Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game #2 - Canucks 3 - Blues 0 - Game Notes

Wow, what a difference it makes when the referees actually let the players play some playoff hockey. That was a very entertaining game, especially in the first period. On the Canucks side of things Roberto Luongo was simply outstanding. The Canucks gave up more opportunities than they would like, but whenever they did, the captain was there. On to the game notes...

  • Roberto Luongo is very good most of the time, but there are games when he shows why many consider him to be the best in the world. The final game against the Flames was one of those games as was last night's affair in Vancouver. Luongo made the types of saves that few goalies can. His ability to track the puck and react is a treat to watch. You add his sound (there's an understatement) technique and you get an amazing goaltending performance.
  • While Luongo was great, the Canucks cannot be too happy with the number of opportunities they gave the Blues. Unlike game 1, where St. Louis' offensive chances were limited to power plays, the Blues managed to generate numerous scoring chances 5 on 5.
  • What did Shane O'Brien ever do to Stephen Walkom? That slashing penalty had to be one of the lamest calls I've ever seen in a playoff game.
  • Mattias Ohlund had one of his better games. Good positioning for most of the night and most importantly he avoided taking any penalties. His days as a top defenseman are over, but the Canucks need him to play solid every night.
  • Ryan Johnson had a great game. Some great work on the PK and another 4 blocked shots to add to his total. This is the Ryan Johnson the Canucks were expecting when they signed him as a free agent. It looks like he has put the injuries behind him.
  • As they head out on the road the Canucks need to be much better in the faceoff circle. 45% isn't good enough. In particular Ryan Kesler (1 for 7) and Henrik Sedin (9 for 19) really need to step it up. Gaining possession of the puck will do a lot to limit the Blues scoring opportunities.
  • The Canucks so called third line had another strong game, generating a good forecheck and some scoring opportunities. Without the benefit of last change the third line will be a key component to the Canucks success in St. Louis.
  • Shane O'Brien had a strong game in limited ice-time. His play in the first period was particularly notable. He was strong positionally and was throwing his weight around.
  • It will be interesting to see if Darcy Hordichuk will remain in the lineup on the road. I suspect that the only reason he is currently in the lineup is because of Jannik Hansen's (and Rypien's) inexperience playing the left side. Without Taylor Pyatt (who is unlikely to return for the games in St. Louis, if at all this series) there is a hole on the left side. The 4th line could be much more effective and less of a defensive liability if that hole was plugged. Now that the Blues have the benefit of last change they should be able to exploit Hordichuk.
  • If the Canucks can continue to keep the Blues power play off the score sheet this series will be over quickly. The PK has done a great job so far this series.
  • On the other hand the power play hasn't been good enough. For the Canucks to keep winning the PP has to start scoring.
  • On the broadcast front games 3 and 4 will be broadcast in HD thanks to some kind of donation/sponsorship by Save on Foods to rent an HD truck in St. Louis. If you enjoy HD, go shop at Save On this weekend. It would have been a shame to not have these games in high definition.
  • Speaking of HD, the HD PVR may just be man's greatest invention. Unable to get home until around 8:00 I somehow managed not to hear the score of the game and was able to watch the game from the beginning just as if it was live.

Overall it was another solid game by the Canucks, but they can and will need to play better if they want to make this a short series.

Game 3 goes Sunday at 4:00pm

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