The Goods: Stayin' alive
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We had to win, I don’t think we cared how we did it. We stuck together and our special teams came up big and we won a huge game. By no means are we right back in it, but it’s a first step that we had to have and now we can worry about the next one. -- Cory Schneider, following a 43 save performance in his second straight start and just the third playoff game of his career.
What a difference a Daniel makes.
The Vancouver Canucks doubled their Sedins in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarter-Final Wednesday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and they had the Kings seeing double in a 3-1 Canucks win.
The Sedins combined for a goal and an assist in the win, Vancouver’s first of the series, which moves the battle back to British Columbia for Game 5 Sunday night.
Daniel Sedin was quick to point out that it’s only one win, the Kings still lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, but the Canucks were finally back to playing Canucks hockey and it
sure felt good.
They sure didn’t look good to open the game, however.
Since Game 3 coach Alain Vigneault preached a narrow one-period-at-a-time approach for the Canucks and in Game 4 the opening 20 minutes was horrendous at best.
Vancouver was outshot 13-7 and trailed 1-0 as Los Angeles looked to put the game away.
There was no epic Any Given Sunday speech from Vigneault, he stuck to the fundamentals and essentially told the Canucks to keep calm and carry on.
Thanks to a sensational game from Cory Schneider, Vancouver was in the game after the first period and able to mount a comeback.
Alex Edler scored Vancouver’s first power play goal of the series 4:07 into the second frame, and Kevin Bieksa made it 2-1 Canucks with his second goal of the post-season less than five minutes later.
All of the sudden this game was Vancouver’s to lose and in the third period some Sedinary from Daniel and Henrik iced the game with Hank potting his first goal of the
Post-game all anyone wanted to talk about was Schneider’s relaxed play in just his third career playoff start.
“We needed a few of our guys to elevate their performance and obviously Schneids did that tonight, he gave us a chance in the first period when our guys were a little bit tight
and not as quick at moving the puck and things like that,” said Vigneault.
“That’s what a goalie is there for, especially on the road,” said Schneider, who had 43 saves overall, of his first period. “You’ve got to come away with some big saves early on
and give your guys a chance to get into the game, get some rhythm and feel comfortable on the road. I thought our second and third periods were better and we got stronger
as we went on.”
After flubbing Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver, the Canucks were noticeably the better team in Games 3 and 4, despite only coming away with one victory. Still, this win prolongs
their season at least one more game, with hopefully two more to follow after that.
“We had no pressure, that’s the way we’re going to look at it, we’re having fun, this doesn’t change the fact that we were down 3-0,” said Daniel Sedin. “There’s still less than a
five per cent chance of coming back, so we don’t like our chances as much as their chances, that’s for sure. We’ll come in with a smile on our face and work hard and see what
we can do.”
Game 5 goes down Sunday night in Vancouver, game time has yet to be determined.
If the Canucks are able to string together another three wins in the most epic comeback of comebacks, exactly what the turning point of Game 4 was will remain a debate.
For coach Alain Vigneault it was Kevin Bieksa’s point shot hitting Mike Richards’ stick and bouncing past Jonathan Quick, which put the Canucks up 2-1 and was the eventual game-winner.
To most others, including Henrik Sedin, it was the mammoth penalty shot save by Cory Schneider on Dustin Brown, mainly because after keeping the game at 2-1, the Canucks scored on the next shift to make it a 3-1.
Either way, the Canucks finally got a few bounces go their way and they made the most of them.
“He’s been their most dangerous player and one of the best players of the playoffs,” said Schneider of Brown, and the penalty shot. “I wasn’t really sure what he likes to do, but I was able to hold off on the shot fake and when he shot I thought he might try to get upstairs, but fortunately I had my stick protecting the five hole and I just got enough of it.”
DANIEL'S POST-SEASON DEBUT
Daniel Sedin was not under attack by butterflies going into his first game since March 21st.
His performance reflected that.
After a slow start in which he admitted being a touch tentative, Daniel helped Vancouver’s top trio, which included David Booth on this night, take over the game. Not only did the Canucks get Daniel back in the line-up, but Henrik was as visible as he’s been all series and the Kings had no answer for the Sedins.
The all-star forward said post-game he feels fine and is excited to return to Vancouver to get a couple more practices under his belt before Game 5.
Daniel dished the puck to Henrik to help setup Vancouver’s third goal and he dished the credit for his line’s success to Henrik as well.
“I think he’s been playing pretty solid every game, so it was easy for me to come in,” he said. “He’s holding onto pucks, he’s making plays and I can find the open spots, he’s key for our line and he’s playing well.”