You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 3-2 overtime win over Los Angeles in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.
…Mikael Samuelsson scored his second goal of the game beating Jonathan Quick from the slot 8:52 into overtime as the Canucks opened their quest for the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 win over the Kings.
Vancouver began the 2009-10 playoffs with a dominating opening period that had the home side outshoot Los Angeles 17-6. Despite not scoring, the Canucks frequented the Kings end; Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond each looked sharp tallying three shots apiece.
Goal scoring played out as the story of the middle frame and the fireworks began a mere 54 seconds in when Jarret Stoll put LA up 1-0 with a power play goal. Vancouver was quick to even the score at 1-1 with Samuelsson putting a rebound past Jonathan Quick on the power play.
Daniel Sedin pushed the Canucks ahead 2-1 before the period was 10 minutes old; he took a crisp pass from Henrik and went to his backhand from in tight on Quick before rooing the puck. Vintage Sedin.
The Kings snapped back, again on the power play, with Fredrik Modin completing a swift tic-tac-toe as he put the puck five-hole on Roberto Luongo.
The third period settled nothing, despite Vancouver outshooting Los Angeles 13-2.
The Canucks had a pair of great scoring chances, one a Samuelsson shot that zinged just wide right of the goal, the other a Burrows and H.Sedin 2-on-1 where Quick made a lunging glove save.
Samuelsson made the most of Vancouver’s next chance as he one-timed a pass from Henrik, who came ripping out from behind the LA goal, past Quick to give the Canucks a 1-0 series lead.
The Canucks, competing in the post-season for the 23rd time in franchise history, are now 11-12-0 in the first game played at home in the first round, they’ve won their last five games to start a series as the higher seeded team.
Mikael Samuelsson did precisely was he was brought to Vancouver to do.
The former Detroit Red Wings forward, who set new career-highs in goals (30) and points (53) this season, was a menace to the Kings all night with a team-high seven shots, two of which eluded Quick for goals.
Samuelsson brings more than offence to the line-up as he’s one of five Canucks with at least 50 games of NHL experience. He leads the pack 70 games played, including Game 1, having collected 37 points over that stretch (15-22-35). The Swedish forward, with five career playoff game-winners to his name, is one of two Canucks to have hoisted the Cup, he won it in 2008 with Detroit.
”I thought he played a strong game, he got some quality chances obviously, he scored a big goal and hopefully that experience and that seizing the moment is going to rub off on some other guys also on our team,” Alain Vigneault said.
Alex Edler flew out of the gates and was having a great game even before it was required of him.
Edler helped Vancouver set an early physical tone with three hits in the opening 20 minutes, his play intensified when Andrew Alberts was ejected from the game 11 minutes into the second.
Hits became Edler’s calling card as he dished out a game-high six; the defenceman, who clocked 27:10 of ice time, finished the regular season with 84 hits in 76 games, good for 244th in the NHL.
Drew Doughty can attest to Edler’s physicality as he was the victim of a mean shoulder that sent him sprawling to the ice late in the third period.
”I thought Alex Edler tonight had a real strong game, one of his best at both ends of the rink this year and that’s what teams have to do in playoffs, you’ve got to get better every game,” said Coach V.
Roberto Luongo has made some defying saves over the years, but his stop six minutes into overtime may stand as the best of them all.
Luongo stood tall on Ryan Smyth’s point shot before the rebound hit Jack Johnson in the leg and fluttered towards the goal line with speed.
Already stretching to his right in an attempt to the thwart the shot, Luongo rolled onto his stomach and flung his glove towards the goal line to swipe the puck out of harm’s way.
You have to see it to believe it.
Vancouver’s already hurting defence was put to the test when Andrew Alberts was assessed a five-minute boarding major and 10-minute misconduct for a hit on Brad Richardson deep in the Canucks zone.
Losing Alberts for the final half of the game forced Alex Edler, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff and Shane O’Brien to pick up more minutes, Ehrhoff finished on top with a game-high 30:35 and each blueliner was over 24 minutes except O’Brien.
The defence limited Los Angeles to 27 shots, while Vancouver as a team blocked 13 attempts, nine coming from the back end. Ehrhoff and Salo both picked up assists and finished a plus-1.
Roberto Luongo on his overtime save and what a defining stop like that can do for a team:
”When I made the initial save on Smythe, the puck kind of came up in the guy’s leg and when I moved across I knew I got a piece of it, but not all of it, and as I looked back it was coming right on the line there. I was able to stay with it and swipe it off there.
”It was definitely going in, but once I swiped it off the line I knew it hadn’t crossed and it was nice.
”I think Quick made a few minutes earlier on the 2-on-1 against Hank and those are things that happen and like I said, no matter what the situation is in a game, we’ve got to stay composed and even keel. He made a big save for them, they came back, I made a big save and obviously we go the big goal by Sammy right after.”
The Canucks and Kings will both practice Friday before facing off Saturday in Game 2 of the best-of-seven first round series.
Including the regular season, Vancouver now leads the season series 4-1 having outscored LA 14-13.