The last time I was this anxious for an individual sports event was Super Bowl XL and you know how that turned out. This feels like a team of destiny. They’ve scored 6 goals this series yet they’re 3-2 up. Henrik Sedin has 0 points, the freaking 3rd line has half of the goals (Raffi Torres, Maxime LaPierre, and Jannik Hansen all with one). They’ve arguably been outplayed in this series as a whole and certainly since game 3. And thanks to 4 blowout losses combined against Chicago and Boston they may win the Stanley Cup with a negative goal differential. Here they are, one win away from their first ever Stanley Cup. What a jounrey this has been and I’ll never forget it.
It was only mid-April when the Vancouver Canucks blew a 3-0 series lead to the Chicago Blackhawks and then promptly gave up a shorthanded tying goal in the 3rd period of game 7. But they came through, they didn’t wilt, and Alex Burrows sent them past their nemesis and towards the 2nd round.
Nashville was supposed to provide new challenges for them given their top defensive pairing of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, and for most of the series Vancouver could not solve their goalie Pekka Rinne. Not to fear, despite 2 home losses the Canucks finally ended their 2nd round curse under Alain Vigneault and won all of their road games, including the clinching 2-1 win in game 6 to eliminate the stingy and very tedious Predators.
Against all odds they ended up facing the San Jose Sharks in the WCF in a battle of teams who needed all 4 chances in a 3-0 series lead to put away their opponent. They jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, nearly came back to win game 3, and then in game 4 they stopped San Jose’s power play while blitzing them with a slew of 5-on-3 goals in the 2nd period en route to a 4-2 win at the Shark Tank. All it came down to was game 5, and when it looked like they would once again fail to win their first elimination game, Ryan Kesler’s tip-in with seconds remaining in the 3rd period tied the game at 2-2 and forced a dramatic OT. This wasn’t without controversy though as Vancouver benefitted from a blown icing call prior to their equalizer. San Jose couldn’t complain because they fired over 60 shots on Roberto Luongo and nothing worked in either OT period. The stalemate ensued until Kevin Bieksa, once on the trading block, made a heads-up play to send them to the Stanley Cup Final.
Here we are tonight, 23 games played, one more to go to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. This season has already been a tremendous success but it would be absolutely crushing to lose the series now. I feel like Vancouver has what it takes to win it all regardless of tonight’s result, but I’d really prefer not to have a game 7 heart attack.
Say what you want about their diving, “dirty play”, favorable calls, what have you, the fact of the matter is that Boston has been just as guilty of play-acting and they’ve received some horrendous calls from the officials.
A win tonight or a win on Wednesday would vindicate everything. Roberto Luongo will no longer be known as the man who became a sieve in big games like he did the last two seasons. Alain Vigneault will finally get over the hump. Aaron Rome…..is still Aaron Rome. All of the failures of 1982 and 1994 coupled with the gut-wrenching season-enders against Calgary in 2004 and Chicago in 2009 and 2010 will all be forgotten with one more win.
60 minutes, one win, let’s do this. No trolling, play nice in the comments section, and have fun.