Monday, September 25, 2006

Preseason: Ducks 3 Canucks 4 (SO)

For their home preseason opener last night, the Vancouver Canucks iced their most veteran lineup yet against an Anaheim Ducks team that beat them 5-1 only two nights ago. Roberto Luongo played the entire game; and Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and their top five defensemen all suited up. The result was a 4-3 Canucks shootout win.

Most notable last night was the play of the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund. Put together as Alain Vigneault tries to find a replacement for Anson Carter, the line combined for two goals, two assists and six shots on goal.

The play of that line last night is the topic du jour in the Vancouver media.

Here's Brad Ziemer (Vancouver Sun):
Finding a replacement for Anson Carter and his team-leading 33 goals is a priority as the Canucks head down the final stretch drive of the pre-season. The way the twins played Sunday night, they just might make anyone look good.

Daniel, in particular, was flying all night. He gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 3:13 of the first period when he converted a goalmouth pass from Henrik on a power play. Naslund picked up the second assist on the goal.
Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province) adds:
The Sedins are in the process of again reshaping themselves. They vow they'll be shooting more, especially Henrik. They promise they'll be more obvious leaders. They want to score 90-plus points. And to help make it all happen, they've brought some new tricks to the show.

Henrik's shootout goal was a backhanded top-corner beauty, the likes of which he's never attempted before in the NHL.

"I've been working on that for two years and I've never taken the chance to use it before," Henrik said. "It felt nice to score like that."

The Sedins have combined for four goals and four first assists in two games. That's half of the Canucks' eight preseason goals even though they've only played in two games.

"We've been able to create a lot of chances," Henrik said. "I really think we should have three or four more goals.

"I think we should have taken more shots [Sunday]. We made some extra passes."

On the Sedin goals, the second assists have gone to Yannick Tremblay, Alexander Edler, Naslund and Sami Salo.

Compared to the beginning of last year, the Sedins have made a quantum leap in almost every conceivable way.

"We've taken another big step like I think we've done every year," Henrik said. "Last season gave us a lot of confidence and we have brought that here. Now, we know we can score whenever we're on the ice. That's a huge difference, especially from our first year here when we went on the ice basically trying not to get scored on."
And speaking of not getting scored on, one small disappointment from the last night's game was the play of the defense. Not anyone in particular, mind you, but it was clear that the team is still trying to learn a new system. There were more than a few times the Canucks 'd' couldn't move the puck out of the zone. There were also at least a couple of times they coughed up the puck, resulting in Ducks scoring chances.

For his part, Roberto Luongo was much better. He still let in one softie (the first Ducks goal), I thought, but you can probably argue that he was screened by both his defensemen. Luongo stopped 23 of 26 shots, including some where the defense left him one-on-one up close against the shooter; he also stopped 2 of the 3 shooters in the shootout.

He'll get a chance to finetune his game even more soon. The Canucks' next game is tomorrow night against the San Jose Sharks. Game starts at 7 PM; the radio broadcast is on TEAM 1040.


On a side note, I just want to thank Fred Johns and Something Cool News for the feature in this week's editiion. Something Cool News is based in the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody).

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:53 AM


At September 25, 2006 6:42 PM, Anonymous Steve Jamieson said...

Nice Feature article at Something Cool.

At September 26, 2006 7:35 PM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

Thanks Steve! Much appreciated. :)


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