2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Western Conference Finals
Game 1: San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks @ Rogers Arena
2-3 Final; Vancouver leads the series 1-0
Paying respects to a powerful hockey in Derek Boogaard, the Canucks and the Sharks set to skate off to become the Western Conference champions. In order to do so, they must win four games and to win those four, it starts with one win.
In typical Vancouver weather, it rained before the game. But when it rains, the skies will clear and the truth will be revealed.
Showing no rust from their five-day break and showing no signs of fatigue from their seven-game series against the Detroit Red Wings, both San Jose and Vancouver came out of this game with some spunk! How much spunk? They barely started on time because Ryan Kesler and Joe Thornton were jarring against each other on the opening face-off! And then the good offensive pressure the two teams applied along with some good cheques just over 2 minutes into the game.
Nearly done the opening twenty, a mishap occurs. The two teams played a good physical game (with both teams finishing their cheques) but a goal was bound to occur. Roberto Luongo left his net once again to play the puck and gave the puck away to none other than Joe Thornton. Luongo was forced to scramble back to his net but was beat by Big Joe who knew just what to do with a gift-wrapped puck.
Getting right back in it, the third line provides production again! Maxim Lapierre got his first of the playoffs with a goal 11 seconds under two minutes with a sliding goal past Antti Niemi's pads to level the score at 1-1!
Placed on their first power-play of the game, Patrick Marleau picked up where he left in the Detroit-San Jose series and tips Dan Boyle's shot from the blue and gets the last touch before the puck fluttered past Luongo.
Just over 7 minutes into the final period of play, Kevin Bieksa jumps on the play! Alex Burrows provided the feed and Bieksa quickly released his snapper and beat Niemi stick-side! A minute and 19 second later, the Canucks take their first lead of the night! Henrik Sedin got just his second goal of the playoffs after finally producing something off of the power-play. The movement of the PP-unit was great causing the Sharks to chase them around and Henrik was just in perfect position to tap that one in past Niemi.
If Game 1 is a good indication of the Western Conference Finals, I think we're going to have some real good hockey on our hands that's much more eventful than the Nashclash series in Round 2. Now it's just SEVEN MORE WINS!
(1) Henrik Sedin
(2) Antti Niemi
(3) Kevin Bieksa