Kevin Bieksa scored a strange goal in the second overtime and eliminated the San Jose Sharks sending the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals. Vancouver who defeated San Jose 3-2 has not made it to the Stanley Cup Final for 17 years when they defeated Toronto also in overtime in 1994. They will now wait to see if they will play Boston or Tampa Bay for the Stanley Cup.
The first period started out with both teams having chances to score but both goalies made big saves to keep the game scoreless. The Sedin twins worked their magic as Vancouver got the all important first goal of the elimination game. The puck was turned over in the San Jose end and Daniel Sedin passed the puck to Henrik Sedin and he found Alex Burrows alone in front of the San Jose net and Burrows made no mistake beating Niemi and Vancouver had a 1-0 lead. The first period however, was dominated by San Jose as they outshot Vancouver 15-6 and the only reason San Jose did not score was because of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. San Jose had a 5 on 3 advantage and had many good chances to score, especially Joe Thornton who had a point blank shot to tie the score but Luongo slid over to keep San Jose off the score sheet, San Jose looked like they were not going to make this easy for Vancouver.
Vancouver came out strong early in the second period and got back to their skating game and had a chance to go up 2-0 but Christopher Taney hit the post. About three minutes later Kevin Bieksa took a hi-sticking penalty and it didn’t take long for San Jose to tie the game. Dan Boyle shot from the point was deflected by Patrick Marleau and it beat Luongo and the game was tied 1-1. Vancouver had some good late pressure as Daniel Sedin had a chance in front of Niemi but his shot slid by the post.
San Jose scored: 24 in to the third period to take the lead 2-1. Luongo took a gamble and came out of his net to beat Joe Pavelski to the puck but he didn’t make it on time and Pavelski passed the puck to Devin Setoquchi and Setoquchi shot the puck in to the open net. Vancouver started to force the play after the San Jose go ahead goal spending more time in the San Jose end as I’m sure they don’t want to have to go back to San Jose for game 6 and it looked like there was going to be a game 6 with less than a minute to play, however, Vancouver was able to tie the game with :14 left. Henrik Sedin’s shot was deflected by Ryan Kesler and eluded Niemi and the game went in to overtime.
It took double overtime to decide a winner and the game ended on a strange play. Alexander Edler’s shot hit the partition in the glass and it bounced to Kevin Bieksa at the point and his shot eluded a stunned Niemi and Vancouver won the game 3-2. When Edler’s shot hit the partition most of the player’s did not know where the puck went and assumed it went out of play, however, Bieksa knew exactly where it was and he got the game winner. Vancouver will now have a few days off as they wait to see who they will play in the Stanley Cup Final.
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Written by Kevin Kelly