Friday, October 06, 2006


AP photo -- Rob Widdis

As the season goes on, the Canucks will figure out more and more about their team. They won't know everything after one night. Still, this one night was in Detroit, and the team had won their last six season openers, which was the longest active streak in the NHL. What they do know after one night isn't surprising -- Roberto Luongo is great. What is surprising was the penalty kill. What's disturbing is how many times that penalty killing was necessitated, but it's still the first game.

1st period
A Sami Salo slapshot appeared to deflect off something in front and go over the shoulder of Dominik Hasek. Replays showed that the puck got a deflection off of Markus Naslund's head.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 1 (Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa) 19:55
Vancouver outshot Detroit 9-8 in the period. The Canucks were 1-for-2 on the power play while Detroit was 0-for-4.

2nd period
A turnover in the Detroit zone resulted in Josh Green getting a hard shot from the slot onto Hasek, who made a good stop on the first shot, but didn't cover up, and Trevor Linden was in front to put it through the equipment for his 300th goal as a Canuck.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Trevor Linden 1 (Josh Green, Tommi Santala) 2:25
On a Vancouver power play, Daniel Sedin led a pass to Henrik Sedin, and Salo moved inside the blue line to take a pass and rip off a snapper that went off of Hasek and into the net. It's probably a shot Hasek wants back.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Salo 1 (Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin) 5:41
Henrik Zetterberg fluttered a puck from the left-wing boards (about hash-mark depth) that sailed through traffic and got through on Roberto Luongo on a bad angle on a goal that he probably wants back.
»» 4, DETROIT, Henrik Zetterberg 1 (Mikael Samuelsson) 15:55
Detroit outshot Vancouver 11-6 in the period (19-15 overall). The Canucks were 1-for-1 on the power play (2-for-3) while Detroit was 0-for-3 (0-for-7).

3rd period
Detroit outshot Vancouver 9-2 in the period (28-17 total). Vancouver was 0-for-1 (2-for-4) on the power play while Detroit was 0-for-2 (0-for-9). Luongo stopped 27 shots in the game.

Three stars -- (1) Salo, (2) Luongo, (3) Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg

skater, goals-assists-points
Salo 1-1-2
Linden 1-0-1
Naslund 1-0-1
Bieksa 0-1-1
Green 0-1-1
Santala 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

The Canucks spent most of the preseason floundering and trying to figure out who could do what, and in what situations, and what groupings would mesh, etc., and they'll still be working on that as the season goes on since there has been so much turnover personnelwise since last season. The biggest improvement here, and almost a seemingly overnight one, is the improvement of the special teams, which were nothing good during the preseason, even in the final three games as the regulars started getting more playing time. When you hold the league's top power play from the preceding year scoreless on nine power plays, that's stellar. The Canucks finished 2-for-4 on the man advantage themselves. Of course, all of this is gelped by the facvt that Roberto Luongo is now manning the Vancouver net, and he made a number of great saves to keep the game scoreless in the first and keep the Canucks ahead for the final two periods of play. The odd thing is the shot margin, which makes it look like a Minnesota Wild game, but this team should be a ton more exciting than that, and hopefully the shots increase as time goes on. Of course, that had a lot to do with the Canucks taking tons of penalties to put Detroit on the power play.

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 24 of 50 draws (48%). Brendan Morrison won five of 12, Alexandre Burrows won one of three, Ryan Kesler won 10 of 22, Tommi Santala won three of four, and Henrik Sedin won four of eight. Sami Salo and Markus Naslund led the team with four shots apiece. Kevin Bieksa, Taylor Pyatt, Kesler, Daniel Sedin, and Santala all dished out a hit apiece. Josh Green notched two takeaways. Willie Mitchell led the squad by blocking four shots, and Mattias Ohlund and Linden blocked a pair each.

On the plus-minus side of things, the plus-skating Canucks were Linden, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Green, all at plus-1. Minus-skating Canucks were Ohlund, Burrows, and Henrik Sedin. All other Canuck skaters were even.

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