Road Trip #1: Part TWO

Game 9: Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Game 9: Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Stop THREE: The Igloo. A red hot Sidney Crosby was looking to continue his dominance while team mate Marc-Andre Fleury was looking to continue his solid start. The Canucks were looking to continue their great start to their 7 game road trip. This game would also mark the return of Alex Edler to the lineup from his three-game suspension.

This game had some great moments from BOTH sides as the pace went back and forth. In his return Edler scored a beauty of a goal to open the scoring. Not to be outdone the Penguins had their own stars step up to tie this game…do you even have to ask who it was? As he has done all season, Crosby continued his red hot streak with 3 points in the game! The Penguins took over the game by taking a 2-1 lead BUT no lead was safe in this game…as the ever reliable Canuck Richardson scored another CLUTCH goal to tie this game at 2.

Kassian who has been playing impressively since his return from suspension scored his first goal of the season to give the Canucks a lead. If I haven’t already said it…not one lead was safe in this game….late in the third a very talented Penguins rookie Olli Maatta helped Pittsburgh force overtime.

Overtime was not enough to solve this one and we all know what comes after an unresolved overtime: the dreaded shootout. Malkin scored the lone goal in the shootout [& it pains me to say it was quite a goal!]. Despite the loss, this was a great game for the Canucks. Kevin Bieksa factored on every Canucks goal and played one of his best games of the year. At the end of the day two great teams played a team that featured great moments from both sides. What more can the fans ask for?

Game 10: Vancouver Canucks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Game 10: Vancouver Canucks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Stop FOUR: Columbus DAY…or is it? It was almost like watching a Nashville game…it was a tight 1-1 lock and looked like either next goal wins or OT would be needed. Eddie Lack made his second NHL start.

The Blue Jackets got a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining and the Canucks pushed back and NEARLY scored many times…BUT no tying goal could be had.

No tying goal with the clock winding down resulted in my least favourite call of any game: pull the goalie for an extra attacker. Nine times out of ten, it results in an empty net goal…this was one of those times. Columbus won this one 3-1. A disappointing loss BUT that’s how it goes sometimes.

Stop FIVE: A New York State of Mind or so the song goes.

The Islanders were quick to grab a 2-0 lead. It was not the start the Canucks wanted to have and a pattern that has become WAY too common in the first 11 games. The lead would not last as just 16 seconds after coughing up the 2-0 lead…the Canucks began the comeback with a goal from Ryan Kesler. Midway through the first period Daniel Sedin the game 2. This game had high scoring written on it from the beginning.

The second period saw much of the same…the Islanders took the lead back early in the second period. The Canucks thanks to a #sedinery play found this game tied up once more! The Canucks took over the momentum in this game with a LATE goal to take their first lead of the game with a goal from HIGGINS!

The third period seemed to slow a little pace wise with action on both ends of the ice. It seemed like perhaps this game might end in regulation BUT that would have been asking too much. The Islanders pulled their goalie for an extra attacker…and they kept pushing for the tying goal which they got with just 1:12 remaining on the clock. Overtime would be needed.

Overtime was all Canucks…they did not want to have another shootout (& personally I’m glad…I hate shootouts!) The game winning goal came on play started by Bieksa [who was originally credited with the goal] and finished by Brad Richardson. COMEBACK COMPLETE! It may not have been a pretty win but they did come back from trailing 2-0 to win 5-4 and regardless of how it came a WIN is a WIN at the end of the day.

5 games into this road trip the Canucks have posted a respectable 3-1-1 record and will look to build upon that when they close out their road trip with two more stops in New Jersey and St.Louis.

Next Stop: TODAY the team will come face to face once more with Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils. [It looks like Cory has earned top crease time for the moment in the latest goalie controversy].  New Jersey has just one win this season and will not give up two points to the Canucks very easily. Its going to be an interesting game that’s for sure…Vancouver will have to put its best game on the ice if they want to take two points tonight.

#GOCANUCKSGO

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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CLINCHED, 46 down & 2 to go!

Well its official: the Vancouver Canucks have officially clinched a playoff berth. To be honest, the Canucks did not play well against Detroit when they earned the clinching point, but they will take the two points and use these next three games to prepare for the playoffs. They will play a much better game against the Blackhawks.

First order of business, the Canucks will take on the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at home. A single point would clinch the North West Division title [5th in a row & 6th in 7 years], but two points would be so much more satisfactory to take from Chicago [the Blackhawks do not need more points]. No matter what happens in tonight’s game, you can expect that sparks will fly as they always do when these two teams meet each other. It will be high entertainment value as always. Perhaps THIS will be the game that Daniel Sedin surpasses Markus Naslund’s record [as we know it did not happen on the road trip, but it DID tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His assist on Kassian’s goal gives him point #757 & counting as there is still 20 minutes left to play!]

#22!!!!!!!!!!!!CONGRATULATIONS DANIEL!!!!!!!!!!! Now you just have to catch your brother!!! HUGE career moment  for Daniel as he has once again followed his brother’s foot steps! The Canucks are extremely lucky to have these two playing on the team.***UPDATE: 2 points so far makes it 758 & counting heading into the third!!!!]

Other notable moments from tonight so far: Canucks prospect, Frankie Corrado made his NHL debut wearing #26 tonight against the Blackhawks. He is paired with Alex Edler & playing very well! Keep up the strong effort tonight & let’s get those 2 points!!!

The Toronto Maple Leafs also clinched a playoff berth yesterday…for the first time since 2004. Welcome back to the post-season Toronto! In other surprising playoff contending news, the Columbus Blue Jackets are on the cusp of qualifying for the playoffs for just the second time in their franchise history. Columbus sits just one point ahead of Detroit for the 8th spot and has just three games left compared to Detroit’s 4 games to secure their position. In the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders are being led by John Tavares into the playoffs for the first time in 6 years and the New Jersey Devils will not be able to return to the finals as they have been eliminated from playoff contention. Oh and has anyone been paying attention that guy named Ovechkin? He seems to have regained his form….he has been a fun player to watch in this second half as he has taken over the lead for the Rocket!

As of today’s standings the Canucks would play St.Louis in round one, however as we all know that could all change come Sunday. There is just one week left in the regular season and the only thing set in stone is the top two seeds in the league [Chicago & Pittsburgh].

Speaking of playoffs….has anyone seen Chris Higgins and his beard? I think he got started a few weeks early….if the Canucks go into June that beard will have a mind of its own. Now that the playoff positions are being locked down, are there any special playoff traditions you take part in when your team qualifies and has a run of any kind in the post-season?

Back to reality that is the remainder of the regular season, there is still a third period to be played against the Blackhawks[currently the blue & green lead 3-0!!!]. Nothing like a game against the enemy to get the Canucks pumped and primed for the playoffs.

After tonight, the Canucks will take on the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers in their final two regular season games. TWO games is all that remains before the playoff madness begins, ARE YOU READY?

Playoffs, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Canucks Go!!! My favourite time of year is nearly here!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.