Kevin Bieksa called it an ugly goal. But really, for the Vancouver Canucks and their long-suffering fans, it was a thing of beauty. Never mind the puck took a fortuitous bounce off the glass and somehow ended up in the middle of the ice where Bieksa managed to flutter a shot past startled San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 10:18 of double overtime to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup final. "I just tried to put it on net," Bieksa said in a joyous Canucks dressing room after their 3-2 Western Conference series-clinching win in Game 5. "That's the first thought. When it went in, I just yelled out 'let's go to the Cup.' It's a good feeling. "It's an ugly goal, but definitely one we'll take." No kidding. As legendary broadcaster Jim Robson put it so succinctly, yet eloquently, exactly 17 years ago: the Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup final! And this time, they'll be favoured to win it all. "Obviously it feels unbelievable," Bieksa said. "To go to the Stanley Cup finals is a dream come true." It was an unbelievably entertaining game that was full of twists and turns. The Sharks went down with one heck of a fight, as they outshot the Canucks 56-34. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo was terrific. "He was unreal," winger Alex Burrows said of Luongo. "But every time he gets 50 shots he's pretty good normally. Those old Florida days, he has a lot of experience with that. He was unbelievable tonight. He had some big saves, looked big and played with confidence." The Canucks will meet either the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning in the Cup final. Boston leads the Eastern final 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled for Wednesday in Tampa Bay (5 p.m. faceoff). If the Bruins clinch the series Wednesday, the Cup final could start as early as Saturday night at Rogers Arena.
Bieksa-lent! Canucks beat Sharks in double OT, advance to Stanley Cup final
Vancouver Sun | May 25