Canucks Finish Off Blues in Overtime
Trailing 2-0 in the game and 3-0 in the series, the Blues showed zero quit, rallying to tie the score on two second-period goals, and then getting some great goaltending from Chris Mason, who dueled with Roberto Luongo through a scoreless third period. That duel continued deep into overtime, before Alex Burrows scored his second of the game to eliminate St. Louis, 3-2.
After Burrows and Kyle Wellwood had tallied for the Canucks, a lesser team, even one full with young, hungry players, would have packed it in. The Blues had every reason to, after two heartbreaking losses and an amazingly frustrating start to the tournament.
Instead, St. Louis rallied, behind goals by Brad Boyes and David Perron about four minutes apart in the second period. The Blues were at their best from the second period on, peppering Luongo with pucks and bodies. However, their dormant power play never woke up, and Luongo was on top of his game all night.
The Blues had six criticial minutes in the overtime. Daniel Sedin took a two-minute hooking penalty, and Ryan Kesler was sent off for four minutes on a high stick. The power plays both came up empty, despite some good pressure and shots.
As they had been the whole series, the Canucks' penalty kill - keyed by Luongo and his tough defense - made the difference. Luongo made 47 saves, including 18 in overtime. With 19 seconds left, Burrows came down the right wing and beat Mason five-hole to end the series.
It's a learning experience for St. Louis, who lost their two best defensemen (Erik Johnson and Eric Brewer) to injury but still battled to a playoff spot. They'll be back.
For Vancouver, it's a timely sweep. They can rest some banged-up players, as they're looking at up to ten days off. That's probably too much, and it leaves them running the risk of being rusty for the second round. But no one will ever turn down a sweep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.