Monday, October 17, 2005

Weekend Wrap-up

I had a couple of game reports ready to post over the weekend, but alas internet troubles prevented me from doing so. Instead I'll combine the two game reports into one...

Vancouver 5 - Minnesota 3

It's amazing what happens when you move your feet. After a terrible effort on Wednesday the Canucks came out of the gate with some determination and effort, out-shooting the Wild 13-1. The hard work continued into the 2nd period, yet somehow the Wild managed to score twice on only 6 shots. However, the Canucks finally got a bounce to go their way as Naslund tied the game on a lucky bank shot off a skate. Three minutes later Kesler showed great hands, first by accepting the bouncing pass from Richard Park and then by deaking Rolloson and roofing the puck under the bar. The lead was short lived as Brian Rolston tied the game with a power play goal in the final minute of the period.

After two periods the shots were 31-9 in favour of the Canucks, yet the score was even at 3 a piece. But Richard Park gave the Canucks the lead early in the third period when he snapped a wrist shot past Roloson. The Canucks would hang on and Bertuzzi would seal the deal with an empty net goal, much to the chagrin of the fans in attendance.

The Canucks worked hard all night, out-shooting the Wild 41-13. It was a much needed great effort, marred only by difficulties on the penalty kill.

Vancouver 5 - Dallas 2

The Canucks started their first homestand of the season the same way they ended the road trip. They came out of the gate skating and working hard. Brendan Morrison set the tone for the night early in the first as he battled to win a faceoff and then out hustled the Stars power play down the ice. The Canucks' hard work payed off early as they drew several penalties, leading to power play goals by Daniel Sedin and Sami Salo. The Canucks out-shot the Stars 13-6 in the first period and enjoyed a 2-0 lead heading into the second.

Despite the two goals, the Canucks had squandered a 5 on 3 power play opportunity which included a double minor by Boucher (ridiculous call on Boucher by the way). The Canucks would regret the squandered opportunities as Jeri Lehtinen would score two goals in the second to tie the game at 2-2.

However the Canucks were not discouraged, they continued working hard and took the lead after Lee Goren deflected a point shot for his first goal as a Canuck. Bertuzzi would score on the power-play and Richard Park would add another (on a weak play by Turco) to give the Canucks the 5-2 victory.

Some Thoughts...

  • Hopefully the Canucks have realized that their success, or lack thereof, comes down to their effort. When the team is skating and working hard they are very difficult to beat.
  • Todd Bertuzzi appears to be getting his hands back, however I am far from satisfied with his work ethic. He needs to be moving his feat to be successful, he spends far too much time coasting.
  • Bryan Allen has quite simply been outstanding so far this season. He's blocking shots, throwing hits, moving the puck well and he has been positionally sound. He has been a rock on the blueline.
  • Nolan Baumgartner had his best game of the season against Dallas. He showed a lot of confidence with the puck and played a strong positional game.
  • Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Steve McCarthy. McCarthy clearly does not have the confidence of Crawford. He needs to play much better in his own end and he has to show the skating and puck skills that made him attractive to the Canucks. His physical play has improved in the last few games, but he needs to do more.
  • Lee Goren is fitting in nicely on the 4th line. Not many teams have the luxury of a 4th liner who can put the puck in the net. While not a great skater or checking forward, his size, grit, willingness to fight and scoring ability have been a pleasant surprise.
  • Matt Cooke continues to play well, providing much needed energy whenever he is on the ice.
  • Richard Park has been great, proving to be Nonis' best move so far.
  • Mattias Ohlund looks a little tired, he's still been good, but the last few games haven't been up to his usual level.
  • Finally, despite not playing their best hockey, the Canucks have started the season at 4-1-1. That is a very good sign.

Next up are the Blackhawks on Tuesday (PPV)

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