OK, let me get this out there right away. The Vancouver Canucks do not trail the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in their best-of-seven because Daniel Sedin had a goal waved off last night, video review from Toronto ruling he kicked the puck into the net.
Vancouver trails LA because their star goalie has not been good enough, the club as a whole has taken a bunch of undisciplined penalties, and the penalty kill has been strafed by the Kings power play.
One video review, as major a decision as it was, is not the difference here.
I know my friends in Vancouver, who loved me when I predicted a Canucks Cup right here back in early October, do not agree, nor do they love me any more. But if you watch these games objectively, as I do, you can't fail to see the Canucks shortcomings, so far.
For those of you who have yet to see it, here is the replay of the Sedin disallowed goal. That's a 50-50 call which likely could go either way. I think Mike Murphy in Toronto got it right disallowing the goal. Sedin is driving hard to the net, but it does seem like he is looking down to where puck and skates are going to meet, and clearly directs the puck in that way.
The thing is, slow motion shows you things more clearly, and leads you to believe Sedin knew what he was doing in directing the puck in with his skate. But in real-time, that play happens so fast, it's hard to imagine that the hard-driving Sedin could think and react so quickly. 50-50 call either way.
Nevertheless, the Canucks rebounded to score a bit more than a minute after the disallowed goal to pull within 4-3 of the Kings before eventually losing 5-3. Had Luongo not allowed 4 goals on 16 shots, nor had the Canucks not surrendered three goals on three power play chances for LA, things might have been different, and that's where Vancouver needs to focus heading into Game Four.
For the Canucks to win, Luongo needs to be much better, and Vancouver has to find a way to silence the Kings power play, which is now a whopping 7-12 in the series.
Some other quick playoff thoughts:
I understood, and totally agreed with, Bruce Boudreau's decision to replace Jose Theodore in goal with Semyon Varlamov, and not just because the kid played so well last night, especially dazzling in the first period up in Montreal. Theodore was No. 1 much of this year by default because Varlamov was hurt much of the time. Switching from one to the other here, just like during the Caps first round series against the Rangers a year ago, is easy to digest on the ice and in the dressing room because neither goalie is the clear-cut No. 1.
However, I believe Montreal's Jacques Martin needs to go back to Jaroslav Halak in Game Four, despite pulling him during last night's loss in favor of Carey Price. At one point in time, Halak and Price were even on the depth chart, no clear-cut No. 1 like in Washington. But over the course of the year Halak claimed that top spot while Price, the favored son, did not. This is Halak's team now and he should be back in their starting Game 4 at the Bell Centre trying to even up that best-of-seven.
By the way, how much fun to watch is that Caps-Canadiens series? Offense, offense, and more offense. Great skating, back-and-forth action, scintillating fun.
I'm not sure you win a Stanley Cup playing this way, but I know I am enjoying watching it!
I think my favorite player to watch in this post-season is Phoenix captain Shane Doan. One of the nicest, most sincere, down-to-earth stars in this great game, Doan had played in only 32 playoff contests over the first 13 years of his NHL career, spent entirely with the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise, and none since 2002. Seeing him back in the post-season, playing with a relish and exuberance second to none, has been a joy. Watching him score only the seventh playoff goal of his career in Game Two against the Red Wings was another true delight.
Unfortunately Doan is a no-go for this evening's huge Game Four in Detroit. Doan is out with an "upper body" injury, though coach Dave Tippett says it is a day-to-day injury and that this brief rest should have the captain back in there for Game 5 back home in Phoenix.
Hope so. Love watching Shane Doan getting a crack at skating in the NHL's post-season.