While Roberto Luongo played very well through the first two games of the series and wasn’t to blame for either loss, you had to know he wasn’t happy about giving up three goals in each game and particularly one in the final minute in game two to send it to overtime. You had to know that he would go into game three hungry to improve upon his performance.
He absolutely succeeded, shutting out the Sharks, looking as confident and collected as ever. He finished with 10 saves and…wait. 10 saves? That can’t be right. Surely the Sharks weren’t held to just 10 shots in a playoff game. And what’s this about the Sharks being up 3-0 in the series? Something’s not right here.
Oh. Luongo didn’t start. I swear, I was paying attention when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
One day while growing up on my parents’ farm, I was playing outside with a couple friends. It was summer and were having a water fight, running through the fields. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was laughing. Life could not have been better.
Then I ran full-speed, directly into an electric fence along the cattle run. It hit me directly in the gut, simultaneously taking my feet out from under me and shocking me. Normally when you get shocked by an electric fence, you pull away immediately. Since I was running, I couldn’t pull away from the wire. Also, I was wet from the water fight. I went from joyful laughing to dry heaving in an instant. It felt like I had been punched in the gut and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get enough oxygen in my lungs.
The end of this game was like an electric wire to the gut of the Canucks, except it wasn’t a fence built for cows — it was one of the fences from Jurassic Park. I needed Dr. Alan Grant to perform CPR after I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The playoffs didn’t exactly open the way that the Canucks hoped they would. What they wanted, and what most in Vancouver wanted, I think, was for the Canucks to kick off the 2013 postseason with 16 consecutive wins. Instead, they started with one loss, meaning it will take them 17 games at least to win the Stanley Cup. Nuts. So close.
What went wrong in this one? Nothing whatsoever, if you completely discount the 3rd period, where everything went wrong. If the game were 20 minutes (and it started after a 20 minute warm-up period) the Canucks win this game. Unfortunately, playing 60 minutes is one of the rules of NHL hockey — even in the playoffs, when a bunch of other rules are abandoned — so the Canucks lost this game. And I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
In the wild, orca whales tend to kill and eat sharks, including great white sharks. In the battle of Free Willy versus Jaws, Willy would win.
On the ice, however, it’s a lot tougher to call. The Vancouver Canucks will face the San Jose Sharks in round one of the playoffs, with the first game starting in just a couple hours. Normally, this is when we’d look at the season series to see how the two teams match up, but the season series isn’t particularly useful this time around.
Sure, the Sharks won all three of their meetings this season, but those games came before Derek Roy and Ryan Kesler were in the lineup and only one of those games featured the Sharks’ Brent Burns at forward, where he’s excelled. Also, Cory Schneider started all three of those games and he won’t be in net for game one of the playoffs, with Roberto Luongo slated to start with Schneider our due to injury.
The two teams have changed significantly throughout the season, with the Sharks shedding multiple players before the trade deadline and the Canucks continually rotating injured players in and out of the lineup. So, what can we expect from these two teams? How do they matchup? Let’s break it down as best we can:Continue Reading —›
With their loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, the Sharks close out the 2013 season as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. This means a first-round playoff date with the third seed, your Vancouver Canucks.
We’ll have plenty of coverage leading up to this series (as well as during it), just as we always do, but for tonight, we would simply like to remind you of something.
This post originally appeared on May 13, 2011, in advance of the Canucks’ Western Conference Final series versus the Sharks two years ago. It was true then and it’s true now: the San Jose Sharks are bad.Continue Reading —›
With 8 games remaining in the regular season, it seems fairly certain that the Canucks will once again win the Northwest division. The Canucks are trending in the right direction with the addition of Derek Roy and the return of Ryan Kesler and are now six points up on the second place Minnesota Wild, who have lost four of their last five games.
Since the Canucks aren’t likely to catch the Anaheim Ducks, who are seven points ahead, in the standings, the Canucks will finish as the third seed in the Western Conference and face the sixth seed in the first round of the playoffs. At this point, any one of six teams could finish sixth in the West: the Kings, Sharks, Blues, Wild, Red Wings, and Coyotes, with the outside possibility of the Stars or Blue Jackets.
So, which of those teams would the Canucks rather play in the first round? Who would they rather avoid?Continue Reading —›
The best thing that can be said about this game is that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. Like their game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, the Canucks got soundly outplayed by the San Jose Sharks and similarly succumbed to their opposition thanks to a flurry of goals in a short period of time.
Unlike their game against the Oilers, however, the Canucks actually showed some gumption, battling back by creating scoring chances, scoring goals, and coming just short of tying the game in the final minutes. Thanks to that, it was a lot more enjoyable when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks beat the Ducks on Friday, despite getting outplayed at even-strength, by essentially being jerks: they earned powerplays and cashed in with the man-advantage. You could tell right off the opening puck drop, or rather, before the opening puck drop, that they were going to try to do the same thing against the Sharks.
