And Here We Go?
The dawn is always darkest before the night, and true to their word the Vancouver Canucks brought everything they had in Game 4 to stave off elimination.
It didn’t look good when Anze Kopitar opened the scoring, but the Canucks held strong to ensure that was the only goal Los Angeles would enjoy all night.
Let’s get to the Game 4 Canucks vs. Kings Love ‘Em/Hate ‘Em.
1. O Brother There Art Thou
What a difference an Art Ross winner makes. With Daniel Sedin back in the lineup, the Canucks erased most of the offensive problems that had plagued them in the first three games. The powerplay returned, offensive tempo was back, and Henrik Sedin even scored.
Even better, Daniel will get some extended days off to further rest and recuperate in his first game back since the infamous Duncan Keith elbow.
Very few teams have climbed out of the 0-3 hole but very few teams get a league-leading scorer and player’s MVP back between the third and fourth games.
Daniel could just be the shot in the arm this team needs if they’re going to pull of the impossible.
Also, you have to love the twin attack on Dustin Brown. Some fight in the Sedins is never a bad thing.
2. Taking Advantage of the Man Advantage
Crazily, two of the Canucks’ three goals came on the powerplay, the bane of the Canucks existence so far this series. Crazier, one of the goals came from Alex Edler, perhaps the biggest whipping boy thus far after three games.
In fact, Edler’s tying goal was a sea change it could very well be a turning point in the entire series. Team? sparked. Powerplay? sparked. Most important defenceman? sparked.
Even Edler’s roughing penalty in the second period was a sign that he was finally showing enough passion to punch a King in the head.
Something may or may not have happened to the Canucks’ long-term goaltending plans earlier today but all that matters is that Cory Schneider was absolutely amazing in securing the win. His save off Dustin Brown’s third period penalty shot not only prevented a tie game but helped lead to Henrik’s insurance powerplay marker.
He’s just playing unbelievably well right now and it would be a shock to see Schneider not start Game 5. I guess we’ll figure out what that means for Roberto Loungo later.
1. David Who?
David Booth was Alain Vigneault’s last gasp effort to spark life on the top line with the Sedins, and it can’t say it exactly worked. Booth’s post-season has been disappointing for two reasons: first that Mikael Samuelsson is outscoring him in Florida, and second that so much was expected from him to be a player that stepped up during the playoffs.
As it stands, putting pucks past Jonathan Quick is still the biggest hurdle for the Vancouver Canucks and it will take some goals from guys like Booth and Chris Higgins to really give the #reversesweep some legs.
It’s been a long slow slide for Mason Raymond but his attempted bodycheck on Anze Kopitar that directly led to Kopitar opening the scoring was the final eye-opener to help convince you that Raymond should have no place on this team next year.
He just doesn’t seem to fit on any line and shows little sign of developing a useful offensive presence. Unfortunately, he was also one of the better options for the top line when Daniel was out which speaks to perhaps the fatal flaw of this team.
Secondary scoring, perilously just out of reach since 2001.
3. Sunday Is So Far Away
I understand completely that the break between Games 4 and 5 work in the Canucks’ favour to further cool the momentum jets of the LA Kings, but selfishly can’t we do this tomorrow?
This long slow drag is absolute torture and we have only Coldplay to thank for it. (Here’s where I make a bad Kings’ cold play/Coldplay joke.)
But let’s do this now even if revenge is a dish best served cold.
I want my three more wins.
How do you like dem apples? NWSB on Twitter.
I’m Luusing my edge to the kid from Boston who is actually really really nice #sadluongotweets
— Richard Hodges (@prfctsoundforvr) April 18, 2012
— Josh Hall (@vancan19) April 19, 2012
The #Canucks should also play with their leading scorer in the lineup more often.
— Kevin Vanstone (@KevinVanstone) April 19, 2012
— Northwest SportsBeat (@NWSportsBeat) April 19, 2012