The 2021-’22 hockey season officially ended for the Vancouver Canucks organization on Wednesday night when the AHL Abbotsford Canucks were swept from Calder Cup playoffs in two games.
Abby lost to the Bakersfield Condors in California 2-1 and 3-2 with both games featuring late game heroics from the home team, including a late tying goal and an overtime victory in Game-1. Spencer Martin, next year’s presumed NHL back-up goalie to Thatcher Demko for the Vancouver Canucks, made 75 saves over two nights for Abbotsford.
The Condors are the American Hockey League affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers …
… Those NHL Oilers made a statement on Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“We’re not going through this again.”
Bounced in the qualifying round two years ago, swept in the first round by the Winnipeg Jets last season, and then surprised Monday night to start the postseason at home as Game-1 losers 4-3 to the LA Kings, the Oilers bounced back in a big way with a 6-0 win in Game-2.
Evander Kane was the scoring star in this one with two goals and an assist. Leon Draisaitl’s power play goal at 1:22 of the 2nd period to open the scoring turned out to be the game winner. Goalie Mike Smith made 22 saves for the shut-out.
Parade Route on Hold
It’s not Stanley Cup playoff season without Toronto Maple Leafs parade route jokes. They’re even common inside what is now called the Scotiabank Arena. The club hasn’t won the Stanley Cup and therefore held the celebratory parade since 1967.
The Maple Leafs looked like world beaters in Game-1 on Monday night, handing the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-0 drubbing. The Leafs won all the puck battles and dominated the special teams. Cue the floats.
Wednesday night the champs got up off the mat and evened with series with a 5-3 victory, keeping in mind that two of the Toronto goals came very late in the game in a last ditch effort. Cancel the bands.
The best-of-seven series goes to Tampa tied 1-1 with the Lightning looking more like themselves, although it’s generally accepted that they’re still not close to playing their complete brand of full throttle hockey.
Tampa Bay went 3-for-7 on the power play and featured five different goal scorers in game-2. Both teams had 34 shots-on-goal.
We’ll see how the Maple Leafs respond on the road on Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm pacific. It’ll be interesting to see if and when the psychology takes over, with one team knowing they can do it because they’ve done it, and the other one potentially failing because it’s that to which they’re accustomed.
— While the Oilers have an ECHL (‘double-A’) pro affiliate, the Wichita (Kansas) Thunder, the Vancouver Canucks do not. Players under contract playing at that level are loaned out to various ECHL clubs.
For example, when goalie Arturs Silovs was recently called up to the Canucks to back-up Martin at the end of the NHL season due to injuries to Jaroslav Halak and Demko, he was playing for the Trois-Rivieres Lions, the ECHL farm team of the Montreal Canadiens.
— The next event on the Vancouver Canucks hockey calendar is the club’s amateur scouting meetings from May 9th to the 12th.