Vancouver Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues Recap: Roberto Luongo Stands Tall

Nucks IceManCorrespondent IApril 16, 2009

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 7: Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks warms-up prior to the start of their game against the Calgary Flames at General Motors Place April 7, 2009 in Vancouver, Canada.   (Photo by Nick Didlick/Getty Images)
The Canucks kept the St. Louis Blues shot count to 26 last night, and special teams were the story (PP 1-6, PK – 1-7). Vancouver got into penalty trouble in the first period, taking three of the four assessed, but the shut down play of the PK and Luongo rescued them.
The ‘Nucks came out in the first period and looked tight, as the Blues took it to them and, of course, built momentum with those PP’s. The Blues' first shot came off the down low pressure, when the Blues' Patrick Berglund got loose at the hash marks and forced Luongo to make one of his many outstanding saves.

Daniel Sedin brought the white-towel waving Canuck fans to their feet at 10:03 of the first period, when he tipped in a slap pass from Pavol Demitra. This was reminiscent of the type of play that brother Henrik has used many times, the slap pass.

The TPG (turning point of the game) came in the first period, when first Mattias Ohlund and then Sami Salo both took Canuck penalties 23 seconds apart, to force the PK to kill a lengthy five on three.

Ryan Kesler (2), Alex Burrows (1), and Ryan Johnson (1), were particularly at their shot blocking best, and Luongo stood tall, particularly against the Blues' Andy McDonald.

McDonald, parked at the side of the net, was robbed on a pad save by Luongo, who was busy turning back the Blues' charge.

The puck was in the Canucks' zone most of the two minutes.

St. Louis goalie Chris Mason was also doing his thing, making a blocker save off Ohlund, a Kevin Bieksa slap shot, and stoned Daniel Sedin,who was in all alone.

The shots in the first period favoured the Blues, 9 to 8.

The Blues themselves ran into some penalty trouble in the second period and paid dearly for it. Just as Jay McKee’s penalty time was running out, the Canucks struck another blow.

Daniel Sedin got the puck back to Salo at the point, who unloaded a wicked slap shot on net, and Steve Bernier, parked in front of the net, deflected it in, 2-0.

This game lacked flow, as the second period was like the first with way too many PP’s to each team.

McDonald will be seeing Luongo in his sleep, as Louie stopped him again. The PP save came from McDonald’s favourite spot—yes, you guessed it—at the side of the net.

Magic (Wellwood) and Bernier both had determined games, and when you see the likes of Magic, the Sedins, Demitra, and Sundin throwing checks, you know it's playoff time.

St. Louis got on the scoreboard close to the end of the second on a PP goal, which Luongo had no chance on. The original point shot off of Alex Steen was kicked out, but the rebound went to Brad Boyes, who makes a living off the PP and rifled it past a diving Luongo.

The Canucks, who are 30-0 when leading going into the third period, really put on a defensive, puck possession, and forechecking clinic. Not only did they out shoot the Blues 15-6, but I did not see any quality scoring chances given up.

Even in the last minute, when St. Louis had pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, and had the Canucks pinned in, the Blues didn't get any shots through that were dangerous.

Bobby Lou, the D, and the Canucks' forwards are in that playoff, shutdown type mode again and have only allowed two goals in their last four games. Remember that roll I spoke about, it sure looks like its gathering momentum.

Watch for St. Louis to come back on Friday and try to resolve that.