Young versus the restless
It turns out the playoff version of the Calgary Flames was the exact same squad that folded down the stretch in the regular season.
Despite the weak effort by Calgary, they still had their share of leads in their Round 1 tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks only to surrender them, thanks to some below-average goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.
If the Canucks find themselves in a similar situation, don't look for the same result with Roberto Luongo in the net. There is a massive difference in facing Kipper's C game versus Bobby Lu's A game.
The Flames did nothing to frustrate the young inexperienced Blackhawks. The best way to expose youth is to smother them defensively and force them out of their comfort zone. Toss a spike belt in the neutral zone, nullifying those quick 'Hawk wheels. My money is on Coach AV setting up a game plan that will keep the 'Hawks to the outside much like he did with the Blues.
The Hawks will no doubt come off Round 1 on a big confidence high. The reality of the situation is that confidence could wither quickly once the young 'Hawks realize this is no longer the undermanned and overrated Calgary Flames. Instead it's the hottest team with the hottest goaltender, the deepest defence and the healthiest and most rested team in the playoffs.
Pretty much the polar opposite of the Flames.
It appears the Windy City feels their battle with the Canucks will be anything but a breeze.
Here is a sampling of how 'Hawk fans feel about their opponents. (Courtesy of the Blackhawkzone message board)
- Luongo really scares me. That frickin' guy only gave up 5 goals on 131 shots in their sweep of the Blues. Hopefully his week off will cool his game a bit, but I doubt it.
- Canucks D is tough and our forwards will be much more challenged. Then there is Luongo - definitely an A-lister.
- Moose Vasko
- This is going to come down to goaltending. We could potentially completely outplay the 'Casucks' and still lose the series.
- I'm still pissed off at Vancouver for beating us in the conference finals in 1982, The Canucks uniforms back then looked like they all worked at Burger King.
- Musky Bear