GDRC Gm 1 – Kings @ Canucks

Vancouver Canucks v Toronto Maple Leafs

You can’t stop ’em. You can only hope to contain ’em!

The Vancouver Canucks’ quest for the Stanley Cup begins tonight as they host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their first round series tonight at GM Place.
The nervous yet excited energy in the city and around the province is palpable, as Canucks fans cheer on a team some see as more than just a Cup contender, but a threat to win it all.
Before the Vancouver Canucks worry about hoisting any Cups just yet, they have to take care of their first opponent, and that starts by winning Game 1 tonight.

So what are the keys for the Canucks?

Roberto Luongo needs to START solid. He has a terrific habit of ending games well, but has a bad habit of letting in a couple of goals early and forcing his team to claw back victory. It will do wonders for his confidence if he can lock it down in the first period and play simply and efficiently.

The defence need to keep the puck out of their zone. Yes, I know that’s obvious, but they that’s their only job. Simple, quick passes out of the zone is a key tonight. No dilly-dallying. One pass and gone. They also need to clear the crease for Luongo. They need to be physical in front of their goalie and move the Kings’ big bodies out of the way. The Kings are pretty effective at getting in front of goalies, so the Canucks blueline need to bulldoze a path for Luongo.

Control the puck. This was the key to beating the Kings three times this season. Own the puck. Successful faceoffs and dominant forechecking have hallmarks of the Canucks offense all season, so the Canucks need to stay the course. The longer the puck is in the Kings’ zone, the more the pressure will mount and the goals will flow. If they can get this going early, charge down ice and force pressure on the Kings’ blueline, the Canucks will score quickly and this game will tilt in their favour for the whole night.

Today, Canucks fans will sit restlessly with nervous anticipation all day long, fidgeting as they wait for 7 pm to finally arrive. And when it does, the cheers will be heard across BC and throughout Canada.

You’ve gotta love this time of year.

    • Apologies in advance to Bill Simmons. Got caught up in rush hour traffic, was late for the game so instead of meeting my friends at the bar, decided to do a running diary of the Canucks first playoff game of 2010.

      Random thoughts from the first period:

      * Caught the end of the Caps / Habs game. I guess Ovie is Russian for “laid an egg”

      * Anze Kopitar – aka “the only professional athlete in LA not named Sam Cassell to not have groupies”

      * I hereby name thee, Michael “No” Handzus

      * Wayne Simmonds or Joel Ward for the least black guy name on a black guy?

      * Kings hilights from the 1st limited to the following: Quick and a pretty nice toedrag by Freddy Modin

      7:06 – We need a ESPN show called “Chirping” that chronicles every whistle and the pleasantries are exchanged between whistles. Either that or we need the lip reading chick from Seinfeld doing color instead of Craig Simpson.

      7:08 – apparently Terry Murray is rolling the D-lines against the twins. That’s sort of like going to a university houseparty with your buddies and you find out the girls have been drinking for 2 hours already.

      7:10 – ..and only 10-minutes in, we have the obligatory “guy on a cell phone who wants to wave to his buddies watching the game on TV”. Sit down.

      7:34 – Samuelsson flattens Jack Johnson, anointing the new nickname “Banana Pancakes”

      8:02 – and Steve Bernier is on the PP because………..

      8:07 – Hank gets impaled by Kopitar. Apparently if you are able to skewer the quarter inch space in between the bucket and the visor without touching the face, it’s technically not a penalty.

      8:08 – Kings have been doing their video homework; watching “how NOT to deal with the green guys by Nashville”

      8:12 – You know why I like Canucks PP unit #1? Because it’s how I would play it were a video game. Take the 5 guys with the highest (offensive) skill rating and put them on. That puts Demitra on the point and “shoot from every angle” Samuelsson on with the twins and Salo. Know why I hate PP2? Steve Bernier.

      8:15 – thanks to Craig Simpson for reminding viewers that “this faceoff is a good opportunity for both teams to win possession”

      8:20 – Sedin scores from Sedin. Any other pairing in the NHL and it’s the lead story and immediate highlight of the year. Fantastic regroup and goal on the rush.

      8:28 – LA scores. Modin from Frolov and Bilbo Baggins

      8:31 – Simpson: “He didn’t feel it until it hit his pad”

      8:32 – Bieksa: the guy who glares at every dude at the bar who isn’t with his crew

      8:34 – Reason #502 why playoff hockey is so great – every whistle is like a game of NHL ’93 with both teams button mashing the hit button.

      8:41 – When Scott Oake retires he will patent the “Stare at a spot on the guys face and nod” move during intermission interviews.

      8:44 – congratulations to Enterprise rent a car, the NHL’s newest sponsor. Congratulations to Enterprise rent a car for not running a new spot for 3 years now! How did they save money for the rights fee? Not doing a new commercial for 3 years, that’s how! Between Subway and Enterprise rent a car, not sure which commercial will vie for boycott-waiting-to-happen-for-2010

      8:49 – Brian Murray interview from Ottawa (in Pitt). One of the few coaches in the NHL that doesn’t require a whistle since he swallowed that one in 1964.

      8:58 – Brad Richardson joins Joe Sacco All Stars along with late inductee Paul Ysebeart

      9:02 – this just in. its reported that the NHL has mandated Anze to wear a tinted shield during games shot in HD

      9:07 – Wait a minute. Ryan Smyth is playing? Shouldn’t he be at the World Championships?

      9:17 – Edler almost ENDS Doughty. Brilliant, potentially game changing, momentum building hit. Reminds me; Edler AND Samuelsson don’t crack the Swedish Olympic team? Team Sweden apparently favours D-men who have North American sounding names – (David) Jonny Oduya and Douglas Murray

      9:22 – Doughty can captain the “tongues out All Stars”. Other guys in the organization are Chris Pronger, Alex Kovalev, Janne Niinimaa, Alex Ovechkin, and Hall of Famer Greg Hawgood.

      9:23 – what other types of “Overtime” are there in hockey? Why must we always say Sudden Death?s that a marketing scheme? Isn’t that the rule, rather than the exception? What other sports use a non-sudden death overtime? Lacrosse? Basketball?

      9:50 – Matt Greene puts the paddle down while looking like a young James Woods.

      9:52 – Quick with an amazing save on Hank. This kid is legit.

      9:54 – Luongo with an equally impressive desperation save. Degree of difficulty gets +3.0 with a goalie paddle looped under his toe strap. He calls this one the Backscratcher.

      9:57 – Shane O’Brien looking to draw an icing by taking the long route back to the puck. Oh never mind, he’s going full speed.

      9:59 – Hank to Samuelsson. Game over.

  • I was entertained. LA was a bit overwhelmed by the scenario at times but in the same breath not that horribly outplayed.

    Good to watch….. I hope it goes 7. And whatever new roid batch they pounded into Edler last night…… that recipe should be cloned.

    He wont keep it up but that was a rather awesome display of what he has apparently been holding back all year.