Saturday, April 28, 2007

Canucks earn well deserved victory

It was a result that not only seems fair, but gives hope to any team that plays the game. Hard work and guts will in the end provide you with a favourable result. For the fourth time thus far in the 2007 playoff season, the Canucks took a game into overtime, another double OT affair that showcased Roberto Luongo’s talents and left Duck fans silent.

The Vancouver Canucks evened up their best of seven playoff series with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, thanks mainly to a never say die attitude and an ability to keep the pressure on the Ducks even as the roster looked ready to add more names to the injury list.

Vancouver came out flying much as they did two nights ago, the only difference is that they kept that pace for all of the sixty minutes of regulation time, and while the pace slowed a bit into the second overtime period, they still managed to keep pressure on the Ducks and collect the victory.

Roberto Luongo and J S Giguere battled hard through the four and a half periods of play, staving off attacks, making amazing saves and suffering the bashes of opposing forwards straying top close to that blue paint.

In the end it was an ugly little goal that settled the game, a redirection at 7:42 of the second overtime by Jeff Cowan of a Trevor Linden pass that deflected off of Giguere’s skate and into the net. Considering some of the earlier opportunities that the Canucks had and the ones that Giguere turned away, it must have been a relief for the Canucks to finally sneak one by the Duck goaltender.

Game Two showcased the Canucks as their fans remembered from earlier this year, an attacking squad that created many chances to score and began to hit again in the corners, creating turnovers and opportunity.

After Game one, many had already conceded the series to the Ducks, Friday night the Canucks provided an answer that maybe they’ll play out the series anyways just for fun.

It was a gut check for Vancouver, already down by two defencemen; Alain Vigneault must have had his heart in his throat when Willie Mitchell appeared to twist his knee in the second period. Mitchell went under the stands to walk out the problem, and while it’s suspected he wasn’t playing at full potential, he did return to the ice and played a pivotal role in the Canucks battle for the win.

Once again though, it was the goaltending of Roberto Luongo that provided the Canucks with the platform to take the win. He held off waves of attacks from the Ducks and suffered more than a few skate bys that the Ducks used to try to knock him off his game.

It didn’t work out for them however, as Luongo stymied many Ducks over the course of the night.

The win for Vancouver should do much in changing the momentum of this series towards them, in what seemed like an impossible situation, they kept to their team approach, the fourth liners contributing as much as the first line, a patchwork defensive corp, playing for their lives and sending a message to the Ducks that any thoughts of a four game sweep just weren’t on.

Game Three in Vancouver should be much of the same, two teams trying to build on previous success; Vancouver’s a little more recent and much more dramatic.

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