It half-worked: the Canucks did get outplayed at even-strength. Unfortunately, the powerplay floundered, fizzled, sputtered, and misfired, getting only 7 shots on 7 opportunities and Cory Schneider couldn’t bail the team out fast enough when the defence shot holes in the boat. I watched their gameplan fall apart when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
It’s amazing what a three-day break between games will do for a hockey team. For the first time in a while, the Canucks actually looked fresh to start the game. At even-strength, the Canucks dominated possession and out-scored the Sharks 4-1. Unfortunately, the referees called some penalties and Logan Couture plays for the Sharks, scoring a shorthanded and a powerplay goal to keep the game close.
The Canucks at even-strength and special teams were like two different teams playing two different games. I watched both of them when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
While the Canucks were outplayed for large portions of this game, you have to keep one thing in mind: 4 days ago, the Canucks were in San Jose defeating the Sharks in a tough overtime game. In between, they had two more games. The Sharks had none. The Sharks were fresher than a perfectly cleaned kitchen where someone is brewing mint tea. The Canucks, on the other hand, just sprayed Febreze everywhere and hoped for the best. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
When the NHL announced their plans for realignment, some people (namely us) bemoaned the loss of games against the Chicago Blackhawks, which are always full of emotion and skill. The upshot is that the we’ll get more games between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, which are always a highlight of the schedule.
Quite frankly, it would have been disappointing if the Sharks didn’t tie up this game and force it into overtime. Otherwise it would have been just another ho-hum Canucks victory and I would have fallen asleep trying to write about it afterwards. Instead, I’m wide awake because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Part of me wonders if the Canucks decided to only dress the Sedins for one game out of the seven preseason contests they’ve played so far in an attempt to make us miss them. At the end of last season, all Canuck fans could do was grumble about the twins, but after being reminded Wednesday night of how much better they are than anyone else on the team, another game without them was an exercise in dull pain. The Sedinless Canuck team dressed for the penultimate preseason game was about as threatening as a kitten in a felt hat, and nowhere near as adorable.
I ask you, is there anything worse than the realization that you just sat through a three-hour preseason shutout? No. There is only shame, and I feel this shame, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
After being frustrated about playing in a game with such an obvious talent disparity, Cory Schneider commented that, despite suffering a minor hip strain during the game, he “didn’t want to put Eddie in that situation”. Unfortunately, Despite Schneider’s best efforts, Eddie Lack ended up in exactly that situation. The Canucks once again iced a lineup devoid of NHL talent, this time against a Sharks lineup that included Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, and Douglas Murray, along with an assortment of other NHL talent.
Surprisingly, then, Eddie Lack managed to keep things close despite some early struggles and this version of the Canucks competed hard and came just short against the star-studded Sharks. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Like “Henry the 8th”, it’s second verse, same as the first. Once again we find ourselves nearing the end of the NHL offseason with no contract for Kyle Wellwood in sight. This season it is even more inexplicable than last season. Long time Bulies will remember my impassioned defense of Kyle Wellwood’s defensive abilities after the 2009-10 season, pointing out that he led the entire NHL in the admittedly oddball statistic of Ratio of Goals Against to Total Time on Ice. To put it simply: when Kyle Wellwood was on the ice in that season, the opposition didn’t score. At least, not very often.
