For the first time in 17 years, the Vancouver Canucks will be going back to the Stanley Cup Finals after defeating the San Jose Sharks in 3-2 in double OT.
There were many reasons why the Canucks were destined to go to the Stanley Cup Final this year. Among them was Roberto Luongo. Luongo carried the team on his shoulders in game five, evoking memories the legendary Canucks goaltender, Kirk McLean, stopping 54 of the 56 shots he faced.
Ryan Kessler cemented his hero status in Canuck folk-lore after seemingly injuring himself, Kessler returned to the ice to score a tip in goal that tied the game at 2-2 with just 14 seconds left to play.
In double overtime, the Canucks finally got the fortuitous bounce that so often has gone the other way. On a broken play, the puck took a funny bounce off the partition and no one seemed to know where it was, except Kevin Bieksa. Bieksa seized the moment and shot a muffin that managed to find the back of the net.
The goal by Bieksa sent Rogers Arena into a frenzy, it sent the city of Vancouver into complete pandemonium and it sent the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final.
Ironically, 17 years ago to the day, Greg Adams scored a double OT goal in game 5 of the Western Conference Final to send the 94’ Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. The difference this year was that Henrik Sedin didn’t lay a finger on the trophy, the Canucks are after a bigger piece of hardware.
Thousands of Canuck fans took the streets of downtown Vancouver to celebrate and I had to join the madness. There were people hanging out of cars, horns honking all night, and lots of merry Canadians singing and chanting, “We want the cup”.
The party in the streets wasn’t quite like the CalvinAyre.com Anniversary Party, but in a word, the scene was “epic.”