The Vancouver Canucks began their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup Wednesday Night, hosting the San Jose Sharks to begin the first round of the playoffs. Vancouver is a city dying to lift that elusive first championship banner to their rafters. In the past five seasons, the Canucks have entered the playoffs with high expectations of winning a Stanley Cup. The team made one Finals appearance, losing to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
The Canucks entered the 2013 NHL playoffs with high expectations once again, holding the number three seed and home ice advantage for round one. Every home team has won game one of all the playoff series so far, the Sharks did not get that memo.
Antti Niemi was spectacular for the Sharks tonight, saving 29 of the shots he faced, in route to a 3-1 victory over the Canucks. The Fins received goals from Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Dan Boyle. Boyle’s goal broke a 1-1 deadlock in the third period. Kevin Bieska scored the lone goal for the Canucks in the first period; Niemi stifled their offense for the rest of the game.
Roberto Luongo put in a good effort for Vancouver, saving 25 of 28 shots. There was very little Luongo could do about a couple of the pucks that went by him tonight. With so little offense, it’s hard to point the finger of blame in Luongo’s direction. However, it is becoming very apparent that the Canucks do play better hockey in front of Cory Schneider, who is currently sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
It wasn’t the start they had hoped for, but Vancouver needs to erase the game one loss from memory and move forward with two thoughts in mind, “Luongo is our starting goalie and we must get more pucks on net.”