Mike's [Yankee Canuck] Take:
We didn't see the real version of either team in the first game. As playoff fresh meat, 12 Blues and three Canucks had off games but that won't happen again, the butterflies are gone. Both teams were undisciplined with questionable (if not flat out bad) officiating to boot. That should change too.
I'd love to say that Vancouver will come out the more aggressive of the two, pepper Mason with shots and begin wearing down their defense early with the cycle and the hitting. But that won't happen, it's not a Vigneault strategy. Rather they'll play cautious and conservative until the energy levels die off about ten minutes in. Vancouver ended game one with better intensity but will have to bring that for the full sixty tonight. St. Louis should be firing on all cylinders so they can go home with a split series and ready for a Sunday tiebreaker in front of their maniacal home crowd.
Vancouver needs to figure out that the penalty box isn't their friend. I don't really envy their chances since some unnamed forwards do love to occasionally hook for no reason. If they can't stay out of the box, their PK will be put to the test again and will need to be just as strong as they were in the open. But if they can keep their aggression in check and stay 5-on-5 while still owning the physical play, there's no reason this can't go 2-0.
St. Louis needs their energy guys back and their special teams to be flipped to the on position all night. But their main objective will be to figure out Luongo. I don't envy them either: the cap't has given up two goals in his last twelve periods of play. Expect a lot more Notes getting in front and on top of Luongo. Every inch counts.
No time to check the rear view and let St. Louis crawl back into this. Vancouver's motivation should be shift to shift and minute to minute. The chance to tighten the noose around the Blues' neck and force them to play perfect at home is what we want.
Get 'er done guys.
I'm going to disagree a little with Yankee on the Blues' performance in game 1. I thought they put out a great effort but the Canucks clogged up the middle plus Luongo cleaned up the garbage. That's Vigneault hockey, and it works.
If the Canucks can stay a little more disciplined and maintain the same kind of effort as game 1 with the same strategy, I like their chances.
A couple other things: The Blues power play configuration seemed a little messed up to me. The point men were moving the puck around in a triangle formation and had "pinched" in several feet from the blueline. The Canucks stacked all their PK bodies in the center in front of Luongo and both blocked shots and kept the Blues to the outside.
There will be more interference on Luongo tonight, you can bank on that. After the Canucks voiced their displeasure over the face-washes the Blues were giving Luongo they still downplayed it as no big deal. Watch Blues players being more aggressive in front of Lou tonight providing screens. Hey, it worked well for the Canucks didn't it? (Thanks Bernier).
Finally: Get it going, RPM Line. Enough is enough.