Wednesday, November 02, 2005
[posted in full Thu 10 Nov ~4:21p]
How would the Canucks fare without top-four defenseman Bryan Allen (knee injury), number-one goalie Dan Cloutier, and also third-line speedskating agitator Matt Cooke, out indefinitely as of Tuesday with a broken jaw due to a flying puck?
Not too badly, actually. Very treacherous ending though.
It didn't take long for blood to boil as Derek Boogaard and Wade Brookbank got into an early scrap. Brookbank held his own at first, but Boogaard landed some more blows late in the scrum to tip the fight close to his favor. Wes Walz went to the box for a hold. On a sketchy line change by Minnesota, Todd Bertuzzi made a nice centering pass from the left-wing corner to Ed Jovanovski in the low slot, and he put it home. Strangely, this prolonged Bertuzzi's point streak to five games.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Ed Jovanovski 3 (Todd Bertuzzi, Sami Salo) 5:28
»» CANUCKS 1, WILD 0
The Canucks outshot the Wild 13-11 in the period, which doesn't sound so bad except that the Canucks opened with an 11-3 shot advantage. The Canucks made good on their only power play chance. Minnesota was 0-for-2. Also in the period, Bertuzzi knocked vital Minnesota cog Marc Chouinard from the game with a hit.
The line with the Sedins had some early chances in the period, but just couldn't find the back of the net. Scoreboard denting occurred in the latter reaches of the period. After fishing the puck out along the boards, Richard Park dished to Jarkko Ruutu, who wristed the puck short side past Dwayne Roloson from the right faceoff dot.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Jarkko Ruutu 2 (Richard Park, Jovanovski) 15:42
»» CANUCKS 2, WILD 0
As the Ruutu goal was being announced in the arena, Randy Robitaille finished off a 2-on-1 rush by cracking a slap shot past Alex Auld on a feed from Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
»» 3, MINNESOTA, Randy Robitaille 2 (Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Derek Boogaard) 16:17
»» CANUCKS 2, WILD 1
Vancouver outshot the Wild 11-5 in the period and 24-16 overall. The Canucks were scoreless in three chances on the man-advantage, whereas Minnesota never had a power play in the period.
This was a nail-biter of a scoreless third period. Auld had to make a huge save on Pascal Dupuis after Bertuzzi had given away the puck to start a 2-on-1 the other way. Henrik Sedin went to the box for a hold, and the Canucks were having trouble clearing. To make matters even more edgy, Bouchard hit the post on a shot with Auld down on the ice. Morbidly, Bouchard shortly after was hit in the side of the head with the puck while heading out on a change. Then came a play that made everyone scratch their heads -- Bertuzzi going off for a slash 200ft in front of his own net with 2:46 remaining. That's not a way to protect a one-goal lead. With the Canucks on the penalty kill, Ryan Kesler tried banking the puck off the glass in his own end and down the ice. This would have been great except the puck went over the glass. That's delay of game, and it happened only 20 seconds after Bertuzzi had gone to the box. The penalty kill had to come up huge. To make it even worse, Sami Salo also put the puck over the glass with 1:01 left. Eventually Minnesota pulled Roloson from the net and had a 6-on-3 to close out the game. Trevor Linden, Mattias Ohlund, and Ed Jovanovski did a bang-up job heep the puck out of the net and making key checks. Ohlund had a big check, and Jovanovski landed a big hit on Andrei Zyuzin. Minnesota predictably outshot the Canucks 16-6 in the period and outshot the Canucks 32-30 for the game. Alex Auld was stellar, stopping 31 of 32.
Three stars -- (1) Jovanovski, (2) Minnesota's Filip Kuba, (3) Auld
That's certainly not how you want to protect a one-goal lead in the third period of a game, but it's quite the feeling to know that your penalty kill can do that. It's also unfortunate to see a couple of the guys get nailed for putting the puck over the glass, but better to learn not to do it now than to do it in the playoffs or late in the season or something.
Vancouver won 31 of 54 (57%) of their faceoffs on the night. Brendan Morrison was 11-for-17, Trevor Linden was 7-for-9, Ryan Kesler was 7-for-12, and Henrik Sedin was 5-for-12. Plus skaters (plus-1) included Richard Park, Kesler, Steve McCarthy, Jarkko Ruutu, and Ed Jovanovski. Minus skaters (minus-1) included Mattias Ohlund, Daniel Sedin, Wade Brookbank, Henrik Sedin, and Anson Carter. All other skaters were even. Jovanovski led the team with five shots, and Morrison had four. Todd Bertuzzi delivered three hits.
The Canucks are now 9-2-2 in the standings, good for 20 points and a six-point division lead over the Wild. The second- through fifth-place teams in the division all have between 12 and 14 points.