Did you miss the pre game ceremony? Don't worry. I wish I did. Rather than raise the Western Conference Champions banner, the MC whisked through the accomplishments by the team and individuals and then focused most of his attention on the police, medical staff, etc etc that were helping out during / after the riot. While I get that appreciation should be shown, there could have been a different time and place for that. I wanted to see some Rah! Rah! raise the damned banner! Just my opinion. Because...
The Canucks came out slow where the Penguins did not. A completely questionable hooking call on Kevin Bieksa led to a James Neal power play goal...an awkward, bad-angle shot that went through Roberto Luongo'slegs at 5:04. The Canucks don't respond after the goal and continue sleepwalking. Jannik Hansen takes a foolish elbowing penalty, and Matt Cooke scores a power play goal to make it 2-0 at the 12:30 mark, as the PK wasn't being aggressive at all except for Marco Sturm.
A bit of a Canucks response after the 2-0 goal but not what you would expect. Maybe they put Marc-Andre Fleury to sleep, because at 16:20 Maximus Lapierre just put a shot at him from the corner and it trickled through the netminder's legs. A flukey one, but who cares? That was a goal / sweet shift from the 4th line! 2-1! The Canucks finally get their legs after that goal. Within minutes Daniel Sedin almost fools Fleury with a sneaky wraparound. Great glove save. I'm sure the puck in the glove went over the goal line but it was inconclusive to the war room in Toronto. Shots were 10-8 Penguins after 1. Which Canuck stood out? Chris Higgins actually.
The Canucks come out afire in the 2nd and even get a PP chance when Malkin takes a penalty. But all of a sudden Matt Cooke comes in one on one against Kevin Bieksa, uses him as a screen, and wrists one past Lou. Kinda weak. A shorthanded goal. 3-1 Pens.
It should be noted that the Canucks used Henrik Sedin on the point for their first power play. You know he can dish it, but he'll have to shoot it as well.
The shorty against deflated the Canucks and ignited the Penguins for quite some time, Van not coming alive again until about the 11:00 mark. Much more puck possession at that point. After the play had slowed again, from out of the blue Hank makes a pass to a streaking pinching Keith Ballard and wowza! Monster Ballard roofs it to make it 3-2. Beauty! Ballard from Hank and Dank at the 17:47 mark to salvage a drowsy period. Shots in the 2nd: Penguins 11 Canucks 10. Didn't seem like it. Standout Canuck? Chris Higgins. Still. Oh and I thought Alexander Edler was playing pretty bloody physical too.
The Canucks really looked like they got their wheels turning in Period 3. Not many quality scoring chances though until the Sedins-Burrows had a massive shift with about 12 minutes to go. Burrows had drawn a penalty but stuck with the puck on a sick individual effort. The Pens never touched the puck. Brother Daniel did though. He did a little pause and wristed a beauty top shelf. Very nice, Dank! Evgeni had miss a glorious scoring chance just before that goal happened. He missed the net. Haha. Dank from Hank and Sami Salo. The Sedins are each on pace for 164 points.
Maxim Lapierre had a golden chance to score the winner with 6:00 left but missed the net. Nobody in front of him either. Furious action in the last 6:00 of the 3rd period. Pucks almost going in at both ends. Lots more speed to the game. Cody Hodgson almost scored the winner with just under 2:00 left, but the puck rolled through Fleury's legs and just wide of the net. God that would have been a beauty. Shots in the 3rd: Canucks 15 Penguins 6. That's how long it took the Canucks to get going in this one. A solid 3rd period by them.
Canucks were all over the Pitts in OT but couldn't generate many chances or hit the net. Dank had a perfect opportunity to win it after Bieksa pinched in and passed it to him. The puck rolled on him and he shot it wide. Shots in OT: Canucks 2 Penguins 1, but all Canucks puck possession there.
Samuelsson: Shot low and toe save by Fleury.
Letang: makes 10 moves and roofs it backhand on Lou. Wow.
Burrows: does his trademark Burrows backhand but MAF had scouted that.
Malkin to win it: Pretty much mimics Letang, Lou falls forward and Malkin roofs it. Pens win.
I hate shootouts. I hate that Lou sometimes sucks at shootouts.
Ah well. Entertaining last part of the game. We'll take the point, considering the Canucks looked like slugs for most of the game.
MY 3 STARS
1. Daniel Sedin
2. Matt Cooke
3. Chris Higgins