82 Games Later
It’s taken almost a full year, but finally the Canucks are back in the playoffs as the top seed and ready to take another shot at the Stanley Cup.
With Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks bid goodbye to the regular season and hello to the real season. This is where it gets fun.
Also fun? The Oilers vs. Canucks Love Em/Hate Em.
1. The Prime Minister’s Trophy
The Rangers’ loss to the Capitals earlier on Saturday handed the Canucks a chance to clinch their second straight Presidents’ Trophy by getting at least a point out of the Oilers.
Seeing as how it would most difficult not to beat Edmonton, it’s not surprising the Canucks got the job done. What may be more surprising is that they’re once again the best regular season team despite only playing “well” in December and April.
Also, of the four teams that have won back-to-back President’s Trophies, three went on to win the Cup that year.
2. A Burst of Booth
David Booth had a number o glorious chances as he used his speed to exploit the less talented Oilers blueline and managed to find the back of the net late in the game on the powerplay to effectively ice it.
As Jim Hughson pointed out, it had been a while since Booth’s last goal but bumping the slump should bode well for the playoffs.
It should be interesting as well to see if we see the return of the American Express line on Tuesday.
It was overshadowed by the Presidents’ Trophy, but Roberto Luongo picked up his fifth shutout of the year and 60th of his career in an admittedly quiet night for the Oilers offensively.
The redemption factor for the playoffs is essentially personified by Luongo who must be chomping at the bit for another chance in the postseason.
Statistically he’s been the best playoff goaltender post-lockout, but obviously its been a case where the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
1. Devan Dubynk
The best Oiler on Saturday night was easily Devan Dubynk who made 39 saves to keep the game respectable including a magnificent blocker steal off Chris Higgins who had a wide-open net a split-second before.
It doesn’t bode well for the current suckage of the Oilers if Dubynk brings this level of performance more consistently next year.
2. The Zebras
The defining aspect of this game was probably the reffing who handed down a number of favourable calls and non-calls to the Canucks but also tagged Alex Burrows for a high-sticking call on what was a follow-through.
It was a frightening reminder of how much the Refs can influence the game as we head into the post-season where the rules bend and sometimes disappear.
Darcy Hordichuk continued his run of futility against the Vancouver Canucks by reacting to being hit by Maxim Lapierre by taking a huge run at Ryan Kesler who simply stepped out of the way of the charging bull.
That started a scrum where Ben Eager took an extra two minutes for popping a punch at the outset.
It ended with Hordichuk and Eager in the box doing what they do best. It also sparked a long conversation between the two and Lapierre in the box next to them but also thankfully distracted Eager from once again taking out his frustrations on the penalty box camera.