Courtesy of Daniel Fung
THE PROVINCE REPORTS
Boring? No way!
What was supposed to be "as much fun as beer night with Stockwell Day and Preston Manning" turned out to be game worthy of a permanent spot in the classic games archive, writes Ed Willis. Despite giving up a 4-2 third period lead, the Canucks came out on top when it mattered the most; scoring in quadruple overtime to end the longest game in Canucks history. Roberto Luongo made 36 saves in overtime, 72 in total as the Stars out-shot the Canucks 76-56 on the night, and Henrik Sedin potted the winner just after 12:30am PST on Thursday morning.
Bulis wants back
Jan Bulis, who has been criticized by Canuck fans throughout the season, is one of many unlikely heroes that could emerge throughout these playoffs writes Jason Botchford. With tight checking supposed to be a theme of the series, a third line comprising Bulis, Trevor Linden, and Bryan Smolinski could prove to be the difference in a long series. As for Bulis, despite the rumours surrounding him during the regular season, there's nowhere else he wants to be but here.
"I don't want to go to another team," said Bulis. "The Canucks are a winning team and why not stay here?"
Luongo the hero of the night, but Naslund showing his old form just in time
Wednesday night (Thursday morning?) belonged to Roberto Luongo, but Markus Naslund served notice that the scoring Swede is back, at least for one night writes Tony Gallagher. Naslund ripped an old-time wrist shot for his first of the playoffs in the second period of last night's game and added an assist on Mattias Ohlund's power play goal. According to Tony Gallagher, there was little doubt Markus would eventually find his way back onto the scoresheet, just when the Canucks needed him the most.
"Anyone who would spend a quiet moment with the guy knew full well of his confidence that the playoffs would bring a return to prominence, and that's exactly what happened, "writes Gallagher. "[W]hether it was with points, shots, or even hits, Naslund served notice he intends to be a force offensively along with the Sedins in this series, no matter how long it or the games last."
THE VANCOUVER SUN REPORTS
Bet the beef
It appears the tradition of government official side-deals will continue...in hockey that is. As Ian Austin writes, B.C. Premier Gorden Campbell has challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a bet, offering 20.10 pounds of B.C. beef should the Canucks fall to the Stars.
And what's the deal behind that specific weight? "[T]o remind him that B.C. is hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games", says Campbell.
Not all it's cracked up to be
Canucks defenceman Brent Sopel was a surprise scratch on Wednesday night for the opening game of the playoffs. The reason, writes Elliot Pap, was because he blew his back out trying to pick up a cracker. No word on whether crackers have been banned from the pre-game meal list.
Pap also notes that Canucks goaltending prospect, Cory Schneider, is about to serve notice as to his plans for next season. The former first-round pick led Boston College to the NCAA title game losing to Michigan State. Schneider has one more year of college eligibility remaining although Canucks General Manager Dave Nonis feels he could step right into Manitoba's lineup.
"He's more than capable," says Nonis. "I think he'd be an exceptional goalie at the American League level right now."
THE FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM REPORTS
Taking the heat off Turco
It's no surprise Marty Turco is the focal point of the Stars in this year's playoffs, as he has been every post-season. But the way Stars coach Dave Tippett sees is, his goaltender can only do so much and if the Stars are going to have a chance to win this series, it will require a complete team effort writes Tracey Myers.
"It's not up to [Turco] to win it; we have to win it as a team," Tippett said. "A goaltender can steal games. He can't steal a series. Marty's going to have to do his part, just like everyone has to do theirs."
They may be playoff foes now, but that won't stop members of the Dallas Stars from respecting the play of Canucks superstar goaltender Roberto Luongo, writes Milenko Martinovich. Despite the fact Luongo has never been in an NHL playoff, the Stars are well-aware of the fact his ability is off the charts and have no doubts that had he not been playing with sub-par teams in Florida, he would be an even bigger name around the league.
"Roberto is a world-class goalie," Stars centre Mike Modano said. "You just can't really think too much [about him]. Just go in there and play and try not to change your game too much because of the goalie. Your approach offensively should stay the same. Any shot's a good shot. Try to make him work."