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X's and O's - Stars shine in Game 2

by Jeff Angus / Vancouver Canucks
It didn’t take long for Vancouver and Calgary to renew their once-dormant postseason rivalry, and from top to bottom the Canucks received strong performances from the entire roster on Friday night at Rogers Arena.

The game highlights:

Play #3 – Bo-re Horvat zooms up the ice and through Calgary’s first line of defense

Jonas Hiller’s last second shoulder save was the only reason that Horvat’s incredible display (coming below) of speed and skill wasn’t the top play from Game 2’s victory.

The play starts deep in the Vancouver zone. Horvat grabs the puck and heads back around his own net to gain some speed. His teammates don’t follow to set up the Flying V unfortunately, but Bo doesn’t seem to care.

In less than three seconds, Horvat is almost out of the Vancouver zone. I made the point after his Game 1 performance, but it bears repeating – Horvat has developed into an incredible skater in less than a year. Credit to him, his coaches, and the team trainers.

With an impressive outside-inside move at full speed, Horvat broke through Calgary’s first line of defense in almost no time. This is a move that Jonathan Toews has pulled off many times for the Blackhawks. I try not to be one to make player comparisons, but….

Because he was able to generate so much speed through the neutral zone, Horvat backs off Dennis Wideman enough to get a really solid shot off. Somewhere on the East Coast Pierre McGuire is shouting “GAP CONTROL” at his television.

Just like in Game 1 – Hiller’s shoulder was the only thing standing in the way of a beauty Horvat goal.

Now you see him…

Now you don’t.

Play #2 – This isn’t a broken record… Henrik to Daniel to the back of the net

Vancouver’s first goal of the evening started with Yannick Weber making a breakout pass out of the defensive zone.

This is the first of two very underrated plays that Alex Burrows made on this goal – a short touch pass that gave Henrik a lot of time and space to skate onto the puck.

Calgary probably doesn’t want to have Deryk Engelland out against the Sedin twins too much. Henrik chips the puck past him and quickly turns this play into a 2-on-1.

Daniel apparently spent a lot of time working on his shot before this game.

And it looks like his hard work paid off.

Here’s the second great play made by Burrows on this goal. By taking a direct route to the Calgary goal, he drags the Calgary defenders into the slot and away from Daniel.

Seeing Daniel beat a goalie with a clean 25 footer is a great sign and bodes well for the rest of the series.

Play #1 – Horvat the playmaker

Bo is getting better and better with each passing game. And, speaking of passing… his playmaking ability has shifted from underrated to impressive in no time. At least twice a night Horvat seems to make Sedin-like passes to his linemates.

This goal starts off with a well-timed pinch from Luca Sbisa, who takes a short pass at the blue line and pushes the puck down to Horvat.

Horvat makes a quick turn with the puck, looks off Hiller and two Flames skaters, and fires an incredible cross-zone pass right on the blade of Ronalds Kenins.

Horvat and Kenins have formed quite the dynamic duo this season, and this goal was a great example of the chemistry that they have developed.

Horvat with his arms in the air – just like in Game 1.

Onto Calgary we go.

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