To all of you at GM Place, shame on you. Those poor
Winnipeg Phoenix fans last night thought your random "WOO's" were actually mock Coyote howls. As fans we should be sensitive to the feelings of other teams' fan bases, especially the ones that haven't made the playoffs in almost a decade. And rely on visiting teams' vacationing fans for an attendance boost. And are bankrolled by the league. And have 12 less regulation wins than us. But hey, they'll destroy everyone in those post-season shootouts, right?
Phoenix simply got outplayed where it matters the most last night: in net. Roberto Luongo was miles ahead of Ilya Bryzgalov last night, as he showed the focus we have been waiting to see from him since the Olympic break. The Coyotes peppered a lot of shots at Luongo last night, but the D did a great job of keeping them on the perimeter most of the night. A back to basics, lunchpail kind of effort that was needed, and none more so that Andrew Alberts. Quiet, but workman like, he was solid, dished out some hits and was a +1. Most nights, if you don't notice a defenseman, that means he's having a good game. That's exactly what we got from Alberts last night.
What else can you say about Henrik Sedin? A 3 point night, including a short handed marker that was all about not giving up on a play, and at the final horn Hank found himself 3 points up on that guy from the Capitals for the NHL scoring lead. Alex Burrows notched his 35th goal of the season last night. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. Daniel Sedin also scored, moving his point total to 76 in just 58 games. The Canucks also got a goal from Mason Raymond, which stood up as the game winner.
A tough spot for the Canucks coming up as they head down the coast for a back to back battle against the Kings and Ducks, before returning home Sunday against the Wild. 6 games remaining, 3 at home and 3 away. Their 96 points now has them in striking distance of the 2nd place Chicago Blackhawks, who sit 3 points up with a game in hand. Chicago's schedule is similar to the Canucks, apart from a match against the New Jersey Devils. The Hawks have only won 3 of their last 10 contests, and the Canucks managing to catch them is a very realistic thing right now.
Really? You think that goal was legit?
Forget the fact that the Wings got a goal off a pretty favorable review from the War Room, the thing that should anger people is that earlier in the play, the Red Wings broadcast team mentioned that the puck left the playing surface and made the mesh above the glass ripple. This is the kind of thing that should be added to video review. Sure, the chances of this rule coming into play are rare, but how comfortable are you if this scenario decides any playoff game, let alone game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Edmonton, as bloody awful as they've been this season, deserved better than that last night.
Can the Calgary Flames really catch the Colorado Avalanche and jump into that 8th playoff spot? Unlikely, but if there was any team they would be capable of tracking down, a team littered with inexperienced youngsters and a tired goalie certainly fits the bill. If Phoenix beats the Flames tonight, the Canucks will clinch their playoff spot, and are not far from sealing the deal on the Northwest division title as well.