Monday, October 09, 2006


Reuters photo -- Rick Wilking

The Canucks came into this game 2-0, with the two wins coming back to back and on the road. For a 3-0 record, the Canucks would have brave the rarefied air of Denver and defeat the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado is a different team now, with Alex Tanguay having been traded to Calgary, and Rob Blake having left to return to Los Angeles. Still, Joe Sakic is still around and Colorado will get a full year of Jose Theodore in net. They will also get to see the maturation of Marek Svatos, Wojtek Wolski, and John-Michael Liles. The Canucks, meanwhile, have had Markus Naslund skating with the Sedin twins to make a high-powered and all-Swedish line, but needless to say they're looking for some badly-needed secondary scoring now. Though the penalty kill looked great for the first two games, could they cut back the penalties in the third game? Working against the Canucks was the fact that goalie Roberto Luongo was 0-4 lifetime against Colorado coming into the game, something which at some point would have to change during the season.

1st period
Markus Naslund took the puck across the blue line and down the right side, sneaking a nice pass to Lukas Krajicek skating down the slot, who put a shot onto Jose Theodore that was stopped, but Daniel Sedin followed up and put the rebound through up high.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Daniel Sedin 3 (Lukas Krajicek, Markus Naslund) 5:57
Paul Stastny came from behind the net and passed in front to Wojtek Wolski, who shot and was stopped by Roberto Luongo. Stastny came back out front for the rebound and had a shot stopped as well. Wolski finally put in the third chance as all four Canuck skaters on the ice -- Willie Mitchell, Alexandre Burrows, Ryan Kesler, and Rory Fitzpatrick, watched the puck move around without hitting any bodies.
»» 2, COLORADO, powerplay, Wojtek Wolski 2 (Paul Stastny, Brett Clark) 12:42
Colorado outshot Vancouver 12-7 in the period. The Avalanche were 1-for-2 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2.

2nd period
Brett Clark had the puck in the left-wing corner and passed to Joe Sakic behind the net. Sakic moved to the right side and fed Marek Svatos (who skated untouched to the doorstep) for a one-time attempt that was stopped by Luongo. Svatos put his own rebound past Luongo, though at least he got shoved a bit.
»» 3, COLORADO, powerplay, Marek Svatos 1 (Joe Sakic, Clark) 2:48
On a great hard-working shift by the first line, Henrik Sedin had the puck in the left corner and passed to Mitchell at the blue line, who unleashed a slap shot that was stopped. However, the rebound kicked halfway through the slot, where Henrik tapped it over to Naslund, who wristed it through a wide-open stick side on Theodore.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Naslund 2 (Henrik Sedin, Willie Mitchell) 19:23
Colorado again outshot the Canucks 11-7 (23-14 overall). They were 1-for-4 (2-for-6) on the power play and didn't take a penalty in the period.

3rd period
A Joe Sakic wrister from the back of the left circle was stopped, and the rebound was loose in front, where Andrew Brunette centered the puck off of Svatos' skate and it went into the net. Trevor Linden and the Canucks argued that Svatos made a kicking motion to put the puck into the net, and while Svatos did change the direction of his skate, there was no "distinct kicking motion" necessary to wipe the goal off the scoreboard.
»» 5, COLORADO, powerplay, Svatos 2 (Andrew Brunette, Sakic) 14:16
Vancouver outshot Colorado 14-12 for the period (but were outshot 35-28 total). They were 0-for-3 (0-for-5) on the power play while Colorado was 1-for-2 (3-for-8). Luongo stopped 32 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Marek Svatos, (2) Naslund, (3) Colorado's Brett Clark

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 1-1-2
D Sedin 1-0-1
Krajicek 0-1-1
Mitchell 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, Vancouver won 32 of 61 draws (52%). Brendan Morrison won eight of 17, Ryan Kesler won nine of 16, Tommi Santala won all three he took, and Henrik Sedin won nine of 19. Markus Naslund led the team with five shots, and people with the last name of Sedin had four apiece. Mattias Ohlund, Sami Salo, Trevor Linden, and Daniel Sedin delivered a pair of hits each. Alexandre Burrows led Vancouver with four takeaways, and Taylor Pyatt, Naslund, and Santala each had three. Lukas Krajicek, Salo, Willie Mitchell, and Matt Cooke each blocked a pair of shots.

On plus-minus, no Canuck skaters were minus-skaters, which tends to happen when you allow nothing but power-play goals. Krajicek, Mitchell, Naslund, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin were all plus-2. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The loss left the Canucks with a 2-1-0 record (1-0 overtime, no shootouts) after three games. With four points, the Canucks are tied with Minnesota and Colorado for first in the Northwest Division, but Minnesota has a game in hand, so they're in first. Colorado has one less win than Vancouver, so they're third. Yes, it's second place in the Northwest Division for Vancouver. They are also sixth in the Western Conference, but it's early. The Canucks travel to Minnesota to face the suddenly high-scoring Wild tomorrow.

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