I loved the end of last night’s Vancouver-Los Angeles game because the final few minutes were a microcosm of the Canucks’ season.
You had Mikael Samuelsson, an off-season acquisition, scoring in overtime, proving his playoff experience and ability to get into the slot made him a solid pick-up.
You had Henrik Sedin setting the goal up, which is perfect, because Henrik is an assist machine.
And best of all, the whole thing started behind an opponent’s net, where the Canucks have done so much damage this season.
If anyone asks you about the 2009-10 Canucks season, just show them a clip of that sequence.
Meanwhile, Vancouver is going to be a tough match-up for the Kings. First of all, the Canucks are shifty, and I’m not sure the young Kings team is prepared for all of Vancouver’s fakes and tricks and explosive moves.
Also, Vancouver is tough to defend in the offensive zone because they’re so good behind the net. Most coaches will tell players to ignore the guy behind the net, since he can’t score from there, but the Canucks and their precision passing make it a dangerous area. But if the Kings play the man behind the net, it opens up the slot area for Vancouver.
I’m guessing the Kings are going to focus on tight defense in the Cancucks’ zone and in the neutral zone, hoping to just keep Vancouver out of the offensive zone as much as possible. Or maybe using two guys down low, to take away the passing lanes out of the rear net area.
But for a team like Los Angeles, that doesn’t like to have too many players too deep in the defensive zone, the Canucks are proving to be a challenge.
Also, if you’re wondering why the San Jose Sharks have so much trouble in the playoffs, it might be because they don’t quite understand the purpose of the post-season.
The Sharks are refusing to call tonight’s game two against Colorado a must-win. Even though the Sharks are already down a game and even though they’re going to Colorado for the next two games and even though every game of the playoffs pretty much is a must-win.
I get that they’re trying not to put too much pressure on themselves, but someone within the Sharks organization really needs to step-up and recognize that the purpose of the playoffs is to win games. I can’t imagine the Avs are saying tonight is an optional win and they’re up a game. Why are the Sharks making winning optional when they’re already in the hole?