Saturday, October 07, 2006

Canucks 3 Blue Jackets 2 (OT)

Before this season began, Dave Nonis and Alain Vigneault stressed the importance of being able to adapt to and play different styles of games. In their first two games so far this season, the Vancouver Canucks have shown that they are capable of that.

Iain MacIntyre (Vancouver Sun) has more:

This much we know: the new-and-improved Vancouver Canucks can beat one of the National Hockey League's best teams by defending a lead, and one of the worst ones by overcoming a deficit.
Any other questions?

Lots, of course. The Canucks are only two games into an 82-game examination in team-building, which is itself all preamble to the playoffs. But the lessons so far have been a revelation.

Playing for the second time in two nights, the Canucks outshot the "fresh" Columbus Blue Jackets 34-10 in the final 41 minutes Friday, storming back from a two-goal, third-period deficit to win 3-2 on Daniel Sedin's goal 31 seconds into overtime.

This followed a 3-1 win Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Last season, the team seemed to adapt to the opposing team's style more than they tried to play their own. That the Canucks are learning to dictate the tempo of the game is a good sign - it's obviously going to be easier for the team when they play to their strengths.

Kevin Bieksa's penalty early in last night's game led to Mark Hartigan's powerplay goal at 1:46. The early 1-0 lead gave Columbus some momentum and they carried much of the play through about the first 11 minutes of the period.

So what did the Canucks do? They somehow took over the pace of the game, slowed it down and took away the Jackets' momentum. After that, the Canucks went back to their 1-2-2, forced some turnovers, won the puck battles, and outshot the Jackets 34-10 in the final two periods and overtime.

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Scored the tying goal and the game-winning goal, both by going to the net. Had five shots and was a +2 for the night.
  2. Pascal Leclaire (CBJ): Made 41 saves, usually with four Canucks crashing the net.
  3. Henrik Sedin (VAN): This was a toss-up between Henrik and Mark Hartigan (1G-1A, won 12 of 18 faceoffs). I'm choosing Henrik because the Canucks won and Henrik won the key faceoffs leading to the tying and game-winning goals. He finished with two assists and a +2 rating.
Other Things on my Notepad

  • The Canucks are still taking far too many penalties. They took five last night, including four minors for being lazy and three in a row in the second period that gave Columbus an extended 5-on-3.
  • When they were mounting their comeback, Alain Vigneault used Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler - both Manitoba Moose boys - with Brendan Morrison on the powerplay. Morrison scored the first Canucks goal of the night and Burrows assisted.
  • Trevor Linden, Tommi Santala and Taylor Pyatt didn't see a lot of ice-time in the latter half of the game.
  • Does the NHL keep track of territorial play anymore? I'd be interested to know how much time the Canucks spent in the Jackets zone. Luongo's didn't face a single Columbus shot after halfway through the third period.
About the game around the blogosphere

  • Mike, the Yankee Canuck, drunk liveblogged the game. Meanwhile, Alanah at VCOE hints she may drunk liveblog tomorrow night's game as well. Did Canucks fans just start another hockey tradition? You know, kinda like the anthem singer letting the fans sing the O Canada?
  • Michael at Army of the Ohio attended the game and posts his thoughts here.
Fun With Numbers

Next game is Sunday at 5 PM against Paris Hilton's party pal and the Colorado Avalanche.

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, 9:15 AM


At October 07, 2006 11:03 AM, Blogger mclea said...

Here's one fan who is heavily invested in Canucks tickets this year that hopes that Canucks open things up a bit. The contrast in the style of play between the Habs/Sabres games and the Nucks/BJ game was striking.

At October 07, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger Shots From The Point said...

Congrats on the win.

Not related to your blog, but I just wanted to let you know that I linked to your blog on my page. I hope you don't mind. Just a little thank you for your help with getting me started.

At October 07, 2006 1:14 PM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

basket - Agree with you on the contrast between the two televised games last night. And having invested in a lot of $$$ for season tickets myself, I hope there aren't too many games at GM Place like the one they played last night.

It stinks, but the team is in the business of winning as much as it is in the business of entertaining. In a perfect world, the Canucks would be as entertaining as they would be successful.

The reality is, the Canucks don't have much of a choice right now. They don't have the same depth of talent as say, Buffalo or San Jose or Anaheim to play their run and gun of previous seasons.

The positive is, despite playing in the neutral zone more than they have in the past, the Canucks are still generating a lot of opportunities for themselves and I still see them attacking the net. The latter, I think, is a big difference than the boring trap that Minnesota used to (or still) play.

The Canucks still have anywhere between all of their forwards forechecking, even if two of them start from slightly behind center ice. I remember the Wild would just string four guys along in the neutral zone like they were playing red rover.

When it comes down to it, I'd much rather see them win playing a slightly-less entertaining system than lose by playing a thoroughly entertaining one.

At October 07, 2006 1:53 PM, Blogger Temujin said...

Morrison scored the first Canucks goal of the night and Burrows assisted.

I am finding it a little difficult to think of Brendan Morrison as a "second-line" threat, since he has been one of our go-too guys the last few years. But it sure is nice to see a bit of balance with the scoring. Canuck fans have been clamouring for more scoring depth for ages.

Salo has been doing exactly what he did last year pre-Turin, and that sure is great to see.

Wins are never boring! Vignault ought to be the toast of Vancouver right now.

At October 08, 2006 12:01 AM, Anonymous Isabella said...

Did Canucks fans just start another hockey tradition? You know, kinda like the anthem singer letting the fans sing the O Canada?

I want to know how else Canucks fans are supposed to get through 82 games like this.

Like someone said (and the Sun(?) printed): the Canucks make a drinker out of you!


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