Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Predators 3 Canucks 2

Another game, another gritty effort. The Canucks didn't get a single point in last night's 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators, but give it to them, they sure gave it one heckuva try.

More from Ed Willes (Vancouver Province):

In a game which promised but didn't deliver the best of what the new NHL has to offer, the Canucks forgot to show up for the first period, weren't much better for most of the second, then, with the game on the line in the third period, produced just four shots on goal in the first 10 minutes and squandered two power plays.

A recipe for disaster, right? But there they were, hanging on to a 2-2 tie late in the contest, looking for all the world like they'd steal another win because they had enough Luongo and enough other things working for them.

OK, it didn't work out because Jan Bulis, who continues to be an adventure, tried to force a pass through too many bodies and the Preds, who can counter-punch faster than Ali in his prime, turned a loose puck into a Steve Sullivan breakaway.
Is is it safe to say that last night was a typical Canucks effort? On many nights last season, if given the same 2-0 first period deficit, the team would have rolled over to a disheartening loss.

Not this season's team. For the most part, Alain Vigneault has held this team and its players accountable and has them playing a hard-nosed 60-minute game (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province).

With a defence that isn't regularly cracking under faint pressure, an all-star goaltender and some displays of impassioned work ethic, the Vancouver Canucks are bearing little resemblance to the team that faded at the end of last season and missed the playoffs.

But the product on the ice only tells part of the story.

Behind the scenes, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has thus far provided his players with the antidote to the problems created at the end of Marc Crawford's tenure, when players said they were given too much freedom without enough accountability.
It seems like a small change, this accountability thing, but the change in culture has allowed the team to create an identity. They don't necessarily have as much skill as previous versions of the team, but they will outwork anyone in the league.

It didn't earn them a point last night, but they at least made it interesting.

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Steve Sullivan (NAS): Little sparkplug was all over the ice. Threw six shots on Luongo, four in the third period, assisted on one goal, and scored the game-winner.
  2. Markus Naslund (VAN): Great effort from the captain in trying to bring his team back from an early 2-0 deficit. Scored his sixth goal of the season to tie the game midway through the third period.
  3. Kimmo Timonen (NAS): Didn't record a point in 24:28 minutes of ice-time, but was solid defensively and moved the puck well. A lot of the Predators' chances started from a good defensive play or good pass from Timonen.
Other Things on my Notepad

  • I could be wrong, but I'm sure giving Nashville the first five powerplays of the game wasn't part of the Canucks' game plan.
  • I've found my scapegoat for the year - his name is Jan Bulis and his inconsistent play thus far is driving me nuts.
  • You gotta feel for the line of Josh Green, Matt Cooke and Ryan Kesler. They're doing everything right but put the puck in the net.
  • I'm trying to picture the Canucks' defense had Kevin Bieksa or Loo-kash Krajicek not been able to step in and play 20+ minutes per game. Thank the hockey gods they were able to.
  • When Tomas Vokoun isn't flopping and is stopping the puck like he did tonight, the Predators are a scary team. They have a good mix of speed and skill and veteran youth up front and on defense.
About the game around the blogosphere

Fun With Numbers

The Canucks head back on the road for a couple of games. They play the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

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, 6:46 AM


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