It seems appropriate that on the anniversary of the Vancouver Canucks winning the Western Conference Final that sent them to their last Stanley Cup Final they do a repeat performance. That’s right, after 17 years the Canucks will be in the Final. Not only that but like their 1994 Canucks counterparts, they also won the game in double overtime.
The fans seemed a little out of it last night, not cheering like they typically do. I figure everyone was just holding their collective breath to see if the Canucks would end it here or if the San JoseSharks would survive to go on to Game 6.
The game itself can be highlighted by numerous great saves by Roberto Luongo, who made 54 saves including 20 in overtime. There were far fewer penalties this game that we saw in Game 4.
First period saw Alex Burrows scoring the first goal of the game at 8:02, with a Sedin to Sedin assist. Vancouver took hooking and slashing penalties, putting Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler in the box for two minutes each.
The Sharks tied it up in the second period on a power play, with Dan Boyle getting it in on a wrist shot. Kevin Bieska was in the box at the time for high sticking. The Sharks’ Torrey Mitchell took a penalty for tripping, and three minutes later Raffi Torres got it for too many men on the ice.
Twenty-four seconds into the third period, Devin Setoguchi put the Sharks ahead against the Sedin line. Luongo foibled badly, coming too far out of the net to possibly stop the goal. It seemed like the end for the Canucks, until literally the last few seconds of the game Ryan Kesler managed to score. 13.2 seconds to be exact. Despite a lower body injury that made him leave the game for a while in the second period, the doctors patched him up and he came back.
This lead to two sudden death overtimes. The first was relatively quiet, with more great saves by Luongo. The second had a near miss for Chris Higgins, who had a beautiful breakaway but couldn’t quite get it past Antti Niemi. Then in a move that nobody else saw (literally, Canucks and Sharks alike had lost track of the puck), Bieksa landed a knuckle puck right in the net with 9:42 left in 2OT. “It was probably the ugliest goal of my career, but the biggest.”
Henrik Sedin accepted the Clarence S Campbell Bowl on behalf of the Vancouver Canucks, now the Western Conference Champions.
The Stanley Cup Final games won’t be scheduled until we know who takes the Eastern Conference Final (who will it be… Bruins or Lightning?). But check back here as I’ll keep you updated when tickets go on sale.