Canucks 3 – 2 Sharks (2OT)

On May 24th, 1994, Greg Adams scored in double overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final to take the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. Tonight, exactly 17 years later, Kevin Bieksa did the same. For only the third time in their 40-year history, the Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Final. After winning Round One in 7 games, Round Two in 6, and Round Three in 5, are the Canucks destined to sweep the Eastern Conference Champions? Is this the (Stanley Cup) Final Countdown? 7-6-5-4. It has a nice ring to it. But before we look to the future, let’s reminisce about the past. The recent past. The Canucks just won a hockey game. I watched this game.

  • Some of the people in the crowd seemed to be slightly confused, such as the guy who showed up in a Bruins sweater. At what point did he realize he was at the wrong game? Hey, that’s not Tim Thomas in net. Where’s Lucic? What’s going on?
  • Thank goodness the Sedins are “soft.” Instead of adroitly stick-checking Douglas Murray on the forecheck and forcing a turnover early in the first period, they might have tried for a big hit. If Murray knows how to do anything well, it’s how to take a hit. The Sedins instead combined to softly pick his pocket, then combined for some patented Wizardous Sedinerie to feed Alex Burrows a soft pass for the game’s opening goal. If the Sedins are less soft, that goal doesn’t happen.
  • The Sharks’ tying goal in the second period hurt twice as bad as Ryan Kesler injured himself racing Dan Boyle for a loose puck just prior to Keith Ballard accidentally tipping the puck past Luongo while trying to catch it. Ballard is worse with his glove than Smead Jolley. With the way Luongo was playing, Ballard should know to let that one go. He had an opportunity later to make up for his gaffe with an open net to shoot at, but had his stick checked at the last second.
  • There wasn’t a chance that Kesler would stay in the dressing room in the playoffs. If his leg was too injured, he would have had Mike Burnstein saw it off, tie some sticks together for a makeshift peg leg, and superglue it into a skate. Post-game, Kesler said I’ll play on one leg. I believe him. He’d attach a wheel to it and zip around like Rosey the robot maid.
  • The refs kept their whistles in their pockets for the most part, particularly in overtime, but they did give the Sharks a first period 5-on-3 opportunity. If it wasn’t for Kesler’s goal in the dying seconds on one leg and Bieksa’s double-overtime Bizarro-winner, the story of the game would have been the Canucks killing off this powerplay thanks to some huge saves by Luongo and active sticks in the passing lanes. The Sharks out-shot the Canucks 15-6 in the first period, but just couldn’t beat Luongo. Meanwhile, Niemi gave up 1 goal on 6 shots. But all he does is win.
  • I appreciate that the refs saw fit to let the players decide this game, but considering that Raymond took some major dental damage off an overtime high stick, that might have been a penalty that should have been called. Yes, even in overtime. That said, there were enough controversies that complaining too much about that particular incident seems unnecessary.
  • While the Canucks were badly outshot in this game (56-34), their inability to get the puck on net didn’t help. They missed 23 shots in this game. They missed more shots than the kid who made sure to be “sick” when they had immunization day at school.
  • The Canucks gave up a lot of shots in this game, but they blocked a lot of them too. They had 29 blocked shots, but 21 of those came in the first two periods alone. They were blocking shots like Dwight Howard. They were collapsing toward the net like it was a black hole. The shots that did get through to Luongo were mostly from the outside and Luongo had a clear view on most of them. If there was traffic in front of the net, the shot just wasn’t getting through.
