From Apr. 1-10, ProHockeyTalk will be counting down the Top 10 moments from the 2011 postseason.
Here’s No. 6 — Alex Burrows scoring a series-winning goal for Vancouver against its hated rival, Chicago.
On the morning of Apr. 18, all was well with the Vancouver Canucks. They woke up owning a commanding 3-0 series lead in their opening-round playoff series with Chicago, with goalie Roberto Luongo allowing just five goals over three games.
But eight days later — on the morning of Tues, Apr. 26 — the Canucks were a far different bunch.
They’d blown their seemingly insurmountable series lead in spectacular fashion — losing 7-2, 5-0 and 4-3 (overtime) — and even replaced Luongo in goal with Cory Schneider after Luongo got torched in Games 4 and 5.
The Canucks headed into the decisive Game 7 looking to exorcise their playoff demons and eliminate the team that had ended each of their last two seasons.
In overtime, Alex Burrows did exactly that:
After the game, Burrows told reporters winning the way they did was perfect for the Canucks.
“I think it feels even better getting it done this way,” he said. “We didn’t make it easy on ourselves.”
Over the long haul, we all did pretty well with our predictions for the 2011 playoffs. There wasn’t a Cinderella team anywhere near the shocking level of the 2009 Montreal Canadiens or 2006 Edmonton Oilers to make everyone look silly. Instead, this year’s playoffs were like a class everyone did pretty well in all along … until final exams handed us C’s and F’s (except for one handsome/beautiful group of students). Hopefully that final test doesn’t wreck our overall grades, though.
Let’s take a look at how everyone did in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals and the 2011 playoffs overall.
The Nashville Predators gave up a pretty nice package to acquire two-way center Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators, but they’ll be glad they did it if Mr. Carrie Underwood keeps belting out great tunes. Fisher scored two goals and one assist while Pekka Rinne stopped 27 out of 28 shots to power the Predators to a dominant Game 1 road win against the Anaheim Ducks.
As red-hot as the Ducks came into the playoffs, the Predators seem like an especially tough matchup for Anaheim. Nashville has strong goaltending, a stingy defense and a nice group of low-profile, versatile forwards.
Even if this win was somewhat predictable, the actual one-sided nature of the outcome was a bit startling.
Shea Weber began the scoring, Steve Sullivan made it 2-0 and then Fisher took over with two more goals. Teemu Selanne did what he does best by scoring on the power play midway through the third period, but by then it was just about preserving some dignity.
Dan Ellis had a rough game against his former team, getting pulled early in the third period after allowing four goals on only 24 shots. Ray Emery actually filled in for Ellis, stopping all six shots in relief. Is this a sign Emery could step in full-time if needed?
Rinne didn’t get a shutout like Marc-Andre Fleury or Roberto Luongo tonight, but he was still impressive against the Ducks. It was a relatively “easy” win for Nashville, but chances are good that they haven’t seen the best of Anaheim just yet.