When I think of the best of sports, I always think of those electric moments. Those moments when you lean forward in your chair, stand up, your eyes widen, you concentrate on nothing but the scene in front of you. I believe that hockey has more of Those Moments than any other sport. That’s even more the case in the playoffs. These finals have been great, with the biggest negative knowing that after this, hockey’s over for the next few months. As I typed this part, the Bruins came out, and I had to stop to watch the home crowd go crazy over their team. Another moment was in Vancouver when the anthem singer stopped singing, to let the crowd belt out O Canada. Hockey’s the best. Onto the game!
1. I started watching the game thinking Vancouver’s going to come out angry, embarrassed, and looking to put Game 3 behind them. Turns out, the game started kind of hesitant. More physical stuff than actual gameplay. But after a few minutes, both teams picked it up and had great chances.
2. If you ever wondered what place hitting has in hockey, you just needed to hear the roar of the crowd when the Bruins threw a big check. There’s nothing like a clean monster check to get the fans loud and supporting the team.
3. Emrick got his “waffleboarded away” out of the way early this game. He says it once a game, just about every game. He also made a Devils reference, so I feel safe making a Rangers comment. The last time these teams made the Finals, they lost to a Mark Messier-captained team. Boston to Mess and the Oilers in 90, and Vancouver to…. Well, you know.
4. Taking away reputations and numbers, Luongo looks so much cooler and in control than Thomas in the crease. Thomas is jumping all around, and diving everywhere, but Luongo looks square to 90 percent of the shots he sees. That being said, Thomas had to deal with a lot of traffic and good chances and played like a madman, and Luongo had to suffer another loss, being pulled, and having Vancouver fans cheer it.
5. Can anybody believe that Boston’s outscoring Vancouver… on the Vancouver power play?
6. That little flurry Boston had, right at the midpoint of the 1st period, they had about 5 shots, from right in front of the goal, only got about 1 shot on Luongo, and couldn’t score. That reminded me of the 5 minute power play they had last game, where they didn’t score. That’s the type of situation that can deflate you. Game 3, they were able to move on and win. This game, Peverley scored 2 minutes later, and Boston took the lead for good. That’s the resilience and character that can win you hockey games.
7. This series could really go down to a battle of 2 guys who play 180 feet from each other. Both teams are playing hard, physical, getting good chances but Thomas has really outdueled Luongo the past 2 games, with Lou taking games 1 and 2.
8. Speaking of Luongo, does he realize the game keeps going after he lets in 2 goals? The past 2 games, it just seems like he and his team just let up after going down. That’s the compete that Boston’s shown and Vancouver hasn’t.
9. Hockey’s about the little things. You do the little things right, or wrong, and it can snowball from there. Chara races to keep the puck in the zone. Henrik Sedin hands off a lazy pass at the side of his own net. Bieksa goes for a lazy hip check on Lucic. All lead to goals. That’s one of the wonderful things about hockey. It keeps you honest, you have to make the right plays.
10. Higgins had a last gasp attempt for the Canucks to get back into the game, but was stopped on the breakaway. Interesting note on him… I didn’t think much of him as a Ranger, but he’s one of the few players that benefitted a team both when they traded for him (getting rid of the Gomez contract), and also when they traded him away (getting Prust in return).
11. After Game 2, Boston looked like they couldn’t solve Vancouver and put up goals. They needed to win 4 out of the next 5 games. Since then, they’ve out-scored Vancouver 12-1, and only now need to win 2 out of 3. Let’s all hope for at least 1 more win out of each team, and let this get decided in Game 7.
12. Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Carp for this opportunity. This is one of my coolest hockey-related experiences this year, and I really enjoyed doing this. I only hope I did him proud, and you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it.