That was one of the most entertaining 1-0 (2-0 counting Higgins EN) games I have watched in a long time. The Canucks played a perfect game tonight, and they did it against a team that has the hottest goaltending tandem in the league right now, and who are all about grinding it out and capitalizing on the mistakes generated by a team that over commits while trying to break through the team defense that the Blue's play. Tonight Vancouver didn't over commit, they didn't get desperate for a goal, they didn't take any chances, they just played a solid, smart game, and they walked away with the 2 points and top spot in the league (we really need NYR to lose one here though, that 2 games in hand is gonna kill us otherwise).
Burrows. Scored the winner, and just did every little thing all night long. Seriously, this guy is the most underpaid player in the NHL.
Lapierre. 10 hits?
What a performance! That's what we'll need in the playoffs, and I will be surprised if we don't get it.
Kassian. Unreal game tonight. Bruising, shooting, bruising, forechecking, bruising, passing, more bruising. 3rd star for a reason.
Team defense. Poised and executing. Perfect game.
Luongo. This shutout doesn't land him on the "great" list, he didn't need to be great tonight, the team made this an easy SO for him, but he was still there when he had to be and challenged well and covered down low quickly when the blues got it below our goal line.
Rome and Gragnani. Rome was solid. No screw-ups and played well defensively. He even had a few good looks at the net by reading the defender that was going down to block the shot. Gragnani can move the puck! He's a great little passer, see's his teammates and moves the puck around the offensive zone finding the open man. I liked how he controlled the puck and got a defender to follow him a bit before dishing it across our down. Rome was the benefactor of some extra room on the point tonight because of Gragnani's play and passing.
I suppose pretty much everyone can fit into this category.
Raymond. I loved the 3-on-1 we had in the second period where Raymond gets the puck on the left wing and puts a shot right into Elliot's chest. His swan diving antics were crazy in the first period.
The officiating. So inconsistent. John and John pointed it out numerous times, but they didn't really have to.....it was that obvious. Normally I would have been screaming murder at the screen, but the team needs these games right now. They need to learn how to win 5-on-5 and with the other team given a free hand to hang off their backs, sit on them behind the net, and in general play bush league hockey. That's what is going to happen in the playoffs, and everyone knows it.
St. Louis, for their place in the standings and all the hype and success they've seen since Hitch took over, is just simply not "there" yet. They have the defense and the home-end support from the forwads, but the team just isn't at "that level" when they run into a deep team that is going to play them hard and disrupt their attack every time. That's not to say that they don't have some crazy good players that I would want on my team, I'd take Backes, Oshie, and Berglund in a heartbeat. But tonight I think the Canucks wanted to make a statement, they came in and played a flawless game defensively, kept St. Louis to the outside, gave the Blues nothing of note on offense, controlled the puck, made them chase in the offensive zone, and didn't back off or change it up after finally beating Elliot in the third period. They answered every hit and then threw some more that the Blue's didn't have an answer for. If the ref's hadn't let St. Louis play dead-puck-era-defense, there's a good chance the Canucks would have had another 4 or 5 powerplay opportunities and that could have been a huge difference maker. Regardless, a playoff series against St. Louis would be a hard one.