Let’s see now: CBC’s Don Cherry predicted the Ottawa Senators would fare well in their playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that has him looking pretty good (in spite of that absurd wardrobe of his.) NBC’s Brett Hull predicted the Calgary Flames would upset the Detroit Red Wings and, oops, looks like he’s fanned on that shot.
And, now for your consideration, we submit a prediction from Sportsnet’s John Garrett that the third Canadian team in the NHL playoffs, the Canucks, are strolling on Easy Street in their series against the Dallas Stars.
“I think the Stars are in big trouble,” Garrett said yesterday, less than 24 hours after the Canucks took a 2-1 series lead in Dallas with a 2-1 overtime victory.
“I’m sure they’re thinking, ‘We can’t score. We can’t put teams away. And, every time we go into overtime, we lose.’”
Indeed, the Stars are woeful in OT. They’ve lost six consecutive overtime games in the playoffs and nine of the past 10 since 2001, including that memorable quadruple OT last week, when the Canucks prevailed 5-4 in the wee hours of the series opener.
It’s reached the point where the Stars’ opponents think they can actually sense nervousness in them in late, close-game situations.
“When we scored (the tying goal on Sunday night), we could tell they looked scared,’ revealed Jan Bulis, who fired the Canucks’ goal in the third period. “They never found their rhythm after that and it was up to us to take it.”
Oh, and they did. And while Dallas goaltender Marty Turco is trying to shed the label of playoff underachiever, Vancouver counterpart Roberto Luongo is excelling in the first playoff series of his career. He saved 29 shots on Sunday night, including a few spectacular ones while on his back.
“Roberto’s our MVP,” Bulis said. “When we can’t score or when we can’t get things together offensively, which was the case in the first two periods (Sunday night), Luongo keeps us in games. We know that, as long as he’s in our net, we have a chance to win, no matter what.”
Bottom line: Luongo isn’t only the Canucks’ MVP. He’s the NHL’s MVP. And, really, he’s the main reason the Canucks will advance beyond Dallas. Just as Garrett is predicting.