The Goods: Swede stuff
Kings can't stop Mikael Samuelsson and the Canucks offence
You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 7-2 win over Los Angeles in Game 5 of their Western Conference series.
IT WAS OVER WHEN...
…Mikael Samuelsson scored his sixth goal of the post-season, and first of two on the night, 13:31 into the second period to put Vancouver up 4-1, chase Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, and blow the roof off General Motors Place in a 7-2 Canucks win.
The momentum Vancouver took from a four-goal third period in Game 4 carried over to the start of Game 5 with the home side outscoring LA 2-1 and outshooting the Kings 12-8. Steve Bernier and Alex Edler both put a puck behind Quick in the opening 20 minutes.
The second period, routinely owned by the Kings in the series, had the Canucks take a stranglehold on the game with goals from Daniel Sedin and Samuelsson.
To the delight of rabid towel waving Canucks fans, Vancouver pumped another three goals into Los Angeles in the third, while the Kings replied with one score. Pavol Demitra scored his second goal of the playoffs 4:28 in, which meant curtains for backup Erik Ersberg, but Quick didn’t fair any better in his return to the pipes as Samuelsson and Bernier beat him for their second goals of the contest before the final horn put the purple, silver and black out of their misery.
Vancouver, the first team in the series to open the scoring and hold on for the win, was backstopped by a 24 save outing from Roberto Luongo. A balanced scoring attack featuring 12 Canucks with at least a point, five in double digits and a pair with three, ensured Lui didn’t have to be at his best.
A stat to help put Mikael Samuelsson’s brilliant post-season play in perspective: Samuelsson has scored seven goals through five games, the Kings have only six at even strength.
Samuelsson continues to score at will as he potted goals six and seven, extending his career-high in playoff goals with each strike.
Playing alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Samuelsson stretched his point and goal streak to five games; he’s the only player in the series to have hit the scoreboard in each contest.
The forgotten Swede, who leads in the NHL in playoff goals, is five points back of Sidney Crosby for the points lead and with how insanely pinpoint accurate his shot has been this series, Samuelsson leading the charge after the first round isn’t out of the question.
Coach Alain Vigneault said it best, “When Pavol competes the way he did tonight, the way he did in the last two games, you can see how useful a player he is.”
You can say that again.
Demitra, playing with Kyle Wellwood and Steve Bernier, had his best playoff outing as a Canuck with a goal and two assists; the third line came together for three goals, three assists and a plus-6 rating.
Not since leading the 2010 Winter Olympics Men’s Hockey in scoring has this Demitra shown himself, although Canucks fans caught a glimpse of the beast within in Game 4 when he picked up his first goal of the playoffs.
Don’t expect Vancouver’s third line to see any change heading into Game 6 and if the top two trios struggle to produce, Demitra and company will bring the effort and intensity needed to provide secondary scoring.
MAKE ME A BICYCLE, CLOWN
Things got rough when the clock hit 20:00 at the end of the third period in Game 4, but it didn’t take that long for the hatred between teams to intensify in Game 5.
With the Canucks in front 7-2 and the fans giving the Kings the gears at every turn, Wayne Simmonds had finally had enough. He attempted to enact some revenge on Shane O’Brien and send a message heading into Game 6.
O’Brien rang Simmonds’ bell numerous times before playing to the crowd as they want bananas. That didn’t amuse Kings coach Terry Murray, he later called O’Brien “a clown.”
Bozo or not, O’Brien’s fiery personality is clearly getting under the skin of the Kings.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Call it a goal rush.
After scoring just eight goals in the opening three games of the series, the Canucks have lit the lamp 13 times in the last 120 minutes as Jonathan Quick - or Erik Ersberg, two goals allowed on four shots in Game 5 – have had an answer for Vancouver torrid offence.
Of Vancouver’s 10 forwards who have appeared in all five games, only three are without goals: Alex Burrows, Kyle Wellwood and Jannik Hansen.
Burrows, in fact, is the only Canucks forward of the 10 who had five games to their credit, without even a single point.
FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Alain Vigneault on the game, the penalty kill and a solid effort from blueliner Andrew Alberts, who was a fan favourite:
”Obviously there were some good moments in this game, our guys were ready, they went out and executed and played hard and we were able to have some quality chances on their goaltenders that resulted in goals.
”The goal that they got was, I want to say typically like the other ones, a fortunate bounce on their part that ended up in the back of our net. Our guys battled through that one, didn’t let it affect them and hopefully that will help us build a little bit of confidence there and keep doing the job.
”Alberts came in for this game and I thought was real safe and dependable, he appreciated the fans chanting his name, probably a first for him in his career, but that just shows how supportive our fans can be and that’s what we expect from them at this time of the year.”
The Canucks practice Saturday morning before jet setting to the castle for a Sunday rendezvous with the Kings.
The series is on the line with Vancouver able to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season with a victory in Los Angeles.
Should the Canucks come away with the all-important fourth win to clinch the series, it would be the ninth time in franchise history the team has advanced to the semi-finals.
3-2 Canucks, Game 6 Sunday
1 – Win needed to advance to the second round.
1 – Assist for Andrew Alberts, his first point of the playoffs.
2 – Goals for Steve Bernier and Mikael Samuelsson.
12 – Canucks with at least a single point.
19 – Faceoffs won by Henrik Sedin (19-for-23).
“It was a great win. It was important for us to come out tonight and show them that we wanted this and we established a great momentum right off the start and sustained it for 60 minutes."
-Roberto Luongo (on the win)
“It feels good. I played last game with them in the third period and we started off on a good note and we had a good game today."
-Mikael Samuelsson (on his line)
“Scoring goals is something I want to do every night. When I’m on the ice I want to create momentum for our team and get a chance to score."
-Steve Bernier (on contributing)
“This was the first game we really put together 60 minutes. We’ve had periods that have been good, 40 minutes that have been good, but never 60 minutes."
-Henrik Sedin (on the complete game)
“When Pavol competes the way he did tonight, the way he did in the last two games, you can see how useful a player he is. "
-Alain Vigneault (on Pavol Demitra)
Vancouver oozed offence as three of four lines hit the scoresheet.
Mikael Samuelsson and the Sedins continue to play grade-A hockey, while the Canucks are benefiting from secondary scoring from many sources.
An Andrew Alberts chant? You bet. The defenceman, who came under fire for his costly penalties early in the series, played his best game of the post-season. He was solid in his own end and added an assist for his first playoff point.
The Canucks weren't perfect, but no one is complaining as they killed four of five penalties. The Kings are now 10-for-21 in the series; the Canucks are 5-for-21.