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Putting aside for a moment the result of tonight’s game, despite having already won three games this series, Vancouver played their best game yet and seemed to snatch back momentum from the surging Hawks.

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Let us step back from our book-stealing, cheerleader-tossing, muffler-biting, pool-flipping ways for just one moment and take stock of what we just observed: that was an incredibly exciting hockey game. It was a nail-biting, innard-twisting, heart-pounding thrill ride filled with unexpected plot twists. The Canucks, after two complete no-shows, returned to form and played well enough to win the game; unfortunately, due to a couple puckhandling errors, an unfortunate bounce in overtime, and the posts not counting as part of the net, they didn’t. That shouldn’t take away from the sheer entertainment value of the game, nor should it take away from the excellent play of the Canucks. But it does. It takes everything away. In these few hours since the game ended, I can’t shake the feeling that the game sucked and that the Canucks were terrible. Because I’m a reasonable human being, capable of logical deduction, I can convince myself that such is not the case, but the emotions remain. This game was both exhilarating and excruciating. I watched this game.

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Tonight marks the most important game of this season and likely the most important game of the Mike Gillis era to date.

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The bad news is that the Whitecaps haven’t won since opening day and, on Saturday, suffered their first loss at Empire Field. The good news is that the MLS playoff format is even more forgiving than last year and any team that can put together a decent run of results will soon find themselves back in contention

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