Game Review: WCF Gm1

My baby loves the Hanky-Panky! And so do the rest of hs teammates.
Especially when he scored a game-winning goal.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Western Conference Final Game 1 – Sharks @ Canucks

For the seventh consecutive series, the Vancouver Canucks won Game 1 of a playoff series.

The Sharks started out by playing with some carry-over momentum from their Game 7 victory over the Red Wings, but as the game went on, the Sharks began to fade. And the Canucks took over.

The shots and the play were all most dead-even in the first period and through the second. The Canucks were unable to capitalize on a couple of early power play opportinuties and a terrible turnover from Luongo allowed Joe Thornton to score a gift goal with 1:13 left in the first. Antti Niemi then returned the favour less than two minutes into the second period with an ill-timed pass, intercepted by Raffi Torres, who passed to Jannik Hansen who fed the puck to Max Lapierre who tied the game up. The Sharks regained the lead on their only power play of the game as Marleau tipped a Boyle blueline shot past Luongo.

It seemed that, shortly after that, the Canucks started to take over the game, woken up by falling behind for the second time. The ice titled to the Sharks’ end, with fatigue setting in and the Canucks’ speed showing its ability to take over a game. This led to a nearly 30-second-long sequence around the Sharks’ net where the Canucks stormed the crease trying to jam home the tying goal. Utter madness ensued. While the Canucks didn’t score, it was clear that the Canucks had all the momentum going into the second intermission.

With the Canucks continuing to dominate in the final frame, about 1/3 of the way through the third period, the Canucks scored two goals in 1:19 to tie, then lead, the game. With the lead the Canucks continued to keep the foot on the gas, and kept the Sharks from getting any sort of sustained pressure in hopes of taking the game to overtime.

The third line for the Canucks was fantastic in Game 1. Raffi Torres had one of his best games as a Canuck and showed some much needed discipline, drawing a penalty on Henrik’s winning goal and throwing his weight around all game long. Max Lapierre, while faltering in the faceoff circle, was exerting his force as well, and scored the Canucks first goal, while Hansen was skating miles on Sunday bringing the puck deep into the Sharks’ zone and keeping it there. The best part of the third line’s collective game was their forecheck, keeping the puck in the Sharks’ end for long stretches, and eliminating a big part of the Shark’s offensive game, which is puck possession.

Three Big Stats

Here are my top 3 stats from last night’s game:

1. Henrik Sedin’s stat line. 1G 1A 2Pts 71% in FO. He had a great game and it reflected on the scoresheet.

2. 5. Chris Higgins, Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa each had 5 hits to lead the Canucks to 38 total hits in the game. It was a big element of the Canucks dominance over the Sharks, especially on Sharks third line center Joe Pavelski, who seemed to be a lightning rod for many of the Canucks’ biggest hits.

3. 71. The Canucks directed 71 shots at the net in Game 1. 38 SOG, 21 Attempts blocked, 12 Missed shots. Compare that to San Jose’s total of 45 and the Canucks dominance shines through.

Three Big Moments

Here are my top 3 moments from last night’s game:

1. Kevin Bieksa’s tying goal. Henrik directs the puck to Burrows up ice off the boards, who moves up ice then makes a beautiful cross-seam pass to a streaking Bieksa, who went blocker side on Niemi.

2. The "Scramble". An absolutely furious goal-mouth scramble around Niemi goes for almost 30 seconds, and was the definitive turning point in this game. From here on in, the Canucks dominated.

The clip can be found on here. The highlight starts at the 2:00 mark.

3. Henrik Sedin’s game-winning, power play goal. A terrific move around Niemi and a positively useless effort by Nic Wallin allowed Hank to slot home the game’s winning goal.

  • OilFan

    Turning point #1 was the brutally obvoius trip on Thornton near the end of the second followed by the phantom offside on a Heatly breakaway ! Turning point #2 the dive by Torres drawing the power play. Pathedic refing in the NHL these playoffs and not against the Nucks. WEIRD.

    Good read none the less CAM.

    P.S I gave my self those props .