Playoff Fever – Finally

Vancouver Canucks could be excused for thinking ahead (again) before , during and after their game with Calgary Flames Saturday – a 3-2 overtime win over their Albertan division rivals.

The Canucks have been pretending to ignore Stanley Cup playoff fever for several weeks now while closing out the few remaining games of their best ever regular NHL season as first-time President’s Cup champs. Last night third period goals by Alex Burrows (his 26th) and Ryan Kesler (his 41st) erased a 2-0 Flame lead before a Christian Ehrhoff  goal (his 14th put a merciful end to the Canucks’ (and Flames) 2010-11 regular campaign.

Canucks’ inserted rugged fourth liner Tanner Glass into Raffi Torres’ third line spot in Calgary (Torres was serving the second game of his four-game suspension for his late season head-hit on Edmonton Oilers’ forward Jordan Eberle). For salary cap reasons, they inserted defenceman Aaron Rome on to the fourth line as a winger.

Canuck goalie Cory Schneider played his 25th game of the season in net – giving Roberto Luongo the night off. Winger Daniel Sedin, who picked up two assists, clinched the NHL scoring title with 104 points, finishing five points ahead of Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. Goaltenders  Luongo and Schneider will get their names on the William Jennings Trophy as the Canucks allowed the fewest goals in the league.

Now the Canucks await the Sunday NHL games to determine if they face either Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings or their recent playoff nemesis – the Chicago Black Hawks.

Cono Spitale

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