If there was any qualm that the Vancouver Canucks were the team to beat in these playoffs, they have squashed it in the first two games of their Western Conference Finals series with San Jose.
Here in Round 3, the Presidents’ Trophy winners are playing their game. In Wednesday’s 7-3 win, Vancouver flat-out embarrassed the Sharks (and some Sharks players also embarrassed themselves). In Game 1, they got stronger as they game went on and dominated the third period of a 3-2 comeback victory.
After struggling to put away Chicago in the first round, then being thrown off of their game by Nashville, there were some doubters as to whether the Canucks would be able to put it all together. Henrik and Daniel Sedin have helped silence those doubters.
Suddenly, the twins look like themselves, which is a bad thing for the Sharks. In two games they’ve combined for seven points. On top of that, they have been able to sustain more puck possession than they did in each of the first two rounds, which has allowed them to generate an excess of scoring chances. On the power play, they are getting so much room to operate that they may be tricked into thinking it’s the regular season (ok, not really).
With the Sedins heating up, the Canucks now have two lines that are firing on all cylinders. Not to mention a third line that is creating more energy than General Electric Company, and a defenseman (Kevin Bieksa) that is pretending to be a 40-goal-scorer.
Defensively, this team has been dominant ever since Game 7 of the first round, giving up 16 goals in the last nine games. They are limiting their opponents’ chances and shutting them down at times.
It may only be two games, but the team that dominated throughout the season is back on track. After being kept in check by Chicago and Nashville, the most lethal team in the NHL has broken out of its shell and the Sharks don’t seem to have a solution.
There are still six wins to go to achieve their ultimate goal. But if you had to ask me right now, stopping these Canucks is going to be awfully hard to do.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.