After only three games, Canucks fans are already riding the emotional roller coaster that is the NHL playoffs.
There was the stomach-sickening defeat in Game 1 when Vancouver blew a third-period lead. They lost on a goal with 30 seconds remaining.
The Canucks came roaring back in Game 2 with a stellar performance against the Calgary Flames, breaking a seven-game playoff losing streak at Rogers Arena.
Calgary's only response to being thoroughly thrashed was starting a brawl with 77 seconds left on the clock in the third period. Another high for local fans came when the league fined Flames coach Bob Hartley $50,000—a story that the Straight's Mike Usinger described so eloquently.
Just when it seemed like the Canucks were ready to take charge of the series, things went horribly wrong. They looked sluggish and somewhat timid in Game 3, losing 4-2 last night in Calgary.
Canucks defender Kevin Bieksa tried to salvage some pride by punching burly Flames rookie Michael Ferland in the head a few times at 18:54 of the third period.
The fight erupted spontaneously when Bieksa discovered that Ferland was beside him in a scramble for the puck.
Ferland, a fifth-round draft pick, was a mediocre minor leaguer for the Abbotsford Heat and Adirondack Flames in the past couple of years. He shouldn't be rattling the Canucks, but he seems to have gotten under their skin with his chippy play.
Bieksa's pounding of Ferland might have felt good for a minute or two, but it did nothing to erase the final result. And judging by Ferland's grin in a televised post-game interview, he doesn't appear to be suffering any long-term consequences.
In fact, all the attention that he's receiving will probably guarantee that he has a job with the Flames for the following season.
At the very least, Bieksa showed that someone on the Canucks will stand up to Hartley's goonery.
But after three games in this increasingly rough series, some fans might be asking themselves, "Where's Tom Sestito or Zack Kassian when you need them?"
In case you're wondering, Kassian suffered a back injury, described as "back tightness", on March 17 and his status has been listed as "day-to-day" ever since.