  • The Sedins were absolutely dominant in the offensive zone. When they got the puck, they kept it. And then passed it. And then shot it. Unfortunately, they couldn’t seem to hit the net on any of their dozens of golden opportunities. The Sharks had no response for the Sedins, with their shifts bearing a strong resemblance to powerplays, which was good as the Canucks only got one actual powerplay. How much do you want to bet the refs were told to put away the whistles in this game after the absurdity of the last three?
  • Unfortunately, the Sedin line seemed to be the only line that could get the better of the Sharks. The other three lines spent most of the game chasing in the defensive zone. The 4th line was so spectacularly ineffective that only Victor Oreskovich played over 4 minutes, with 4:18. They were soldered to the bench early in the second period, while the Sharks were able to roll all 4 of their lines. We saw less of the 4th line than we saw of Cory Schneider on CBC after the Sharks scored their 3rd goal in Game 3.
  • In a game where Luongo made 54 saves, including 15 in the first period and 16 in the first overtime period, there will still be some people who will find something to criticize in his game. Such as the Sharks’ second goal, where Luongo leaves his net in an attempt to beat Joe Pavelski to a loose puck. After an unfortunate bounce over Henrik’s stick at the blueline, Luongo has two choices: go for the puck or face a 2-on-0 from the blueline in. Neither is particularly appetizing and I can’t fault Luongo for doing what he did. Pavelski needed to dive for the puck to poke it to Setoguchi: it’s a matter of inches.
  • Also, that’s yet another undeserved minus for the Sedins.
  • It’s a scene that will be replayed endlessly: down 2-1 to the Sharks with 29 seconds left, the injured Ryan Kesler wins the faceoff. After spending the bulk of regulation dominating the offensive zone and getting beautiful scoring chances without actually getting many shots on net, the time for making pretty plays had passed. As Henrik Sedin took the puck on the sideboards in the dying seconds of the third, everyone in BC was screaming at him to shoot the puck. He listened. He threw the puck on net where Kesler, battling both Douglas Murray and his injury, tipped the puck five-hole on Niemi. Kesler’s performance tonight deserves to become legen-wait for it…
  • With the weirdest overtime winner in the playoffs since Patrick Kane scored last year’s Cup-winning goal, Kevin Bieksa sent the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. As the puck took a bizarre ricochet off a stanchion, Bieksa was the only person on the ice who knew where the puck was, slapping a knucklepuck bottom corner. Kenan Thompson would be proud. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t Greg Adams! Greg Adams!, but it still counts.
  • Best suggestion on Twitter: retire the stanchion. Just hang the stanchion from the rafters next to 12, 16, and 19.
  • My favourite part of the gamewinning goal was Burrows immediately swooping in to pick up the puck while everyone else was still wondering what just happened. It’s that kind of alertness and mental acuity that makes him a perfect fit for the Sedins. #Iamonlyhalfjoking
  • Even without the gamewinning goal, Bieksa had an amazing game. He led the Canucks in icetime with 36:40, was on the ice for all three Canucks goals and none against, giving him a +3 rating, and he blocked 3 shots. Alex Edler was almost as impressive, finishing second in icetime, taking 4 shots with another 7 blocked, and blocking 3 shots of his own.
  • Sidenote: we’ve been calling Hamhuis and Bieksa “HamJuice,” but you Arrested Development fans, can call them Hot Ham Water.
  • There’s only one thing left to say, but we may need a few more days to know just how to say it: bring on the Bolts/Bruins.
  • …-dary.
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40 comments

