As almost always happens in these situations, a lucky bounce settled the score.
The Vancouver Canucks (a name the Three Stooges would have especially loved) won Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in double overtime on a play that had the Versus broadcasters scratching their heads right up to the ceremonial handshake.
But first . . .
The San Jose Sharks, who submitted a much tougher than expected (at least by the hardworking staff) effort, were 13 seconds away from winning the game in regulation when the Canuck-Canuck-Canucks tied the score 2-2 on a tossed-off shot from the point.
From USA Today:
Vancouver was down 2-1 after [goalie Roberto] Luongo’s gamble left Devin Setoguchi (FSY) with an empty net 24 seconds into the third period. But [Ryan] Kesler, who left briefly in the second period with an apparent injury to his left leg, deflected Henrik Sedin’s (FSY) shot through [Sharks goalie Antti] Niemi after a questionable icing call against San Jose. Replays appeared to show that the puck hit Daniel Sedin (FSY), but icing was called anyway to set up an offensive zone faceoff for Vancouver.
(Campaign Outsider aside: All those FSYs? USA Today is way too into Fantasy Sports.)
The first overtime was a barnburner, but the second OT proved to be a Sharkburner:
Exactly 17 years day after they earned their previous trip to play for the Cup, the Canucks rode 54 saves from Luongo and a lucky bounce to [Kevin] Bieksa to advance to the finals for the third time in the team’s 40-year history.
The puck caromed awkwardly off the glass on the sideboards and out to Bieksa just inside the blue line. His quick shot beat Antti Niemi (FSY) inside the right post before the goalie — or mostly everyone else on the ice — knew where the puck was.
But we know where the Canucks are: In the Stanley Cup Finals.
The celebratory – if indecipherable – video: