Sunday, March 26, 2006

Three games later, not much change

The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers wrapped up their three game mini series Saturday night at GM Place. It was a fairly good display of what would be some fine playoff hockey should the two teams ever meet up in the post season dance pool.

However the two teams are so close in play and in the standings, the chances of them meeting up for a playoff round are rather remote.

Saturday night it was Edmonton’s turn to claim a victory as the Oilers played a pretty solid road game on the way to the 3-2 victory, and good enough to keep the Canucks from coming back to score the tying goal in the third period.

Dwayne Roloson gave Oiler fans hope for some stability in the Oil net as he kept the Canuck scorers at bay in the third period, benefiting from a few missed nets and some solid clearing from his defensive squad.

For the Canucks it was another positive effort, coming up a little short on the scoreboard. Todd Bertuzzi continued to regain some of his earlier power forward form, though a couple of costly penalties put his team in the hole. For Bertuzzi it seems that sometimes his reputation gets him penalties that others might be able to get away with, his size and power seems to be a magnet for a ref’s arm to go in the air. Conversely when he’s hit, tripped and such the other team seems to get the benefit of a doubt, a situation that must frustrate both Bertuzzi and coach March Crawford.

Saturday night’s game followed the script of the previous match up between the Oilers and the Canucks on Thursday night, a tight two way match that went down to the wire. Thursday night it was a shoot out in overtime, Saturday night we were one re-directed shot away from a similar outcome. Such was the closeness of the play.

The outcome of the three game series is one single point for the Canucks, gained in Thursday nights shoot out, the rest is a split between the two clubs. Both of whom are still in the battle for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

One if not both of them should make the playoffs, which is good. Unfortunately that means a match up with one of the higher echelon squads. And despite the entertainment of the last three games, neither squad is really showing the kind of domination needed to take on the big guns.

The high pace of the action and the physical nature of the play was a complete turn around from the listlessness that both clubs seem to have exhibited in the last three weeks, giving their respective fans a bit of hope for a playoff run. Both teams showed a fair amount of confidence in the last three games, which was a much needed ingredient to their play.

With that confidence both teams should be taking positive points from their last three games. Games that were good enough to not only get them back into the playoff hunt, but perhaps making sure they make it over the hump.

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