Two days ago we featured an article written by Roy Herron about “Elimination Day”, which, it turns out, was poorly titled. So now we ask:
Who’s more likely to pull off the unthinkable, Pittsburgh or Vancouver?
The unthinkable here, in case you’re just tuning into the playoffs, is coming back from a 3-0 series deficit. Or, in other words, going on a four game winning streak in the playoffs, which is no easy task.
The sheer volatility of the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia makes either team an uneasy pick right now. Whose proline picked Pittsburg by 7 goals last game I wonder? Did anyone pencil in Jordan Stall for a hat trick? This has been the most unpredictable series in recent memory, and I’d be lying if I said I knew how tonight’s game was going to play out.
However, I do have a theory. I think Pittsburgh will win IF Marc Andre Fluery gets it together and has, at the very least, a solid game. For some reason, call it a hunch, I feel he is more prepared to do this than Ilya Bryzgalov.
Moreover, I expect that if the Penguins tone down the after
-whistle-antics, like they did last game, they can play a more controlled, defensively sound game. If they support Fluery, and he plays decent, I think they win.
Of the two teams in need of semi-historic comebacks (how historic can it really be if it was done two years ago) I think Pittsburgh is in better shape to do so. Or, at any rate, they appear to be better suited for such a comeback purely by virtue of the fact that their series as a whole has been so unpredictable. And, true toform, they could just as easily go down tonight, though I doubt it.
Which brings me to “Canada’s Team”. I will spare Canucks fans the mean spirited denial that they are specifically not Canada’s Team, in the place of the more accurate account of no team being Canada’s Team; not the Habs, not even the Leafs. That being said, I do not think there will be a miraculous comeback for “A Canadian Team”, the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks saw some improved play with two important additions. No one should be surprised by the team inserting Daniel Sedin, head be damned, with their backs up against the wall; no more than they should be surprised by the team’s improved play with him in the lineup. However, many of us were surprised by their other addition, or was it addition by subtraction?
I am, of course, talking about Cory Schneider. The long term implications of Alain Vigneault’s decision to switch Luongo for Schneider will have catch-22-like future implications. If they pull off the near-impossible and come back I don’t see how they can go back to Luongo. If they lose and are eliminated, I don’t see how they can keep both of them. Either way a decision will be made about Vancouver’s “goalie problem” (the best goalie problem in the league) this summer. Or maybe it has already been made.
One would assume that Vigneault will go back to Schneider, who played great, on Saturday, however, his knee has been a little jerky already. If he decides to reinsert Luongo and they lose, he might lose his job.
What seemed only a week ago as a bit of a flippant decision, to start Schneider hoping to temporarily spark his team, especially considering how well Luongo played, has now turned into “Vigneault’s Choice”, and the team will live or die by it.
They lived by it here (great use of inception soundtrack):
Nevertheless, even with Daniel Sedin and Cory Schneider playing their best, Jonathan Quick looks fairly impenetrable right now, and I expect he will steal at least one more game from the Canucks.
So, in the end, and as is typically the case for the NHL playoffs, it will come down to goaltending on all fronts. May the worst one lose.
Written by Jesse Borg.