Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Canucks 3, Wild 1
AP photo -- Paul Battaglia

[posted in full Wed ~6:44p]

On a back-to-back set in Minnesota earlier in the month, the Canucks got drubbed 6-0 in the first game, getting outplayed and outworked in every facet of the game. The Canucks haven't lost a game since. Would it continue?

The Canucks put backup Alex Auld in the net against the Wild, and Minnesota went with Manny Fernandez instead of Dwayne Roloson, who despite the loss in these teams' second meeting this season still has a crazy-good record against Vancouver.

1st period
Henrik Sedin centered to Anson Carter for a one-timer that went a bit wide. Bryan Allen had a wrister stopped by Fernandez' blocker. Trevor Linden had a shot in close go off a stick and over the glass. Brian Rolston recorded the first Minnesota shot of the game, and it was stopped by Auld's left pad 4:49 into the game. Carter made a bad pass that Rolston nearly turned into a rush on the other end, but he mishandled it. The Canucks were unable to take advantage of a very long Minnesota shift for Alexandre Daigle and Andrei Zyuzin, though they put a bunch of shots on Fernandez in the process. Rolston pounced on a rebound and Auld went to his knees to stop it. Mattias Ohlund went to the box for hooking not long after. On the Minnesota power play, Auld made a save but couldn't find the puck afterward, and luckily Trevor Linden came in and cleared the puck. Brent Burns went to the box for a slash, nullifying the Wild power play and making for some 4-on-4 hockey. Both penalties were killed off by the respective teams. Brendan Morrison took a centering pass and deflected it toward the right-wing boards, where he passed to Sami Salo on the point, who put the puck on the net. Jarkko Ruutu banged home the rebound under Manny Fernandez, who didn't fall fast enough to stop the puck on his right side.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Jarkko Ruutu 1 (Sami Salo, Brendan Morrison) 13:45
Ed Jovanovski had a long wrister stopped, and Markus Naslund whiffed on the rebound. A Canuck turnover led to a 2-on-1 Minnesota rush for Todd White and Chouinard, but Auld was able to cover the shot attempt. Ryan Kesler went to the box for hooking. On the ensuing power play, Alexandre Daigle blistered a shot inside the far post from the right circle, beating Dan Cloutier stick side.
»» 2, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Alexandre Daigle 1 (Andrei Zyuzin, Pierre-Marc Bouchard) 18:13
Right after the goal, Auld was caught out of his own net, but Carter raced over to block a shot by Willie Mitchell. Jovanovski was called for holding. Vancouver led 13-12 on shots after the period, and the Wild won 65% of the faceoffs in the period, with Morrison losing all six of his faceoffs.

2nd period
The Wild started the period on the Jovanovski penalty and had a few shots blocked, along with Wes Walz' wrister, which got to Cloutier, who stopped it. Matt Foy got to a short-side shot by Matt Foy, and he covered it. Right after the Jovanovski penalty expired, Henrik Sedin went to the box for hooking, putting the Canucks on the penalty kill yet again. The kill came through. Morrison centered to Naslund, who snapped a puck to the net, but Fernandez covered. The Canucks had a 2-on-1 rush with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. It wasn't the cleanest of rushes, as Bertuzzi lost control of the puck a bit, but he eventually put it back across to Naslund, who put it through the short (stick) side on Fernandez.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 7 (Todd Bertuzzi) 6:53
Bryan Allen was hit by Andrei Nazarov after an icing call, and the latter went to the penalty box. Sami Salo had a long wrist shot deflected into Fernandez' glove. Ohlund had a one-timer blocked. Carter was called for a trip, though he was more burned by a dive. Seven seconds later, Randy Robitaille took Minnesota off the power play by doing some hooking. Auld gave a big rebound after a Stephane Veilleux shot, but it was cleared. Both the Carter and Robitaille penalties expired. Reversing their roles from the Colorado game, Daniel Sedin slap passed to brother Henrik Sedin in the slot, who redirected the puck over the left shoulder of Fernandez.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Henrik Sedin 2 (Daniel Sedin, Nolan Baumgartner) 11:26
Allen had a wrister get gloved by Fernandez. Ohlund had a one-timer go off a skate. Bertuzzi and Naslund had a couple chances to get a shot on the net, but didn't. Richard Park centered, and Matt Cooke took a quick shot, which was stopped, and his second chance went off Park's shate and past the post. Rolston shot a laser off the crossbar and over the glass. Auld made a great save on a Scott Ferguson one-timer. Walz was called for a crosscheck late in the period. Vancouver outshot Minnesota 13-7 in the period and 26-19 after 40 minutes of play.

