Saturday, April 17, 2010

Game 1 - Canucks 3 - Kings 2 - Game Notes

Time to post again...

The Canucks opened their quest for the 2010 Stanley Cup with a very strong, even dominate, performance against the Los Angeles Kings. Vancouver was by far the better team 5-on-5 as the Kings rarely sustained any pressure. Special teams were a different story as the Kings scored twice on the power play and were dangerous when they didn't. On to the game notes...

  • Alex Edler was the big story after game 1 and deservedly so. While most of the talk was about the big hits, especially the great one on Doughty, it was the defensive play against Anze Kopitar that was most impressive. Edler stayed right on the talented forward and didn't allow Kopitar to score as Luongo was flopping around like a beached whale. That play may have saved the game for Vancouver.
  • Speaking of Luongo, while he made a huge save in overtime, he didn't exactly do anything to show that his struggles are behind him. While Quick looked confident and inspired his teammates, as soon as the Kings scored Luongo appeared to be fighting the puck again and lost the swagger he was displaying early in the game/pre-game. The second Kings goal wasn't a "bad goal", it developed quickly, it's still one that Luongo should stop. If he can't stop those the Canucks won't be getting out of the second round.
  • What more can you say about the Sedin's? They are superstars in this league and if anyone tells you different... well there an idiot.
  • Andrew Alberts was the one black mark in the Canucks performance. In the last week or so of the season Alberts had finally gotten his game to a point where he wasn't a total liability. However his two dumb penalties resulted in two goals against and were the only reason the Kings were in the game. Hopefully Rome is ready to go tonight.
  • The officiating in game 1 was decent, at least they let them play, however there were numerous non-calls on high sticks, how they didn't see Kopitar's stick through Henrik's visor is mind boggling.
  • Both teams are good in the faceoff department and they split the draws 50-50 in game 1. As the series progresses it will be interesting to see if one team can find an advantage in this department.

Game 2 goes tonight and should be interesting. The Kings were happy with their game on Thursday (at least that's what they were saying), but it will be a short series if they don't make some adjustments (especially breaking out of their own zone).

You have to wonder how much of a factor experience will be for the remainder of the series. In game 1 the Canucks were confident and played with a purpose, while the Kings were often on their heels. No one ever admits it, but for young teams making their first playoff appearance their is often a subconscious feeling of being "happy to be there." Is that a factor in this series? Maybe. The Kings season is already a success, while the Canucks' core has experienced early playoff failures and is hungry to go deep into the playoffs.

Tonight we'll see if the experience of that first playoff game will help the Kings, or if the Canucks are truly the dominant 5-on-5 team...