Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Canucks Take Game One Against Blues

In a fiesty and penalty-filled match-up at GM Place Wednesday night, the Canucks picked up a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in their opening game of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The two teams combined for fifteen minor penalties and two misconducts on a night which saw Vancouver control most of the play when it was even strength.

The Canucks got off to a great start and spent much of the first half in the Blues end. Eventually they were rewarded for their efforts just as a penalty was about to be called against the visitors. Alexander Edler got the puck to the right boards for Pavol Demitra, who wasted no time firing a slap pass to the slot for Daniel Sedin. With his stick on the ice, Sedin was able to re-direct the puck through the pads of Chris Mason. Daniel's first goal of the post season came at 10:03.

A few shifts later, the Canucks got into penalty trouble with Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell in the box together for just under two mintues. While working the 5-on-3 power play, Andy McDonald was set up all alone with a back-door pass. However his one-timer was denied on a fantastic pad save by Roberto Luongo, keeping the Canucks in the lead heading to the intermission break.

The go-ahead goal Vancouver hoped they would get came in early in the 2nd period on a power play. Henrik Sedin, who had seen his stick break in his hands while he had the puck on the end boards, did well to kick it up the boards to his brother. Daniel was able to slide the puck across the zone for Sami Salo. He stepped into a slap shot that looked to have taken a deflection past Mason. Salo, who had gone the last 20 games of the season without scoring, netted what proved to be the game-winning goal at 5:11.

Vancouver found itself in more penalty trouble in the middle frame as the Blues went to work on four power plays. On their last man advantage, they were able to capitalize. Alex Steen's shot from the right point was kicked away by Luongo, but the rebound was drilled home by Brad Boyes. McDonald gets the other assist as Boyes, who scored 16 power play goals during the season, netted his first of the series at 18:16.

The Canucks were extremely sound defenisvely in the final period of regulation as they didn't allow the Blues much in the way of puck possession between the blue lines. St. Louis did get the opportunity to get Mason to the bench for the extra attacker late in the frame, but couldn't find the equalizer to force overtime.

Final shots on net favoured the Canucks 31-26. Vancouver wrapped up the night going 1-for-6 on the power play while the Blues went 1-for-7.

The two teams will skate tomorrow in preparation for Game 2 of their series Friday night. Game time at GM Place will be 7:00pm PST.

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