*As posted on Cycle Like the Sedins: St. Louis-Vancouver*
St. Louis Blues fans haven't had a playoff game in their stadium in 5 years. They were pumped, great crowd, I expected nothing less out of the fans. Whoever was singing 'O Canada' tried to be fancy, but instead his attempt at being fancy was a FAIL.
Mats Sundin was injured with a lower body injury, and Kariya may have drawn in to the lineup. That would have meant two things:
1. The RPM line/powerplay of the Canucks was going to suffer missing the big body and faceoff wins from Sundin.
2. With Kariya in, the Blues might actually score on a powerplay
None of this happened. Vancouver still won faceoffs and were able to score. Kariya didn't play, and the Blues didn't capitalize on their numerous powerplays.
In the opening few minutes it was a little nerve wracking watching the game. The Blues looked good. Three minutes in, Backes gets a goal and it's the first time the Blues have led a game so far in the series. Ohlund takes an unnecessary penalty that the Canucks kill off. A few minutes later Daniel takes a penalty, then Mitchell gets a double minor. The Blues are on a 5 on 3 but the Canucks look good and also kill that off. It was penalty city for the Canucks with a few more handed out to them in the 1st period. The team escapes down only 1-0.
In the second, Vancouver starts fresh and look like they've adjusted to the St. Louis crowd. The refs during their little pow wow between periods must have decided to call nothing but Blues penalties in the 2nd period. McClement takes a slashing call and just like that Ohlund puts one in. McClement takes another, and Daniel puts it in, 2-1! McDonald finally figures out Luongo and gets a goal to tie up the game 2-2. Crombeen is a bit of a loose cannon tonight and takes three stupid penalties, the last one at the end of the period will start off the Canucks on the powerplay in the 3rd.
The unsung hero of the Canucks, gets his first goal of the series on the powerplay right at the beginning of the period. That's 3 freaking goals on the powerplay! But the refs decide to start calling the Canucks, and the Blues get their second 5 on 3. The Canucks and Luongo would have none of it and just SHUT THEM DOWN. Scottrade Center is relatively quiet for the rest of the period. Backes takes a cross checking call late in the 3rd and to make it worth his while to go to the box, Backes decides to also get a roughing call. Game Over.
The Blues, who were very good on the powerplay in the regular season (ranked 8th), were not able to capitalize once in the game tonight. They had two 5 on 3's and still no dice. They are now 1 for 17 in the series, which is a little worrisome if you are a Blues fan. Kariya may have helped on the PP, so as a Vancouver fan, I was quite glad he didn't play tonight. Maybe he would ruin the chemistry on the team but if he's healthy for game 4 they may as well give him a shot, because whatever they have right now, isn't working.
Last thought: Ryan Johnson was a beast in the faceoff circle tonight. 11 out of 14.
3 wins down. 13 to go.