Can Henrik be as successful in the playoffs as he was in the regular season?
(My favourite (and appropriate) song from Mozart l'Opéra Rock, "Vivre à en crever")
First round matchup: LA Kings
The last meeting between these two teams, Vancouver took a 8-3 beating from the Hollywood kings. But that's not gonna happen again.
After clinching a spot, the Canucks spent their nights picking at the little things in their game. Now that those little things have been found, analysed, and fixed, the Canucks should be buckling their seatbelts and filling their gas tanks for the playoffs.
At the end of the night, what the Nucks have over the Kings are their special teams. Vancouver has a 20.9% success rate on the PP and 81.6% on the PK. LA has a 80.3% success rate on their PKs and 20.8% success rate on their PPs. Though it may not seem like a lot of a difference mathamatically, on ice, that's enough to tilt a game. And with Burrows being tied for 1st in the NHL for the most SHGs (5, shared with Marian Hossa), there is always a threat of an offensive attack.
Now the net: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Quick. I'm liking Louie. Albeit for the last few weeks, he hasn't been looking like the Luongo Vancouver (and others) have learned to know and love, but a new kind of Luongo that only the Florida Panthers saw. Yeah, I'm talking about Rookie Luongo.
What will be our downfall will be Luongo. He is our key to success and also the loose rock holding up a mountain. If Lou is not at the top of his game, Vancouver can kiss its chance at the Cup goodbye. But if the Olympics showed us anything, one thing it showed us is that Luongo can be stellar when needed. But he cannot let one bad goal get to him and let in another! If a goal gets to sneak past him, all he has to do is shake it off, and get prepared for the rest of the game!
Even if Luongo isn't ready, there's Andrew Raycroft. He may not win us the cup, but we could possibly make it out of the first round with him in net. Rayzor has proven himself worthy of playing in net, and there shouldn't be a worry if it is him or Luongo in net. Raycroft can win us games, but how far can we go with him in net?
Watching the Canucks year-round, you find things that other's don't get to see. I've seen the top line get interchangeable switched with Burrows or Samuelsson on the wing with the Sedin's. That's an advantage we have that most teams don't. We also got scoring on all 3 lines, and our fourth line can provide some offensive and defensive pressure. Not to mention they can pack a punch! With many players being able to move up and down, if one gets injured within the forwards, their spot will easily be replaced.
Now the defence is a different story. We will not have Willie Mitchell, Vancouver. It's time to accept reality. Yes, I've missed him too, and seeing him would be brilliant. But I wouldn't want Willie in even if he was healthy if he missed a big majority of the regular season. But to make up for Bill Pickle, we've got Christian Ehrhoff! Him, alongside Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa will be leading the defence to shutting down the Kings and their superstars from scoring. It helps that they aren't all on the same pair.
But whose game is amiss? Alex Edler? Eagle Eddie needs to wake up. After a stellar season last year, this year has been sub-par. But his ability on the PP with Sami is brilliant and with those to rocket launchers at the blue, getting some scoring from the D shouldn't be all that too tough. If Edler is caught sleeping, then we better have Lou to bail him out!
Individually, we have the Art Ross Trophy winner with 112 points and every player on the Kings' roster will know that. Finding ways to shut him, his twin, and Burrows/Samuelsson down will be quite difficult for they have something new up their sleeves every shift. And if LA wastes their top D pair shutting down the Sedin line, there's our second line led by Kesler to make them furrow their brows.
Looking at the plus-minus charts, the top 10 are dominated by Canucks and Capitals. So who from Vancouver are on the top 10 of the plus-minus charts? Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Burrows. All 30 boys are prepared to top all those charts, as a team.
The second answer to net: