At first, the Vancouver Canucks didn't expect their team to make the playoffs at all, but, the Bure-less Canucks put in a grueling effort and managed to capture the 8th and final seed of the Ron Barr Conference. They were faced up against an extremely talented Buffalo Sabres team coached by Jrodimus so they knew this wouldn't be easy.
Game 1: The opening game in HSBC Arena wasn't as lopsided as some expected it to be. The Sabres were up 3-0 going into the 3rd period. The Canucks knew that this was the time were they just had to come in the clutch. Paul Coffey scored coast to coast just 18 seconds into the third making it a 3-1 game. Buffalo answered back by a goal from Alex Mogilny, his 2nd of the night. It was 4-1, and it seemed almost over, but the Canucks never gave up, as they just continued to attack the Buffalo defense. Now was time for Mr. Clutch, Captain Canuck,Trevor Linden, etc. to shine. Captain Canuck assisted a goal by Robataille with 3 minutes to go, and then Robataille returned the favor by assisting Linden with 20 seconds to go. That was it for the Canucks, but they came awfully close, the final score was
VAN 3 @ BUF 4
Game 2: The Sabres were just ripping it up in Game 2 while the Canucks seemed like they couldn't even hit the side of a barn. The Sabres were already up 4-0 by the end of the first period, and they continued their success throughout the game. Peter Bondra and Luc Robataille tried to work some of their magic, and they did for a bit, but the force of young Mogilny was too strong as he overpowered the helpless Vancouver Canucks team. Captain Canuck was a no show, just like the rest of the Canucks.. final score:
VAN 4 @ BUF 10
Game 3: The Canucks knew that if they wanted to have a chance at winning this series, they would have to step it up in game 3 at home in Vancouver. For the first time in the series, the Canucks had the lead as who else but Trevor Linden scored the first goal of the game to give the Nucks an early 1-0 lead. Buffalo stormed back, scoring 3 goals and having a 3-1 lead. The Canucks had many missed opportunities, but they finally potted home another goal courtesy of Luc Robataille (assisted by Trevor Linden). The Sabres just kept their offensive attack going though, as they scored 2 more goals and eventually won the game
BUF 5 @ VAN 2
Game 4: This was it for the Canucks. Win, or go home. The entire team knew they would have to have their A games ready to roar. Although the other games were very exciting, this one definetely topped them all. The Sabres struck first as Tony Amonte scored from a beautiful onetimer pass from Mogilny, but, not to be outdone, Luc Robataille scored on a one timer pass from Bondra on the 5on3 PP. The game was tied. James Patrick scored at the end of the 1st period as the Buffalo Sabres were going into the second period up 2-1. Bondra and Robataille scored 2 quick goals in the second period to take the 3-2 lead. Once again, the high powered Sabres offense struck back, scoring 2 goals of their own, courtesy of none other than Alexander Mogilny. Bondra scored a nice floater goal at the end of the second period, so the score was tied 4-4, going into the most important period of the Canucks lives. Dave Manson got into some penalty trouble in the dying seconds of the second period, so in the third period Denis Savard scored from a great one timer feed from Vincent Damphousse. Almost a minute later, also on the PP, Peter Bondra scored on a perfect breakaway pass from Dave Manson. The game was tied at 5, and we were going to OOOVVEERRRRTIIIME!! 38 seconds in, Luc Robataille..waiting in the slot.. received the pass from Manson and scored!! The roof literally came off GM Place because the fans were so loud as they erupted with joy. The Canucks still had hope! And in case you were wondering, the new roof will be installed in the offseason.
BUF 5 @ VAN 6 OT
Game 5: After an enormous win at home, the Vancouver Canucks travelled back to Buffalo looking to continue their short lived success. Paul Coffey kicked things off, scoring 2:38 seconds into game 5, and the Canucks were in the lead. After a Buffalo goal, Lucky Luc Robataille regained the lead as he scored from another one of those deadly 99 accuracy one timers. Then something the Canucks had least expected happened. Just 12 seconds after Roby's goal, Damphousse scored on a quick one timer. Then, about 30 seconds later, Denis Savard scored from a one timer. That was not the end.. Just 9 seconds after that goal, Alexander Mogilny stormed in and roofed it on the Dominator.The score was then 4-2 for the Sabres as the Canucks just couldn't handle the high octane offense of the Sabres. A timeout was called as there was 3 minutes left in the second period. The Canucks never gave up, scoring 2 goals before the second period ended, both scored by Peter Bondra floaters. The score was 4-4 going into the third period again. Could the Canucks pull out a win again? During the third period, Dominik Hasek kept the Canucks alive making save after save after save after save. Eventually, Alexander Mogilny got to him, and just like that, the Canucks were staring elimination in the face, with just under 3 minutes to go. Andy Moog was also strong on the Buffalo side, not allowing a game 6 to be heard of. The Canucks gave their all, but just couldn't pull out a win against the incredibly coached and skilled Buffalo Sabres.
VAN 4 @ BUF 5
MVP of the Series: Alexander Mogilny - BUF - he was unstoppable, scoring every game, and delivering bone crushing checks while dangling through the Canucks D
Best Goalie: Dominik Hasek - VAN - made a ton of saves, but couldn't carry the team to a series victory
Unsung Hero: Vincent Damphousse - BUF - played a huge part in this series, tacking up key assists and goals en route to a series win
Dedicated Player: Trevor Linden - VAN - Captain Canuck worked his ass off, trying to lead the Canucks to victory, but even his fair share of points couldn't overcome the Sabres
great series Jrod, you are a class act and good luck the rest of the way