Thursday, November 02, 2006


Reuters photo -- Eric Miller

The Canucks were coming off a home loss on Halloween to Nashville, a game in which they rallied from two goals down to tie it only to lose on an incredible goal by Steve Sullivan. The Canucks then hopped a plane and headed to Minnesota to hopefully defeat the Wild. However, the Wild have started the season red hot, including a shootout win against Vancouver. Though the Canucks came into it with Roberto Luongo in goal, it turns out he's only beaten the Wild once in his career, something which has to change so as to improve the Canucks' chances in the Northwest Division.

1st period
Alexandre Burrows had the puck behind the Minnesota net and waited for something to develop. Ryan Kesler skated near the right hash with his stick on the ice and received a perfect pass from Burrows. Kesler then wristed it through the pads of Manny Fernandez.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 1 (Alexandre Burrows, Lukas Krajicek) 8:08
The Canucks didn't wait another minute to score. A Mattias Ohlund slapshot from the blue line was stopped by Fernandez, but he left a huge rebound with Jan Bulis jockeying for position in front. Bulis had his back to Fernandez but managed to backhand it past Fernandez to five the Canucks a nice 2-0 lead in the first period of a road game.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Jan Bulis 3 (Mattias Ohlund, Trevor Linden) 8:59
The Wild were on a power play inside the final 30 seconds of the period. Mikko Koivu on the right side behind the circle centered the puck and it went off the skate of Todd White and past Roberto Luongo. The goal was immediately waved off by the on-ice officials. Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire lobbied for a review. During the video review process, the Canuck radio crew of John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid also hashed over the video and agreed with the on-ice ruling, saying there was a kicking motion, or in Shorthouse's words, a "backheel" motion. The final decision of a goal was made by the Minnesota video goal judge in conjunction with the Toronto league office. Apparently Toronto said White "propelled" the puck to the net but didn't use a kicking motion. During the second intermission, Larscheid had Steve Tambellini on as guest but did most of the talking about the goal since Tambellini's actual thoughts on the goal would probably draw a fine. Larscheid cited that the word "propel" doesn't show up in the rule book for such a situation. In addition, Larscheid defended the on-ice call (definitely the adamant nature of it) and derided the video overturn, saying "why in the hell do they even make any calls anymore?"
»» 3, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Todd White 4 (Mikko Koivu, Brian Rolston) 19:45
Vancouver outshot Minnesota 11-8 in the period. The Canucks were 0-for-1 on the power play while Minnesota was 1-for-1.

2nd period
Lemaire put backup Finnish export goalie Niklas Backstrom into the net to start the period. Two and a half minutes into the period, Luc Bourdon played nice on the backcheck and stapled Stephane Veilleux to the end boards. On a Vancouver power play just past the 12-minute mark, Daniel Sedin from the end boards on the right side centered to Taylor Pyatt on the doorstep, who was absolutely robbed by Backstrom. With 2:59 left in the period, a soft penalty shot call went Minnesota's way (some probably thought it should have been a hook or hold), and Brian Rolston got a free shot on Luongo. He skated to the high slot and unleashed a slapshot that beat Luongo easily on the glove side. Minnesota has 19 penalty shots in franchise history, and six of them are against the Canucks.
»» 4, MINNESOTA, shorthanded/penalty shot, Rolston 10 (penalty shot) 17:01
Vancouver outshot Minnesota 7-6 (18-14 overall). They were 0-for-3 (0-for-4) on the power play and didn't take a penalty.

3rd period
A neutral zone turnover led to the Wild's next goal. Veilleux's centering pass from the end boards was deflected out to the blue line, where Nick Schultz blasted a slapshot that went through a bunch of traffic but didn't deflect off anyone, beating Luongo cleanly to the glove side.
»» 5, MINNESOTA, Nick Schultz 2 (Stephane Veilleux, Martin Skoula) 4:31
The Canucks didn't do themselves any favors to try to get back in the game as they started taking penalties late. Kim Johnsson along the end boards centered the puck, and White shot to the net from in close but was stopped. However, Pascal Dupuis was right there to pick up the scraps and put it through on Luongo.
»» 6, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Pascal Dupuis 1 (White, Kim Johnsson) 15:25
Vancouver failed one final time on the power play, their sixth of the game. Veilleux's high-sticking penalty put Vancouver on the power play with 3:04 to go, and the Canucks also pulled Luongo for stretches to get a six-on-four advantage, but they still couldn't put the puck through. The final Minnesota goal was completely meaningless. Mark Parrish left the puck for Branko Radivojevic, who blasted a slapshot from the back of the right circle that beat Luongo.
»» 7, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Branko Radivojevic 2 (Mark Parrish, Koivu) 19:57
Vancouver outshot Minnesota 12-10 (30-24 total). They were 0-for-2 (0-for-6) on the power play while Minnesota was 2-for-3 (3-for-4). Luongo stopped 19 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Minnesota's Brian Rolston, (2) Minnesota's Todd White, (3) Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom

skater, goals-assists-points
Bulis 1-0-1
Kesler 1-0-1
Burrows 0-1-1
Krajicek 0-1-1
Linden 0-1-1
Ohlund 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 27 of 45 draws (60%). Brendan Morrison won eight of 11, Ryan Kesler won six of nine, Daniel Sedin lost both of his, Marc Chouinard won four of nine, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 12. Markus Naslund led the team with six shots and Taylor Pyatt had four. Kevin Bieksa and Matt Cooke dealt out three hits each, with Alexandre Burrows and Jan Bulis dishing out two apiece. Bieksa and Sami Salo (before leaving the game with a lower body injury) blocked a couple shots each. Kesler missed the net with three shots.

On plus-minus, the plus-skating Canucks (all plus-1) were Mattias Ohlund, Luc Bourdon, Lukas Krajicek, Burrows, Trevor Linden, Kesler, Cooke, Chouinard, and Bulis. Minus-skating Canucks (all minus-1) were Bieksa, Pyatt, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin. All remaining Canuck skaters were even.

The Canucks' second straight loss dropped them to 7-6-1 (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 15 points. This leaves them five points back of Minnesota and one ahead of Edmonton, and both of those teams have two games in hand on Vancouver. Colorado is a point back as well, but with one game in hand. Calgary is eight back with three in hand. Vancouver is seventh in the Western Conference. Minnesota is second. Anaheim leads the conference and has seven points on Vancouver with a game in hand. Dallas is fourth and has the same amount of points as Minnesota. Nashville leads their division with two more points than the Canucks. San Jose has a three-point lead on Vancouver and sits in fifth while Detroit is two up with a game in hand in sixth.

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