Instead of other NHL teams noticing his surprising defensive responsibility, the epic saga of Wellwood’s World happened, as Welly signed in the KHL, saw the coach who had him signed fired and replaced, rode the bench, was released from his KHL contract, had a baby, signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues, was picked up off re-entry waivers by the San Jose Sharks, and made it to the Western Conference Final, where he was eliminated by his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. It was a crazy, crazy year for the easy-going Wellwood, and likely one he doesn’t want to repeat.Continue Reading —›
Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday. This week, Qris talks about boredom, experience, and the fact that Dave Nonis’s signature is no longer on any of Mike Gillis’s contracts.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
Following a tough loss to the Sharks on Friday, the Canucks played this game like they had a lot to prove. After giving up 5 goals on their first five penalty kills in the series, they made sure to take five straight penalties just to prove that they could kill them. Having struggled on 5-on-3 powerplays all season and failing to score on two on Friday, they slyly goaded the Sharks into three such situations just to prove that they could take advantage of them. And finally, to avoid any accusations that they were only winning because the Sharks were choking in the third period, they wanted to prove that they could win a game despite being outscored in the final frame. I, too, had something to prove: could I watch this game? Yes. Yes, I could. It wasn’t that difficult. I’m not even sure why I questioned myself. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Coming into tonight’s game, the Canucks had given the media very little about which to criticize them. If you were splitting hairs (and some did), you could suggest their penalty killing, 0-for-3 at that point, was subpar, but even that was a petty gripe. After all, it was a pretty small sample size, right? It’s not like they had given up five straight powerplay goals in the series or something. Mind you, then they did. And before you could say, “On second thought, I would prefer the majority of this game be played at even-strength,” they were down by two on powerplay goals by Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe. The Sharks would never relinquish the lead, although this might have had something to do with the fact that there was a Canuck in the penalty box for over half the match (32 PIM). Like the Canucks’ fifth man, I watched this game:Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’, (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a new feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because after a game like last night’s there are lots of things to find and colour. While we covered most of them in the I Watched This Game post, Daniel would have been writing for six more hours if he tried to hit absolutely everything. Here are a few more topics that deserve mention.Continue Reading —›
Like Richard Loney sprinting through the Star Spangled Banner, the Sharks came out flying tonight. Not literally, of course, as flying sharks would be absolutely terrifying, but metaphorically. After an initial push by the Canucks, an early penalty gave the Sharks a chance to find their feet (sharks with feet would also be terrifying), getting a powerplay goal and hitting a post on a near-open net shortly after. Unfortunately for them, that increased speed and intensity barely matched where the Canucks already were. The Canucks responded by becoming even faster and more intense. And while it is tempting to make this game all about Ben Eager’s lack of discipline that then spread to the rest of his team, that would do a disservice to how the Canucks outplayed the Sharks throughout the entire game. Yes, the score became awfully silly once the Sharks began parading to the penalty box (sharks on parade being the most terrifying mental image yet), but the Canucks earned the victory by being the better team, not just by taking advantage of the Sharks’ silliness. I should know: I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
In these playoffs, the San Jose Sharks have been outscored 15 to 11 in the third period and have made a habit of giving up third period leads, the most recent being game 1 against the Vancouver Canucks. This tendency became an issue in the second round as they nearly gave up a 3-0 series lead to the Detroit Red Wings. Two of Detroit’s three victories saw the Wings overcome a third period deficit to win the game. There was an additional scare in game 7, as the Sharks almost let a two-goal third period lead slip away.
Now, after the Canucks scored two goals in the third period of game 1, there is a serious concern that the Sharks may not have the conditioning necessary to succeed in the playoffs. The reason given by some for the Sharks inability to close out games is that the Sharks simply get too tired and worn out and have nothing left for the third period.
It’s hogwash.Continue Reading —›
By now, you’ve likely heard tale of the greatest fight that never happened, when Ryan Kesler refused Joe Thornton’s challenge to drop the gloves just prior to puck drop in Sunday’s Western Conference Final opener. It’s quite the story, especially since it’s somewhat unbelievable: Kesler’s never been known to back down from a fight, and Thornton’s never been that eager to get into one. The roles Thornton and Kesler claim to have played in this exchange seem relatively out of character for both.
But “Out of character” is the central phrase here. Both guys have worked tirelessly to remodel reputations as players who disappear in the playoffs, seemingly due to wholly opposite character flaws. Thornton, famously focused but dispassionate, has been hard at work to turn up the emotion in this postseason. Kesler, famously passionate but unfocused, is committed to a newfound composure. Now, one of them is on his way to his first ever Stanley Cup Final, and the victor will be the one that stays true to his new self.Continue Reading —›
Almost every playoff-bound team makes minor moves and trades throughout the season, with the most significant usually made in the time leading up to the trade deadline. Each time looks to add that one missing piece that will push the team over the top. Each of the four teams remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs made some significant mid-season moves that have helped carry the team to this point in the playoffs, but which GM improved their team the most?Continue Reading —›
For many, the big story of Game 1 will be the return of the Sedins, who broke out in a big way, leading the Canucks to a third period comeback with two huge goals. It’s true — this was a big deal. That said, I’m more excited about the return of something else: blown coverage. Defensive lapses! Odd-man rushes! Sweet, sweet space! After the Nashville series, which was tighter than a hipster’s trousers, I had forgotten how much fun it could to be to watch the Canucks versus a team that can blow an assignment. It’s downright refreshing. All three Vancouver goals tonight came off defensive errors, one on each San Jose D-pairing’s watch. Oh, and speaking of watches, I watched this game:Continue Reading —›
The Sharks post-season story bears a strong similarity to that of the Canucks, simply reversed. While the Canucks went up 3-0 in the first round, only to have their opposition with 3-straight and push them to 7 games, the Sharks did the same in the second round. Against the Predators, the Canucks won the first, third, fourth, and sixth games of the series. Against the Kings, the Sharks had the exact same pattern of wins and losses. It’s uncanny.Continue Reading —›