It was fantastic competition, but not great hockey.

Still, this seems to be the future of the National Hockey League – Thursday's showdown for first-place overall that was won 2-0 by the Vancouver Canucks over the St. Louis Blues on a lucky bounce and an empty-netter.

It was fiercely contested, intense, physical, tension-filled. But the only fun part of it was winning, which the Canucks have done more than anyone this season.

Vancouver scores, too. St. Louis hardly has to score at all. They looked capable of winning 0-0 until Canuck Alex Burrows found the convenient carom off the end boards from Dan Hamhuis' wayward point shot and chipped a opportunistic backhand past Blues' goalie Brian Elliott at 4:17 of the third period.