Well, that was weird. There were more scoring chances in the first period than I’ve seen in the first three games.
The best chance, of course was Kyle Wellwood, in just a little too close to make a move on Mason…and then we are reminded of the magic hands this kid has. As he’s learned how to play defensive hockey over the last six months, Kyle had to put down his offensive stick. But let’s give this guy credit, he has learned to play defense. And he still has the magic hands and we go up one zip. The Missouri crowd has a moment of silence.
But the hits just keep on coming. First Boyes goes off, limping to the bench and then Burrows struggles off the ice. This ain’t a game for the gentle ones. I notice huge mistakes by Bieksa and Edler but Lou stands tall in the net. Until Crombeen the Dumber gets a great chance. Edler redeems himself with the inadvertent miracle save.
We don’t stay out of the box but our PK stands tall. I think that Ryan Johnson coming back from injury and the emergence of Mason Raymond on the PK has made the difference. Raymond reminds me, old skool that I am, of the fact that in the NHL, little guys with average speed have to pay their dues on the PK. That speed will eventually translate into goals. But for now we’ll be satisfied with his speed shutting the other guys down.
The second period is all Canucks for the first ten minutes. Our fore check is perfect, our back check committed. Every St Lou jab is met with a hard counter punch. One wonders what St Louis has to do to score. Apparently, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of that as we seem to have the cruise control.
An Alexander the Great tip sees Burrows score his second goal and after the quick review, we are up by two.
Old Oiler and now commentator, Craig Simpson, is left whining about the Canucks maybe having too many men on the ice.
We look to have an insurmountable lead. Ah, insurmountable leads. How soon they can disappear.
SOB tries to tip the puck at the blueline and fails…suddenly Boyes gets a second shot on a rebound and the Blues are back in it at two to one. And just as we are adjusting to that piece of bitter news, they score again.
And then they score again!!! Fortunately the whistle went before that last one counted. Big Lou goes down and gives us a break…or is that groin acting up again?
And it’s not much of a break as St. Lou start to pound us into ice chips as the Blues belief system wakes up. We had these guys convinced they could not beat us. It seems the last two minutes of the period, St Lou have become convinced.
We finally clear and Kesler gets a shot on a two on one, but Ryan can’t beat Mason. The period ends without further damage. The third should be just more of the same. A war.
Our biggest hope in the third is that the Blues start getting a little too excited…start pinching a bit too much…giving us odd man rushes…we’ve seen a couple throughout the game. Patience, guys. We are still in a tie game.
We haven’t seen much flow in this series…you know, end to end, trading chances. But the third provides all of that. Great chances on both sides. First Luongo and then Mason making game changing saves. Halfway through the third and we are tied 23 shots a piece.
I suppose I’d like to see us on the PP after Backes cheap shots Raymond, but it’s typical NHL hockey for the refs to put the whistles in the pocket for the third period. Let the guys on the ice decide it.
Six minutes left and we hem them in on icing calls. Wellwood makes a terrific slap pass that Bernier tips, Mason saves and then Raymond puts the rebound over the net.
And then with four and half minutes left Andy MacDonald wires one at our net. I’ve been waiting and Hughson yells “Great Save Luongo.”
Worth the wait.
Henrik takes a loose puck and we get a chance with a minute and half left. Horseshoes again. A minute left and we are already in sudden death. Andy Murray provides comic relief with fifteen seconds left. We buzz around but the face off comes outside the zone.
Last minute face off in the Blues zone…and the horn goes.
We are in OT!
And there was so much going on in that OT that it’s difficult to write about it. They had the first three PPs but we had the best chances (courtesy of the Sedins). The third period and the OT were what most people thought this series would be about. Lots of end to end and with both goalies playing out of their heads. With Lou forced to make the more difficult saves.
But the Blues’ PP still cannot deliver. That’s gotta kill them.
And just as I’m about to get another brandy, Alexander Burrows picks up a loose puck and shoots a hard one along the ice. Mason wasn’t ready and it’s through the five hole.
The series is over. Oh yeah.
Two things, first, I hate long layoffs in the post season. But we need this break. Secondly, Matty Ohlund has been a whipping boy (by me and others) for the last couple of years. But Matty was huge tonight. Heart of a Lion.
Much like this team.