Lets start with the Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks game last night at Rogers Arena. These 2 teams were meeting for the 2nd time in less then a week. They played last wednesday in San Jose and the final was 3-2 Canucks in overtime. San Jose hadn't played since that game and Vancouver was playing for the 3rd time since that night, not to mention every game in a different city. I am not making excuses for my beloved Canucks, simply stating what hockey schedules can look like.
It all started early in the 1st period. Both Annti Niemi and Roberto Luongo were on fire. Niemi stopped 8 of 9 shots and Lou stopped 7 of 7. The one Niemi didn't stop was scored by one of my favourites Jannik Hansen, and assisted by uber cutie Cody Hodgson. Hansen, all you can say about him is he is a solid hockey player. Quiet, confident, and intelligent. He reads plays well and is quick on the breakaway. Getting the puck on his stick and making an immediate decision to skate up ice to the opposing net. It was Hansen's 12th goal of the season and he has already broke his 9 goal season from last year. 1-0 Canucks end of the 1st. Early in the 2nd Benn Ferriero scored his 3rd goal of the season to make it a 1-1 tie. Halfway through the 2nd Patrick Marleau got another for San Jose. 2-1 San Jose end of the 2nd. Into the 3rd and nothing. Niemi and Lou still going strong. Halfway through the 3rd Hodgson scores his 9th of the season! Tying up the game and taking it into overtime but not before Torrey Mitchell takes one last shot that did get past Luongo but 1/2 a second to late. Overtime starts and we hear a clang off the post. Dan Hamhuis almost got one past Niemi. Nothing settled in OT and into a shootout. Burrows, Hodgson, and Kesler took shots for Vancouver, Kesler rang his off the post. San Jose's 3rd shooter Michal Handzus got one past Lou and that was that. 3-2 San Jose. Vancouver still does pick up one point in the game though.
Onto Edmonton and Chicago. The Oilers have slowly but surely over the last few years been building a team that if they can keep these players together, will be another Oiler Dynasty. Remember the Oilers of the 80s with Gretzky? Well Hall, Eberle, and Nugent-Hopkins are all young talented players and could do a lot for this team. Case and point ? A win against one of the most consistent, strong and talented teams over the last few years, the Chicago Blackhawks. Edmonton won 4-3. Chicago opened the scoring with Jonathan Toews scoring the 1st and that was that. In the 2nd period we saw a bit more excitement. Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall scored for Edmonton to take the lead. Andrew Brunette then scored for Chicago. Andy Sutton then went and scored one more for Edmonton, end of the 2nd period 3-2 Edmonton. Into the 3rd former Blackhawk Ben Eager scored for Edmonton to take a 2 goal lead. Jimmy Hayes then scored for Chicago but it wasn't enough. Edmonton took the win 4-3. Corey Crawford stopped 26 of 30 shots and Devan Dubnyk stopped 39 of 42 shots. Dubnyk is a force to be reckoned with.
Onto the Winter Classic. The 5th annual game played outside over the New Year Holiday. This year it was between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. The final was 3-2 Rangers. Philly actually scored the 1st 2 goals after a scoreless 1st period. New York scored 1 in the 2nd to end it 2-1 Philly. The Rangers came back to score two more in the 3rd. But at the end of the 3rd Philly was given a penalty shot. Twenty seconds left in the 3rd period and Danny Briere can tie it for his team. He didn't get the goal and goalie Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers celebrated a little after keeping the penatly shot out. Philly kept there #1 goalie Ilya Bryzgalov out and played their back up Sergei Bobrovsky. My favourite part of this game, the NY Rangers jerseys! Beautiful, vintage and I wish they would wear those all the time.
World Juniors are winding down but heating up at the same time. Team Canada will play Team Russia today at 5:30pm. This time instead of the 2 teams meeting in the final they are meeting in the semi final. For anyone who doesn't know. Canada and Russia played in the gold medal game last year in Buffalo. The arena was filled with Canadian fans. Canada took a 3-0 lead and it was blown in the 3rd period when Russia scored 5 goals. One of the 4 returning players is goalie Mark Visentin. Visentin was the goalie in net for Canada that game and I personally admire that he has excepted the invitation and came back this year to play. Visentin is not starting tonight, instead head coach Don Hay chose Scott Wedgewood to play. I am sensing a win from Canada meaning Visentin will be starting in the gold medal game. Again, like I have said before, I would rather have to pick between two fantastic goaltenders rather then have a great starter and ok back up. GO CANADA GO!