3rd period
Lee Goren had a sharp-angle shot stopped by Fernandez. Auld covered a shot from Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Auld put the right pad on a Robitaille shot. Rolston shot wide, and Nolan Baumgartner and Foy went off for a hold and a dive, respectively. Chouinard had a slap shot covered by Auld. Daniel Sedin had a shot and a rebound stopped by Fernandez. A giveaway by Steve McCarthy led to a Bouchard chance on which Auld made a blocker save on a rush. Jovanovski centered to Naslund, who put a sharp-angle shot off the side of the goal. Shortly after, there was a sequence where the Canucks played keep-away with the puck, annoying the fans at the XCel Energy Center. Foy had a slap shot stopped by Auld's stick, but the puck nearly landed behind Auld and could have gone into the net. Allen hit Nazarov for a boarding penalty, though Nazarov dropped the gloves anyway, though there really wasn't a fight. The Canucks had a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush, but Cooke couldn't get a shot away. Nazarov went off for a hook. Baumgartner had a one-timer go off the bottom of Fernandez' pad, and it grazed the post. Morrison was stopped by a left pad on a rebound of a Baumgartner slap shot. Bouchard was called for goalie interference after making contact with Auld while following his own backhander into the crease. That was killed, and the game was in its waning stages. Morrison went off for holding with just under three minutes left to make it interesting. Cooke had a 2-on-1 rush with Kesler, but two shots were stopped. Minnesota never got within a goal, and Fernandez was never pulled from the net for an extra skater. Vancouver outshot the Wild 10-9 in the final period and 36-28 for the game. Auld stopped 27 for Vancouver.

Three stars -- (1) Naslund, (2) Auld, (3) Minnesota's Alexandre Daigle

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 1-0-1
Ruutu 1-0-1
H Sedin 1-0-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Vancouver took their six straight game to equal their best ten-game start in franchise history. Yes, it's crazy. I guess the scary thing is that they really aren't totally clicking yet. Todd Bertuzzi's back isn't totally healthy, and the top line isn't totally clicking. The third line, the speed line of Matt Cooke/Ryan Kesler/Richard Park, isn't producing on offense lately. But hey, the defense has ten goals, the Sedins look great on the power play (though Anson Carter is still adjusting a bit), and Alex Auld and Dan Cloutier haven't let too many fluky goals past. They've won six straight, but there's still room for this team to improve.

Markus Naslund's goal stood up as the winner, and it extended his point streak to six games. The final goal of the game extended Henrik Sedin's point streak to five games.

The Canucks had zero minus skaters. Brendan Morrison was the only plus-two skater, and that was good considering he lost 12 of 17 faceoffs. Bryan Allen, Sami Salo, Markus Naslund, Steve McCarthy, Lee Goren, Jarkko Ruutu, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ed Jovanovski were all plus-1. All other skaters were even.

As mentioned, Brendan Morrison was whooped on draws. Vancouver as a whole was 29-for-65 on faceoffs, though if you take out Morrison's numbers, they were .500 on the night. Trevor Linden was 10-for-17, Ryan Kesler was 5-for-10, Henrik Sedin was 5-for-13, and Todd Bertuzzi was 4-for-5.

In other superstat bonanza stuff, Sami Salo dished out three hits, and Mattias Ohlund and Steve McCarthy delivered two hits apiece. Henrik Sedin recorded two takeaways. Markus Naslund led the team with six shots. Salo took five.

The Canucks are now 8-1-1 on the season, good for 17 points in the standings. The Canucks play at Colorado for a couple of big games on Thursday and Saturday.

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