Writtrn by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
Yeah sure, after finishing one article that I will store away for the time being and then having to scramble to write another. This one though has a much happier ending.
What looked like a sure loss with the Penalty Kill giving up another two LA goals turned around in the third period and you watched the most dominant third period play of the series by the Nucks.
The best players rose to the occasion as Mikael Samuelsson, Henrik and Daniel Sedin came through with a third period reminiscence of a number of the ones played on the infamous road trip during the end of the season. It was also fitting that Henrik Sedins goal turned out to be the winner.
You could see that the Nucks wanted it more and in spite of Luongo’s so-so night in goal, (he did come up with a clutch save on a breakaway) as they took it to LA outscoring them 4-1 in the third.
All throughout the game it must have been weird watching the game from an advantage point above BC, as it was cursing one moment and cheering the next as Luongo just could not keep the door shut, until the Canucks scored the fifth goal with three minutes left in the game.
Pavol Demitra reappeared on the ice and scored a goal which tied it up the second time and was elevated from the fourth to the second line. He was much more dangerous in this game and seemed willing to go to the tough areas rather than float on the perimeter where he has been too often.
Kyle Wellwood came alive in the third period and was instrumental on a number of shifts cycling the puck, like a spinning top, hanging on to it (this guy could play in a phone booth), until he found an open man for a shot.
Poor Kevin Bieksa really struggled with his game. He was over committing in the corners allowing his man to go to the front of the net unchallenged, pinching and getting caught and bad decisions with the puck in his own end.
Shane O’Brien had a monster third period and I’m not talking about how he must have appeared to assistant coach Rick Bowness, who disagreed on his second period melt down with Drew Doughty.
As long as O’Brien plays on the edge and doesn’t fly over it, he’s effective.
The dreaded Canucks Penalty Kill finally found a way to stop the bleeding as they actually killed off three of the five LA power plays. But didn’t you hold your breath every time they did?
Talking about squeezing the dog, he’s still trying to get his breath. Come on back Rex it’s OK, I promise.
That seemed to turn the game around after the second LA power play goal because they shut LA out after that.
Enter stage right the Canucks power play as they came to life what with the confidence of the PK, with two scores on five chances. The second one was huge as it gave the Nucks the short lived lead, for the first time in the game.
You didn’t have to see the shot clock advantage (17-8) to comprehend the territorial advantage the Canucks had in the third period as they were fighting for their playoff lives.
So what was the difference this time around for their special teams? From my view point they were getting more shots through from the point, jamming the front of the net (Steve Bernier auditioning), controlling and quicker movement of the puck and making better decisions with their passing.
On the PK, they were more aggressive and challenging the LA player with the puck forcing them to dish it off or shoot and taking away the open ice. Previously they were way to passive, allowing LA time and lanes to shoot from.
They also were blocking more shots.
Who knows, maybe that third period will be the turning point of the series because LA was leading after two periods and must have been licking their confident chops, envisioning a 3-1 series lead going back to Vancouver.
Instead it’s now all tied at two a piece with a best of three games and the Nucks with home ice advantage.
As if there is such a thing in these playoffs this year!
Filed under: Play-off Games