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Final Bell

YorockyFor my buck, nothing beats playoff hockey. Unless it's Game 7 of a playoff series.

That's why I'm so excited about tonight.

The only Game 7 of the opening round of the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs is tonight in Vancouver when the Fighting Luongos try to score a goal in their game against visiting Dallas. I'm not expecting a lot of goals, so there's a lot of pressure to score first in this one. Both goalies have been outstanding in this series to date, with Dallas' Marty Turco erasing much doubt about his intestinal fortitude come playoff time by shutting out the Luongos three times.

Reason I mention this is I took a little bit of flack from folks not for using my Hart Trophy (MVP) vote on Luongo, but for my reasoning. I figured if you take Luongo off the Canucks, all that's left is an average team. I think this series has helped my argument. This Vancouver team is good, don't get me wrong, but they aren't anything special. Yet a win tonight and the Canucks have a chance to do something special.

-- Here's the dish: If the Luongos win, they open at second-seeded Anaheim on Wednesday at 10 p.m.; Dallas would start in Detroit on Thursday at 7:30.

-- The Panthers officially announced the charities that will benefit from Olli Jokinen's big season. In case you missed earlier reports here and in The Herald, Jokinen raised $21,000 after pledging $500 for every home goal and $250 for every home assist. Thanks to the support of sponsor Luggage Express, the total is $42,000 because they matched Jokinen dollar for dollar.

Olli's $21,000 is going to the American Cancer Society's R.O.C.K. Program, with the Luggage Express money going to the JAFCO Children's Foundation. A check presentation will be held at the team cookout Thursday evening at the arena.

Nice job by both Olli and Luggage Express for helping kids in this community as well as others.

-- Here's the schedule for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, as sent to me by the NHL: