The Canucks, left looking for their swagger after Game 3, seem to now have found it in spades. I don’t know what happened or what was said in their locker room during the second intermission of Game 4. Whatever it was, the players have responded positively and are playing great hockey. They’ve scored 11 goals – 8 ESG, 2 PPG and 1 empty-netter – in the last four periods. Even their penalty-kill has been a bit better. They’ve allowed just 1 PPGA in the last 7 Kings powerplays, and even killed a brief 5-on-3 against them last night. Most importantly, they’ve put the Kings on the brink of elimination and searching for some way to counter the Canucks’ attack.
After Game 3, Alain Vigneault challenged his best players to be his best players. Consider the challenge accepted. In the last two games, the Sedins and Samuelsson have combined for 13 points (5G-8A) and a plus-12 rating; Demitra (2G-2A-4P), Kesler (1G-1A-2P) and Bernier (2G) have all chipped in; in the back end, Salo, Ehrhoff and Edler have combined for 6 points (3G-3A); and despite letting in 6 goals in 52 shots, Luongo has made key saves at key times. For the last couple of games at least, the Canucks have looked like the Canucks from December and January, rather than the Canucks from March.
The Canucks so thoroughly dominated the Kings last night that, by the end of it, the Kings were left looking for something to motivate them for Game 6. Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds, and that little puke, Rich Clune all took turns running around and taking their shots at Luongo and everyone else. The Canucks – especially Shane O’Brien and Rick Rypien – answered this challenge just fine. If Simmonds and Clown getting their asses kicked counts for motivation, then I suppose the Kings can take something out of this game.
Other post-game links:
- Blogosphere reaction from the Canucks side. [Nucks Misconduct]
- Blogosphere reaction from the Kings side. [Jewel from the Crown; Rink Royalty]
- Last night’s win was an ‘aberration’. [Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province]
- Sedins, Samuelsson and secondary scoring. [Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province; Jim Hughson, CBC Sports; Monte Stewart, NHL Fanhouse; Derek Jory, canucks.com; Bob McKenzie, TSN]
- Alberts: 1 assist, 0 penalties. That’s not a typo. [Dave Lozo, NHL.com]
- The Canucks get to Quick quick. [Monte Stewart, NHL Fanhouse]
- A complete effort. [Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province; Helene Elliott, LA Times; Terry Jones, Calgary Sun; Jim Morris, Metro News Vancouver via CP]
- Canucks call up Lawrence Nycholat. [Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun]
- Canucks PK much, much better. [Winnipeg Free Press]