Sunday, April 12, 2009

Canucks Win Northwest Division

Who would have thought back in January that the Vancouver Canucks would enter the playoffs as the number 3 seed in the Western Conference? Many of the local bandwagoners were ready to blow the team up, fire Alain Vigneault and jump right into the Tavares sweepstakes. Fortunately Canuck management has more intelligence than your average Canuck bandwagoner.

Not only have the Canucks made the playoffs they have done so as one of the hottest teams in the NHL and as arguably one of the most dangerous heading into the second season. Roberto Luongo is at the top of his game. The Sedins have found their missing triplet. The second line is dangerous. Even the third line is producing regular shifts in the offensive zone. Things are looking pretty darn good at the moment.

Another bonus for the Canucks right now is that they will not have to face the Anaheim Ducks. A series against the Ducks would certainly be very winnable, but the physical toll could have become a large burden to any hope of a Cup drive. The Ducks play a physical, often dirty style of play, and a 6 or 7 game series would not have been fun. Of course that's not to say Columbus or St. Louis will be easy, but at least you know you won't be going up against players like Pronger and Perry.

As for the Blues and the Jackets we will find out today who the Canucks will face in the first round. A win by the Blues against the Avalanche and it will be St. Louis, otherwise it will be Columbus. While the Canucks should beat either team, I would prefer to face the slumping Jackets. While Columbus has the always dangerous Rick Nash and the Calder favourite in Steve Mason, they have little playoff experience. Throw in their league worst 12.7% power play and you have a team that should be handled in 5 or 6 games. Of course anything can happen in the playoffs.

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