Red Lights and Bad Blood-Nucks v.s. Notes preview

Joel Quineville called it “One of the best regular season games of all time” when the Canucks hosted the Blues in a 4-4 tie nearly a month ago. It’s hard to believe one of these high powered offenses will be gone by the 2nd round, get ready for war! Western conference style.SEASON SERIES:

Canucks 104 pts-Blues 99 pts

Vancouver won season series 2-1-1-0 and outscored the Blues 18-11.

Notables: The Blues weren’t happy with Brad May’s wrist shattering hit on Keith Tkachuck and still aren’t, alledgedly threatening the safety Markus Naslund, ALLEDGEDLY.

-Dan Cloutier was steamed after a Scott Mellanby goal in their first meeting, enough to come out and challenge the old man to fisticuffs; Mellanby declined.

-Eric Boguniecki meet Matt Cooke; Cooke-Boguniecki

-In a possible act of revenge for high sticking Mattias Ohlund; Murray Baron runs Tkatchuk from behind into the boards and no penalty is called

-In their last meeting of the season, Jovanovski bumped Stillman after an empty net goal and a brawl ensued that saw Naslund get socked by Scott Mellanby

OFFENSE:

Naslund-Morrison-Bertuzzi Tkachuk-Demitra-Mellanby

Sedin-Sedin-Linden Stillman-Weight-Boguniecki

Klatt-Lindgren-May Bure-Cajanek-Podien

Cooke-Chubarov-Letowski Nash-Johnson-Drake

With 2 of hockey’s highest scoring teams hooking up, you can gaurantee a wide open affair, with both teams loaded with offensive weapons. Depending where you draw the line, the Blues have the greater depth with 2 solid scoring lines, but Vancouver has 2 players that can change the look of a game singlehandedly and are looking to make up for past post-season performances.

Watch For:

Tkachuck: longtime Canuck killer, Keith has been a thorn in the side of the Canucks all year and will be looking for some serious revenge after controversial hits from Murray Baron and Brad May.

Morrison: His small stature and speed will be a benefit in a wide open series; looking to continue strong play versus Notes and make up for last year’s playoffs.

Advantage: Vancouver

DEFENSE:

Malik-Jovanovski Jackman-MaCinnis

Ohlund-Sopel Pronger-Laflamme

Baron-Salo Finley-Khavanov

Vancouver defense wins in both the offense and defense (better GAA) departments, but the return of Chris Pronger changes everything. The Calder candidate Jackman and Norris candidate MaCinnis give the Blues the edge.

Watch For:

Chris Pronger: Hasn’t been his usual self since his return, but now the Blues have someone strong enough to counter number 44 (the other one). Pronger v.s. Bertuzzi will be a hell of a battle.

Mattias Ohlund: Like Pronger, Mattias’ return is vital to Vancouver success as he is an ice time leader and will be counted upon to shut down the Blues top players.

Advantage: St. Louis

GOALTENDING:

Cloutier v.s. Osgood

Auld Johnson

The achilles heel of both these teams comes between the pipes, with Osgood having a terrible year and Cloutier coming off a knee injury. Dan shined in his first 2 games with the Blues but was less than stellar in their last meeting in which he allowed 4 goals. Cloutier, I believe, is the better goaltender but Osgood has been there and done that and could surprise in the playoffs.

Advantage: Vancouver

My Prediction: For what it’s worth, I’ll take the Canucks in 7.


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