At the start of the season, the Vancouver Canucks set some team goals, and one of them was to play for the Stanley Cup.
It took double overtime and a strange goal, but the Canucks were able to accomplish that goal and are just four wins away from winning their first Stanley Cup championship.
In the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks, Daniel Sedin was the Canucks’ best offensive player, scoring seven points. Daniel scored five goals, including the game-winner in Game 2. In the second round, however, he only scored one goal and three points against the Nashville Predators and was a minus-6 in that series.
Against Nashville, it was Ryan Kesler who led the offensive charge with 11 points. Kesler scored five goals, including the game-winners in Game 3 and 4. Kesler only managed four assists against Chicago, however.
Daniel may have led the Canucks in the first round, but his brother Henrik only scored five points in three games against Chicago and followed that up with four points in just two games against Nashville.
Burrows didn’t produce against Chicago till the final two games, when he scored three points in Game 6 and two goals in Game 7, including the series-winning overtime goal. Burrows only managed two points against Nashville.
The Sedin Twins, Kesler and Alex Burrows, have led the Canucks offensively these last two regular seasons. Many have said that the Sedin Twins are not playoff players and that they disappear when the games mean the most.
In the Western Conference Finals, the Canucks’ best players were their best players. Burrows scored three goals and six points against the Sharks and scored a point in each game. Daniel scored two goals, six points and four power-play points. Kesler wasn’t able to continue his offensive flare, with just three points, but he did score the game-tying goal with just 14 seconds left in Game 5.
The two players who had a lot to prove in the semi-finals were Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo, and both answered the call. Henrik was the best skater in this round by a mile. Henrik scored a point in every game and was a dominating force on the ice. He scored one goal and had 11 assists, many of which were highlight-reel passes.
The best highlight of the series was the heads-up play in Game 4, when Henrik passed the puck to a Sharks player in order to get a penalty charged against the Sharks for having too many men on the ice.
Luongo answered all his critics with his play in this series. Luongo finished the Western Conference Finals with a GAA of 2.31 and a save percentage of .918. He faced an average of 37.8 shots a game, including 56 shots in the double overtime in Game 5. Luongo was by far the busier goalie, as the Canucks were outshot 189-148 for the series.And in the final three games, the Sharks were on the power play nine more times (17-8).
In Game 4, the Canucks were outshot 35 to 13 and had to kill off five straight penalties. Luongo was the team’s top penalty killer and made all the timely stops, giving the Canucks a chance to win Game 4. The Sharks threw everything they had at Luongo in Game 5, outshooting them 36-20 in the first three periods and 16-9 in OT.
Is this the Canucks’ year? They are just four wins away, but they will need their top players to be the top players of the Stanley Cup Finals. If the Twins continue to produce and Luongo stops playing the puck, then we could see a Stanly Cup victory parade in Vancouver.
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