St. Louis: Best Game of the Series, Not Enough

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 19: Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks and Jay McClement #18 of the St Louis Blues battle for control of the puck during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 19, 2009 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Photo credit - Tom Gannam/Getty Images

Photo credit - Tom Gannam/Getty Images

Apr.22 - With the Blues playoff life hanging by a thread, they came out determined to extend the series. Within the first two minutes, both teams had produced golden opportunities to open the scoring, as first Blues T.J. Oshie and then the Sedins, stormed the respective nets.

The Blues definitely had their chances, as the Canucks put themselves down two men and then took another penalty late in the first period. Once again the Blues PP failed to score, as the Canucks PK took away the shooting lanes, forced St. Louis shooters to shoot from the perimeter, blocked shots and Louie did his thing.

The 'Nucks first goal, was the result of Steve Bernier’s fore-checking on Blues D, Carlo Colaiacova, whose turnover resulted in a showdown. Magic (Kyle Wellwood), the recipient of this, walked in all alone and deked Chris Mason, depositing the puck into the vacant spot and the Canucks were on the scoreboard.

Yes, the Canucks got some breaks, one of them as Blues Brandon Crombeen sure tying goal, went through Luongo only to be stopped by Alex Edler’s leg. The second one, on a play that the refs had blown dead. Some teams earn those breaks by their consistent play throughout and that’s what Vancouver did in this series.

The second period saw the Canucks get their second goal off a Shane O’Brien point shot. This was tipped down and in, on a screened Mason and it looked like the Canucks were going to take the game away and run with it.

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Well, it turned around in a heartbeat, when O’Brien turned over the puck at his blue line and Brad Boyes, off a rebound, scored to bring the Blues back to within one.

From the 13:30 mark on, the Blues took over the game and swarmed the Canuck zone, playing their best hockey of the series.

They were finally rewarded when Andy McDonald’s low shot was stopped by Luongo but not the rebound, which David Perron wristed in, to tie the game up. The Blues crowd already pumped up sent the noise level up another level, as their hockey team poured on the pressure.

It looked like a continuous PP, as the Blues hemmed the Canucks in their own zone, for most of the period.

Once again the Canucks captain, Roberto Luongo, dehydrated, muscles cramping up, fought through all this to keep the score tied.

Chris Mason played his strongest game of the series, matching Roberto Luongo save for save, as this third period duel went back and forth. First Mason on saves off Sedin and Demitra, and then Luongo off a glove save, on a McDonald’s shot from the low slot.

This was just like OT, as you knew the next goal would decide it, but that goal did not come in regulation time, and so, for the first time in this series, it needed another period.

The Canucks came out and had the best chances early on, when first Burrows was stopped all alone, Yannick Hansen rang one of the goal post.and then Burrows again, on a tip shot that was stopped by Mason.

OT was dominated by the Blues (18-9 SOG) with the Canucks first penalty to Daniel Sedin providing the momentum swing in their favour. Try as they might, the Blues PP, just could not crack Luongo’s armour, but hey, this was the story of the whole series.

The TPG arrived at 10:36 of OT, when Canucks Ryan Kesler drew a double minor for high sticking and so with four minutes the Blues went to work. Once again Luongo and the Canucks PK shut them down and set the scene for the final seconds of the game.

Accepting the pass by Canucks D, Willie Mitchell, Alex Burrows streaked down the right wing, cut towards the net and fired a wrist shot that went through the five hole of Chris Mason.

Mr. Clutch, as he has been all year, sent the 'Nucks pouring off the bench to celebrate their first playoff sweep in Canucks history.

What a close series this has been, with the previous two games having been decided by one goal and this one in OT. The difference turned out to be Canucks goaltending and its special teams

This Blues young team, full of promising stars, like Backes, Oshie, Perron, Woywitka, and Berglund will be back again in the near future, count on that.