The series between Vancouver and Chicago was so analyzed by every facet of the media that I didn’t feel like focusing on regurgitating everyone’s takes on who was going to win Game 7. I watched the game and wanted to enjoy it, and I did.
But after Alex Burrows potted the series ender to atone for his missed penalty shot, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve seen a very similar story before. Fourteen months ago, almost to the day, Vancouver was the site of what was being billed as the biggest, most needed win in Canadian hockey history. The Canadian team slept through its pool play in the 2010 Olympics, but found its way into the gold medal game that everybody in the country said they had to win. They were clearly a better team than the USA, albeit not by a whole lot, and they found themselves up by 1 late in regulation. Last night, Vancouver was without a doubt the better team, and put as much pressure on Chicago as anyone has been able to do in two seasons. Last year, Jonathan Toews scored a pretty goal to open scoring for Team Canada. Last night, Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded goal that would have instantly become part of a “History Will Be Made” commercial had Chicago won the game. It also “opened the scoring” for Chicago; it was the goal that tied the game at 1 with just under two minutes to play. Toews’ goal last night was a late one on Roberto Luongo to send the game to overtime and the crowd into anxiety. Luongo allowed a similar goal last year, one to Zach Parise that brought the USA even at 2 with just 24.4 seconds to play. That goal sent the entire nation into panic mode. Both games saw Luongo do what was necessary to win, despite being crushed in the media for a week or so. And both games saw the home team score overtime winners to unleash the unbridled joy of the supporters, both inside the Rogers Centre and watching on television around the nation.