  1. ct
    May 25, 2011

    the wrong video is linked for Burrows’ goal. Not that it wasn’t as epic as the Final Countdown.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 25, 2011

      Thanks for catching that.

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  2. kim r
    May 25, 2011

    Perhaps the refs decided not to call anything in OT after missing the (shouldn’t have been) icing call.

    Nice summary, as always.

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    • C
      May 25, 2011

      I’ve rewatched it a dozen times, and I’m not convinced that it shouldn’t have been icing.

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      • kim r
        May 25, 2011

        I’m not either. Just tossing it out there to try to make sense of some pretty obvious noncalls. That might be the problem there – trying to make sense of the senseless!

        Considering the speed of the play and that 99% of those plays *are* icing, it’s not something that one can blame the refs for. I’d feel the same way if it were against us.

        Tom Larschied (sp?) used to call it puck luck. Glad it went the Canucks’ way.

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  3. TheFalconer
    May 25, 2011

    Watch the replay of the game winning goal again…. but this time, instead of Bieksa – watch Marleau (12) – Bieksa was NOT the only one in the arena that knew where that puck was… Marleau just didn’t react quickly enough.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 25, 2011

      Good point. But it’s not necessarily that Marleau doesn’t react quickly enough, he just doesn’t realize that no one else has seen where the puck went. He’s clearly expecting his goalie to make the save on an easy shot from the point, but doesn’t know that Niemi is looking the wrong direction.

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    • C
      May 25, 2011

      According to Marleau, he had no idea where it was, but Couture did.

      “Someone said it hit one of the stanchions and right to Bieksa, who was looking behind the net thinking it was going to go around the boards,” said Patrick Marleau. “It was a bounce and he got a shot off.

      “I thought the puck was going behind the net and (Logan) Couture was yelling that it was back at the point. I kind of just turned and Bieksa was already shooting it. Everybody else’s head was turned behind the net.”

      Couture, who had an excellent chance of his own earlier in overtime, said he saw the puck but couldn’t get to Bieksa in time.

      “It came up the wall, Patty hit it out of the air … no one saw it,” he said. “I saw it, I followed it, but no one else saw it and I was out of position.

      from http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=563717

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  4. Erik
    May 25, 2011

    I still can’t believe that the Canucks are in the finals. I’m not sure I’ll believe it even tomorrow, despite all the game analysis videos and articles I’ve been reading.

    And out of the two or three hours I’ve been poring over material about the game, it’s the IWTG that I’ve been looking forward to the most. Good job guys!

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    • Erik
      May 25, 2011

      Addendum: I may have to get a Juice jersey now. I need advice: do I get a 40th Anniversary jersey, or a third jersey with the stick-in-rink logo?

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      • annie
        May 25, 2011

        What do you have in the way of others? Unless you don’t have a home blue, I say 40th. The sleeve vees are, to quote a young Francophone winger of our acquaintance, siiiiiiick. I like the old-style skinny logos, too. Two-colour collar, double blue stripes at the wrist…pretty nice lookin’.

        On the other hand, if you actually want Bieksa’s name on it…

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        • Erik
          May 25, 2011

          I have a Trevor Linden alternate jersey that was worn from 01 to 06 (the ones with the red/blue fade and the silver trim)

          My debate kind of boils down to getting a collector’s item or not. I suppose if I got a 40th anniversary jersey, I wouldn’t have to get a crested one. And if I did, I wouldn’t get it with a nameplate. IMO, I consider nameplates on those jerseys as jersey fouls.

          I’m also kind of particular who I pick to represent with a jersey. I try to go with players who mean a lot to the organisation and have been around for a while, hence Linden is a given. Although Bieksa is UFA next season, I think he’ll be brought back.

          As much as I’m trying to decide what jersey to get for myself, let’s open it up for a broader discussion. People!: what sort of jerseys do you get, and why!?

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  5. DaGawdfadda
    May 25, 2011

    I’ve watched the Versus replay a bunch of times and until someone shows me differently the puck hits the stanchion and misses Sedin. If it had brushed him it would have fluttered and it didnt.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 25, 2011

      Hrm…you might be right about that. Re-watching it now, it does look like it changes direction before it gets to Sedin.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        May 25, 2011

        I say who cares to the whole icing storyline. Dan Boyle winds up and slaps the puck with all his might. What did he think was going to happen there? Even if Daniel touched the puck, it’s not like he made it go the length of the ice. Boyle did that with a bone-headed power clear.

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      • Schneider's Teeth
        May 25, 2011

        To me, it looked like it WAS fluttering, hit Daniel in the shoulder, and then settled down.

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    • damirk
      May 25, 2011

      Was it the same stanchion?

