, but you can’t tell me that the people in their ears, telling them how that Stars “used to play here”, might have upped the emotion factor.
So, now its the Hawks for the Canucks in the first round. The way it should be. We have a few days to get to that…
Now is the time to praise the play and seasons of Henrik, and especially Daniel Sedin. Back to back Art Ross trophy winners. No matter what some Eastern mavens might say about the “good Canadian kid” Corey Perry, Daniel should keep the Hart Trophy in the family this year.
They have endured hatred and slights from opposing, and even their own fanbase early on. The “sisters” taunt. But through it all, they have proven to be not only great hockey players, but fantastic human beings. Here is a great Canucks.com story that tells the tale. Take the time to watch all four parts.
Together with the rest of the leadership, Captain Henrick has his team ready to meet the match of anyone, even the sometimes arrogant Hawks. Though, maybe they are properly chastised by backing into the dance in the worst possible way.
Regardless. This team. This year. Four wins out of seven, with a team that set records all year, and is first in almost everything. It should be the team from Chicago.
Its starts with the Hawks. As it should.