I got home from a function near midnight, but there was no way I was going to wait til this morning to watch this masterpiece.
I was very impressed with how well these two teams can entertain. Toronto is without a doubt a vastly improved team since Burke first took over, but I do find it a little humorous how they are nothing like ol' Papa Bear promised they'd be (belligerence, truculence blah blah blah) Colton Orr was certainly a huge factor in this game.
Having said that, TO will still be in tough to make the playoffs this year without a little luck on their side. Sure they have one of the top lines in the league (right now) but after Lupul and Kessel, they have Dion and Liles manning the point (who can't play D for shit) and a bunch of depth guys in support. If one of the aforementioned goes down long-term this club is in trouble. They still don't have a legit #1 in net, while Bozak seems to be a solid #2C at best, they're depth down the middle leaves (<see wot) a lot to be desired.
Schenn is going to be a real stud shut-down guy one day, if he isn't already. I also think that Frattin kid could turn out to be a real player as well. All in all, this club still has some glaring holes to fill, but fortunately for them, they play in an injury decimated Eastern Conference where the only real threat seems to be Boston again. That alone might allow this group to squeak in since, fuck I don't even know how long its been
As for Vancouver, I was really proud of the guys tonight. They showed not just the nation, but Sweden and beyond just how deadly they can be if the opposition tries to take them on head on run n' gun. It just ain't gonna happen against this group. Vancouver didn't even need the power play to bury these guys, Toronto may be able to keep up offensively, but they're defensive game was picked apart by both Hank and Kes's line. Depth, discipline and superior skill on every line dictated the outcome for this match and had it not been for Ballard's disallowed goal, Vancouver would have buried that team a lot earlier.
Burr, Hank, Danny, Kes, Hansen, Raymond
Burke may have acquired them, but its been the Gillis regime that has allowed the super stars to flourish and the lesser-lites to really succeed.
Further Leaf killers: Dion and Lupul for their dreadful coverage without possession of the puck. This club may make the playoffs, but if they don't learn how to check and defend they won't last a week in April against playoff savvy Boston, Philly or Pitts.
Lastly, did I hear Cherry praising Luongo while predicting this club to go to the final again?!?