Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Canucks are first through to the second round

Alex Burrows is the hero of the moment for the Vancouver Canucks, Burrows provided the winning overtime goal in a game four sweep of the St. Louis Blues and more importantly he secured some all important rest time for a battered and bruised Canucks squad.

The Canucks achieved a franchise first sweep of a playoff round, built mainly on the shoulders of Roberto Luongo, who once again proved to be one of the best in the game with save after save to stymie a stubborn Blues squad that tried their hardest to extend the series and with it their faint hopes of advancing in the playoffs.

The Canucks captain and on ice leader turned aside 47 of 49 shots and settled down the Canucks as they faced numerous visits of the Blues power play, frustrating the St. Louis squad and their fans by shutting the door on any thoughts of denying the Canucks of their round one destiny.

The Canucks were missing a pair of key players with both Mats Sundin and stalwart defenceman Sami Salo on the sidelines, and while they were quick to a two to nothing lead in game four, they would eventually allow St. Louis to dictate the flow of the game, during a seven minute lapse that gave life and energy to the Blues and eliminated a hard fought lead, making the first overtime period of the series a necessity.

Burrows who had scored in regulation time had the hot hand on Tuesday night, almost eliminating the Blues in the first few minutes of the extra period. His rapid fire shot through the five hole in the dying seconds of the first overtime, provided the Canucks with the victory and sent the Blues off to their summer plans, no doubt frustrated at their lack of success in the post season but mindful that a strong foundation is now in place for the franchise and the years ahead.

As beat up as Vancouver was in the series, they still had the more experienced hands on the ice and in the end that experience and a strong work ethic over the majority of the four games proved to be what was required to dash the dreams of the Blues for this year.

With a few days off to come now, the Canucks can take an inventory on the walking wounded, Luongo, Willie Mitchell and Henrik Sedin all seemed in pain at one time or another during the fourth game, providing some nervous moments for the fans back home.

Now as they reap the reward of a quick dismissal of the Blues the Canucks can rest up, get medical attention and refocus on the next round wherever it may take them.

Any questions that the team couldn't handle the rough and tumble of the playoffs were answered over the last four games, the Blues while struggling in the scoring department were full value for the physical nature of the game.

The Sedins, Alexander Burrows and a good portion of the forward lines all took their lumps but kept coming back for more and in the end found that the best way to handle all that physical play was to make the best of the scoring opportunities that come along from them.

Vancouver outscored the Blues 11-5 over the four games, but more importantly stood up to the physical and occasionally rough play of the Blues.

A training session that will come in quite handy in round two whenever and wherever it may get underway.

Vancouver Province-- Canucks take series with overtime win
Vancouver Province-- Burrows bars the Blues
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks beat Blues in overtime, sweeping best-of-seven series
Vancouver Sun-- Party erupts in downtown Vancouver
Vancouver Sun-- Legend of Burrows growing
CBC-- Luongo leaves no doubt
CBC-- Canucks defeat Blues in OT, advance to second round
Globe and Mail-- Sweeping gesture

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