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 25, 2011

        I’m pretty sure it was. #retirethestanchion

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  6. annie
    May 25, 2011

    Anyone else feel Pavelski might be a bit at fault on the gwg? He throws an arm up in the air like it’s out of play, and everyone sort of stops for a second. I mean, obviously, everyone’s stopping anyway to look for the puck, but I think if you’re the goaltender and you’ve lost sight of the puck, you’re taking cues from the guys in front of you, and if one of them starts yelling “out” it can’t be helpful.

    Re:icing: pretty sure it hits the stanchion, then Daniel, but I agree that’s kind of a stupid thing to worry about. I’ve thought icing/offsides were pretty weakly called all series, maybe it’s just me.

    A short note on confirmation bias: in the same way that I lost what respect I had for a bunch of the Hawks during that series, my already considerable respect for the Sharks has just increased. Thornton and Marleau were incredible. Niemi was not brilliant, but he was solid and most of the goals he let in were not on him (his stats got hammered by the game two Eagerfest, but without that, they were okay.) They’re a great team with a great fanbase and I would really love to see them win a Cup someday.

    ps. mason raymond’s broken teeth are totally hot you guys.
    pps. someone give logan couture a hug, he sounds like a disaster witness.
    ppps. woooooooooooo

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  7. invisibleairwaves
    May 25, 2011

    The true impact of this game hasn’t really sunk in for me yet, so I really only have a bit of a side note to offer here: did anyone else think that Tanev had a fantastic game? I know it’s usually a good thing when he’s completely unnoticeable, but he was definitely noticeable tonight and only for good reasons.

    Seems like an odd thing to bring up, all things considered, but like I said, I’m still reeling from this game. Downtown was insane tonight. If the gold-medal game last year was a 10, this was a 9.5.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 25, 2011

      I agree re: Tanev. I was going to add yet another bullet point to the IWTG, but it was already getting pretty long…

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      • LexieJovanovski
        May 25, 2011

        To be fair, the game was pretty long, too, so it’s only fitting to have a matching IWTG!

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      • kim r
        May 25, 2011

        Doubt if anyone is going to complain about more points in a IWTG column. ;)

        Agree on Tanev. Whoever scouted him deserves props.

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    • annie
      May 25, 2011

      I thought he made a mistake or two – some of which were probably more on Hips – but he recovered supremely well. There was one play where he overskated and fell, but still managed to play the puck? That, to me, is much better than making no mistakes at all. If a hockey player’s solid play is the result of him making no mistakes, he’s either semi-divine, or he’s going to regress. Scott Niedermayer and Nick Lidstrom make mistakes. It’s the recovery that’s important.

      I agree that he had a wonderful game, though.

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  8. Bill Barilko
    May 25, 2011

    Trade Luongo!!!

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  9. J21
    May 25, 2011

    Who else is totally relieved that the Rapture didn’t happen over the weekend?

    It’s the playoffs, Harold Camping!

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  10. jenny wren
    May 25, 2011

    Vancouver Tuesday for game five
    Sharks hoped to keep their hopes alive
    But Burrows scored from Dank and Hank
    (Sharks needed two back in the tank)

    Then Hank got two (they called a hook
    A bogus call on second look)
    And Kessler slashed a stick in two
    But all six shots were stopped by Lou

    As time went on the Sharks scored twice
    (You make mistakes you pay the price)
    Then the Sedin and Kessler show
    As Ryan scored fourteen to go

    A bizarre bounce to number three
    A lucky break all will agree
    (Mayhap this win was meant to be)
    The Nucks the victors in OT

    Jenny Wren

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  11. cardinal sin
    May 25, 2011

    Lord Stanley’s Cup is not won yet
    I tell you this lest you forget
    A lucky bounce* or bogus call**
    And someone else could win it all

    **Like the icing that really wasn’t
    If it’s not called then Ryan doesn’t
    *One like that crazy ricochet
    That spelled the end for San Jose

    I trust now having beat the Sharks
    You will forgive my rude remarks
    Leading to “low comment rating”
    Because your fans was I baiting

