Canucks Defeat Sharks to Take Game 1

Talk about living up to expectations. The first game of the Western Conference Final was absolutely brilliant. Fast paced and hard hitting, the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks are clearly evenly matched. This, folks, is going to be an amazing series. The Canucks showed why they won the Presidents Trophy, coming from behind to win Game 1 3-2.

The first period started with a push. Literally. Joe Thornton was actually thrown out of the faceoff circle to begin the game after jostling with Ryan Kesler. It was a quick first period, highlighted by two gigantic body checks, the best coming from Alex Edler on Joe Pavelski. Joe Thornton scored his third goal of the playoffs after capitalizing on a poor Roberto Luongo give away. Luongo, infamous in Vancouver for his questionable puck play, passed the puck to Dan Hamhuis, but it was easily intercepted by Joe Thornton and his long reach, and then promptly put into the back of the net. It happened with less than two minutes left in the First period.

It took the wind out of the Canucks' sails, but they came out determined into the second period. Maxim Lapierre took a beautiful Jannik Hansen feed from behind the net, and shot it five hole on Sharks goalie Annti Niemi, who was brilliant on the night.

Less than seven minutes later however, Patrick Marleau tipped a Dan Boyle point shot over the glove of Luongo for the 2-1 lead.

The third period was a statement by the Canucks. The later stages of the second period too. The Sedin twins and Alex Burrows sprung to life, absolutely dominating play when they were on the ice. First, it was a Henrik Sedin like pass from Alex Burrows to Kevin Bieksa, who potted it high blocker side on Niemi. Shooting it high should be a goal for the Canucks, because he is unbeatable down low.

Then, on the powerplay, after a really bad penalty by Dany Heatley, Henrik Sedin took a Christian Ehrhoff pass and deked Niemi, scoring his second of the playoffs and his first game winning goal.

The Sedin Twins are back. They don't have a stud defenseman to contend with, and it shows. However, Ryan Kesler was invisible offensively for most of the night. Hopefully both can click at the same time for the Canucks, as that would make them unstoppable.

Game 2 goes Wednesday, but expect this game to go 7.