Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Monday April 23: First Round Done

The opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs ended with a bang as the low scoring Dallas Stars fell to the even lower scoring Canucks, 4-1, in Vancouver on Monday night. Vancouver took the series 4 games to 3 despite scoring only 13 goals in the 7 contests. There is so much to recap in this game and series let us begin:
  • Trevor Linden, playing in his 9th game 7, scored the game winner with 13 minutes remaining in the third period. The tally was his 6th game 7 winning goal tying him for 2nd all time. The goal was also his 2nd of the current playoffs. In the series, Linden's play was possibly the most crucial to Canuck success as he accounted for 2 goals, both game winners, and 3 assists for 5 points. Linden also received the primary assist on the second empty netter that capped the score at 4-1.
  • Taylor Pyatt iced the game by netting one on the open goal with 1:03 remaining. The goal was Pyatt's second of the postseason. Pyatt had 2 goals and 3 assists in the series with one game winner.
  • Bryan Smolinski, whose first 20 games with Vancouver were modest at best, accounted for 2 goals and 2 assists in the series. He added an empty netter with 47 second remaining to put an already out of reach contest even further away for the Stars.
  • Roberto Luongo stopped 19 of 20 shots for his 4th win in the 7 games. The 20 shots were the least he faced in the entire series. His numbers were spectacular in those games. In 509 minutes of ice time (almost 8 1/2 games of real time) he stopped 228 of 240 shots. He finished with a .950 save percentage and a 1.41 goals against average. For goalies with a minimum of 4 starts in the playoffs only 1 had a lower gaa (rival Marty Turco).
  • In other briefs, Former Islanders were really the star of the show in this first round matchup. FIs accounted for 6 of 13 Canucks goals and 14 of the 35 scoresheet points. They also accounted for 3 of Vancouver's 4 game winning goals. All FI points came off the sticks of 3 skaters even though Vancouver's current roster has 6 such players. Those players were the aforementioned veterans Linden, Pyatt and Smolinski.

Tuesday is an off night as second round play commences Wednesday night with 2 matchups. The Buffalo Sabres will defend their elite status against the upstart New York Rangers while the FI Canucks will take on the defensively solid Anaheim Ducks. Keep posted to FIW for all your postseason news.

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