    For I do hope you’re all the way
    Your having won the West today

    Cardinal Sin

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  12. adrock
    May 25, 2011

    I thought the icing call was all stanchion as well, but I watched it in slow mo on my pvr a few times and I think it hits Daniel as well.
    I agree with Annie somewhat, jumbo Joe and marleau were awesome this series. I was a little disappointed in a few of the sharks that I used to really like, boyle and clowe especially. It seemed neither were willing to man up after a loss and admit they might need to step it up, instead just finding anything they could to bitch about. I was almost expecting one of them to state they just hadn’t exposed us for what we are yet.

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    • annie
      May 25, 2011

      Well, Clowe running his mouth was disappointing, but it gave Lapierre the chance to take the high ground and show off that beatific smile, so I’m not complaining. He’s a saint*, our Maxxie. And Clowe’s that kind of guy, I’ve always thought – intensely loyal to his own team, not a lot of respect for the enemy. There’s a place for that, and there’s probably Canucks I’d describe the same way.

      I was also extremely impressed with how Couture handled the media: if you didn’t know, and if Jumbo and Paddy weren’t also very pulled together, you could have mistaken him for the captain. I’d kind of mentally bundled him in with “disrespectful” high-scoring rookies, but having watched and listened to him properly I think he’s gonna be the backbone of a team someday. He’s still young, but you can see the respect he has for the game and the players, even on the other bench.

      *or possibly a demon.

      Also, how about Heatley? If he’s not hurt, wow. I mean. He didn’t look lazy, he looked clinically depressed.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 25, 2011

        I thought Heatley played his best game of the series last night. He had 6 shots on net, 3 hits, and was pretty responsible defensively. If it wasn’t the end of the series, I would say that he’s primed to break out of his slump.

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        • annie
          May 25, 2011

          Oh, for sure he did, by a long shot. But for most of the playoffs – not just this series – he was just not present. I hope it doesn’t become a Media Thing, I hope he doesn’t take over Joe’s (undeserved) role as “playoff choker” – I’m not the biggest fan of the guy, but I can pretty much guarantee that he’s in a bad spot mentally right now, and that sucks. Dany Heatley I hope you work out whatever your thing is in a way that is safe.

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  13. Thalia
    May 25, 2011

    I find it difficult to blame Ballard for the tying goal, at least not from the views of it they showed on Verses. Yeah, he batted at it it, but Lu still had the puck after that. It was Marleau’s redirect that got it past Lu. But I agree with the fact that Lu probably would have gloved or smothered the shot had it just gone straight to him.

    It was midnight here when we won and I started screaming so loud I woke up the people above me. [:

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  14. caj
    May 25, 2011

    Can you guys do another video commentary on the win/the series/the many story-lines/anything. We’re already running out of post-game videos to watch, botchford and skeletor have done theirs and theres only so many times i can watch couture tear up (ok thats a lie).

    sweatervests! commentary! bring it back!

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  15. DanD
    May 25, 2011

    “What can we put on the chicken?”

    “I have the water that we boiled the chicken in.”

    “Well, that should go well with chicken!”

    I love Arrested Development. And I love the Canucks! Woooooo!

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  16. Alex
    May 25, 2011

    From your fourth point, you make it sound like Kesler is tough and not a diving, whining, gutless puke?

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  17. Shantini
    May 25, 2011

    Hot Ham Water is one of my favourite Arrested Development moments of all time.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 25, 2011

      I love Tony Hale’s line-read on “But there’s a smack of ham to it.”

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  18. J21
    May 25, 2011

    Also, any mention of how easily Patrick Marleau could have iced this game if he had noticed that the Canucks’ net was empty? Remember, he dumped it into the corner because he didn’t realize… in hindsight, HUGE mistake.

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  19. Meph
    May 25, 2011

    Anyone else notice Luongo losing his stick during the celebration?

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