Opening game thriller - Metro US

Opening game thriller

With the Lower Mainland sweating a mean bout of playoff fever, Metro reporter Weston Steele checks out three Downtown bars in three-and-a-half periods to watch the Vancouver Canucks edge the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime.

Period 1:

Here we go, Game 1 and Doolins Irish Pub is ready to rock the first period.

It isn’t packed yet but by the time the first goal goes in, the place explodes. A series of huge hits gets the game going, but back-and-forth action keeps the crowd animated. Roberto Luongo’s first big save elicits a series of “Luu” chants.

Under five minutes to go in the first and still no score. Steve Wheatley, a Montreal Canadiens fan, just saw his Habs upset the high-flying Washington Capitals and would like nothing more than an all-Canadian sweep tonight.

“It’s going to be a good grinding effort and we’ll see,” says Wheatley.

Not three minutes later, the Canucks get the game’s first power play and start buzzing the net, but no dice, they come up empty.

Period 2:

The air is sucked out of the Keg in Yaletown when the Kings score the first goal 54 seconds into the period. Two minutes later the place erupts in jubilation as Mikael Samuelsson scores first goal on the Canucks’ second power play.

And then there’s a beauty, as Daniel Sedin backhands the puck over John Quick after receiving a patented feed from brother Henrik nearly halfway through the period. The Sedins are on tonight and the fans want a blowout, but the Kings are hanging on.

It doesn’t take long for the Kings to tie the game. Andrew Alberts slams Brad Richardson’s head into the boards and receives a five-minute penalty. The Kings make quick work as Fredrik Modin buries it past Luongo and the bar gets even quieter.

The nervousness is evident, but Garfield Corbett is confident in the Canucks’ depth and believes they just need solid goaltending from their $7-million man.

“The only question mark is Luongo,” said Corbett. “As far as question marks go, that’s not a bad one to have because if he catches fire, it’s game over.”

Period 3:

Here we go, third period. G Sports Bar and Grill on Davie puts the Keg and Doolins to shame with atmosphere. If you’re not yelling, no one hears you and that’s especially true on the Canucks’ first power play of the period. Chance after chance, and cheer after cheer, the team can’t put the puck in the cage.

A series of quality scoring chances with six minutes left trigger agonized groans when the puck seems to trickle just wide every shot.

The final few seconds solve nothing and fans are gearing up for overtime.

Less than nine minutes into the extra frame, the place erupts as Samuelsson nets his second of the night and the Canucks take Game 1.

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