2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game 1: LA Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
2-3 Final OT
Isn't the score a wee bit of deja vu?
Will Roberto Luongo be the Luongo of old? Excellent and showstopping? Or will Drew Doughty and the Kings steal the show and prove that youth, talent, and skill can go far in the post-season? And there's always the threat of the Sedin line and their potential to make gold out of dirt.
The past couple of regular season games down the stretch, people questioned the ability and quality of goaltending in both cities. The Kings had Quick, who wasn't so quick to jump on his 40th win in the season; we (Vancouver) had Louie who wasn't exactly the most showstopping goalie down the stretch. But in the first 20 minutes, the critics were forced to shut up. Both goalies had an answer to everything and what gaps and cracks in their games that were found before, disappeared before everyone's eyes.
During the epic 14-game road trip, the Canucks had to come from behind multiple times and won the game. Those lessons and skills came in handy as tonight, they had to do just that. As the clock ticked down and it came closer to crunch time, Canucks played with an edge to score, but not enough to lose its defensive edge and get scored on.
With a team like the Canucks, things can get heated easily and quickly. And they did. But just as easily at things got hot, things settled down and play was allowed to assume its dominant position. Second period made its mark with the rivalry and intensity. Words, bodies, and sticks were thrown, and hits were finished and left an impression on the team and the boards.
The youth and inexperience was a huge question mark for the crowns of Hollywood. Opinions were changed during the course of the game, though. We knew LA had very good, young defencemen, but nobody expected them to be this good in the pressure filled playoffs. The defence created offensive plays, and made smart defensive plays. And Johnny Quick was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
But all that wasn't enough to hold back the experienced Canucks. The Canucks came back with shots and great offensive plays, and backed that up with patience, skill, defence, and goaltending. The Kings decided to sit back and push for OT at one point, and that piled up the shots. LA was outshot 44-27, and a tired Quick couldn't hold back the Canucks forever.
I got to give it to LA, though; they were good. I wasn't expecting a lot, but they gave more than what I expected. It was very close to an upset, but that didn't turn out so. Canucks stayed true to themselves and won the game with the same effort and determination only a winning team can bring.
3 stars (official):
1) Mikael Samuelsson
2) Alexander Edler
3) Jonathan Quick
3 stars (mine):
1) Mikael Samuelssson
2) Jonathan Quick
3) Rod Scuderi
This could've gotten ugly fast. Thankfully, it didn't.