The chances of a Stanley Cup in Canada this spring are still very much alive.
First, the Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination with a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins Tuesday to force Game 7 in Beantown Wednesday. Then, Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks got up off the mat for a Game 7 win.
After a blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks, Luongo and the Canucks were able to get their act together in the nick of time to advance to Round 2 against the upstart Nashville Predators.
The pressure was on the Canucks big time in Game 7 at the Rogers Arena and they served up a 2-1 OT victory to send the defending champs home for the summer. Alex Burrows scored the winner at 5:22 by beating Corey Crawford.
“It’s huge. It’s really big. I’m having a hard time putting it into words right now, but it’s just the first round. We’ve got a long way to go,” Luongo told CBC’s Scott Oake.
AROUND THE BOARDS
You have to wonder if Boston’s Milan Lucic is going to be around for Game 7. He is the club’s best player, but his decision to hit Montreal D Jaroslav Spacek from behind was a dumb move and resulted in the winning goal by Brian Gionta. Lucic is going to face supplemental discipline but many believe he’ll be back ... Was there really any point in the Montreal fans constantly booing Boston D Zdeno Chara every time he touches the puck? It doesn’t seem to bother him one bit ... The Sabres had two lousy shots to Philly’s 16 in the first period of Game 7. That’s disgraceful ... Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler was ready. He took a puck in the face in the first, got up off the ice and went to the bench ... After the Habs had a goal disallowed, you could almost see the first 5-on-3 they were awarded that resulted in the opening goal by Mike Cammalleri on a blast by Tim Thomas.
OFF THE GLASS
Great job by Kesler setting up Alex Burrows for the early goal in Vancouver. It gave the Canucks some momentum ... The Penguins could solve a lot in Game 7 of their series against the Lightning by scoring a powerplay goal. Pittsburgh has only one goal in 30 chances in the six games. Tyler Kennedy has been the only goal scorer with the man advantage for Pittsburgh ... Cammalleri hasn’t been a free agent bust by any stretch. He scored his 16th goal in his 25th playoff game with the Habs and played 25:13 of ice time ... TSN’s Pierre McGuire didn’t like a hit by Philly’s Daniel Briere on Buffalo’s Rob Niedermayer in the first. “That’s bordering on savage,” said McGuire. All Briere got was a minor.
THIS N’ THAT
Referee Kevin Pollock blew the call on the no-goal by Brian Gionta in the first, but surely the league can put a mechanism in place to allow the officials in Toronto to look at the replay ... CBC’s Glenn Healy with the line of the night with fans screaming around him: “That’s why they stop serving beer at the end of the second period, the guys behind me.” ... The Bruins remain the only team in the playoffs without a power play goal by going 0-for-19 in the series. That could certainly cost coach Claude Julien his job if they don’t win ... Vancouver GM Mike Gillis couldn’t complain about the officials. Everything was pretty much let go for the first 40 minutes ... You had to feel for Buffalo G Ryan Miller. He was the club’s best player in the playoffs. He deserved better than a 6-2 result loss. “He played a great series. It was tough to get pucks by him,” Philly C Mike Richards told TSN.
- “A little less stress waking up (Tuesday) morning with the series win. Still a long way to go.” - Sharks C Logan Couture after the club beat Los Angeles Monday.
“Really hoping that no goal for MTL doesn’t result in having to hear about it for another 6 months. #nocomment” - Edmonton LW Ryan Jones on the disallowed first goal.
“Almost had my beard shaved off while I was getting my hair cut today. Haha. I accidentally yelled at the poor lady.”
- Washington D Karl Alzner.
“Heading to the airport right now. Getting ready for Game 7 (Wednesday) night. Can’t wait to start the game. Got to love it.” - Montreal D Brent Sopel.
THE LAST WORD
Gutsy move by Buffalo’s Derek Roy, who hadn’t played since last December because of surgery to repair a torn quad in his leg, to make his return. He went from the injury list to playing 20:01 and was minus-2. Desperate times call for desperate measures ... The four Game 7’s in the first round this spring are the most since the league had six in 1995 ... The Flyers are first team in 23 years to win a series with three goalies since the Red Wings beat the Leafs in 1988.