Thursday, November 03, 2005

Canucks 2 Wild 1

(I apologize for the late post today.)

The Vancouver Canucks improved their perfect home record to 6-0-0 bybeating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 last night. Alex Auld started in place of the injured Dan Cloutier and stopped 31 of 32 Minnesota shots. The game recap is here; the score sheet and stat sheet are here and here.

My notes from the game:

  • Who said the trap is dead? Credit Jacques Lemaire for figuring out that the crackdown on obstruction doesn't necessarily mean a crackdown on the trap. As long as teams have very good skaters - like the Wild - who can skate to certain spots on the ice before their opponent, the trap will be around.
  • That said, the Canucks have always had problems beating teams that play this system because the Canucks like to start their play in the neutral zone, skate the puck in and set up - tough to do, of course, when four defenders are lined up at the blue line. Except for maybe Matt Cooke, Jarkko Ruutu and Ryan Kesler, the Canucks don't have the personnel for a dump and chase sort of system. Especially on even-strength, they have had a hard time beating defenders to the puck after dumping it in.
  • It didn't seem like too long ago when the Sedins were knocked down to the ice so much that some Canucks fans played a drinking game whereby they would have a beer whenever it happened. And be drunk by the second period. This is no longer the case. It's amazing how strong the twins have been along the boards.
  • Wade Brookbank played one short shift in the third period after he took himself out of position to hit Derek Boogard, leading directly to Randy Robitaille's goal. Earlier in that same shift, Boogard went head-hunting on Mattias Ohlund. As ill-timed as Brookbank's retaliation was, I don't mind that he went after Boogard. A team should never, ever allow someone to take a run at your teammates. And very especially a star player teammate. (Before anyone argues that the only reason Boogard would have hit Ohlund was because he is a lot taller, etc. than Ohlund, the fact is, he went elbow first towards Ohlund's head.)
  • Full credit to Linden, Ohlund, Jovanovski, Auld and Salo for killing the 5-on-3 and 6-on-3 in the last couple of minutes. Especially Linden and Ohlund who played the entire time. Key faceoff wins, good positioning, no panic, and as a result, most of the Wild chances came from the perimeter.
  • Kesler is a good defensive player - he's regularly on the first penalty-killing unit for a reason - but he reaaally needs to work on those clearing attempts.
Next up: Columbus on Friday.
posted by J.J. Guerrero, 7:56 PM


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