Friday, October 27, 2006


AP/CP photo -- Richard Lam

The Canucks have a long history of coming back to Vancouver after a long road trip and laying an egg in the first game. Though this game marked the beginning of what would only be a two-game homestand, the Canucks were about to embark on a stretch where eight of their next ten games would be at GM Place, home of a brand new CDN $5M LED scoreboard that hangs over center ice. The Canucks came home to face the Washington Capitals, who were not only bringing wunderkind Alexander Ovechkin to the Lower Mainland, they were also bringing horribly underrated goalie Olaf Kolzig and Alexander Semin, who has quietly scored a boatload of goals to start this young season. Also, the arrival of Washington was greatly welcomed in Vancouver as an actual team from the east had come to play Vancouver. Where the unbalanced schedule has done fairly well for Major League Baseball, the overwhelming majority feel that it's done the opposite for hockey. One may remember last season, when the Canucks opened up quite well at home and then that trend reversed itself with a vengeance, one of the many things that factored into the Canucks missing the playoffs in 2005-06.

1st period
Rory Fitzpatrick was trying to fish the puck out of his own end along the right-wing boards before he was stapled to said boards by former Canuck Donald Brashear about three minutes into the game. Just short of 11 minutes in, the Canucks turned the puck over in the attacking zone and Washington took it the other way quickly. Chris Clark took the puck across the blue line and passed to Alexander Ovechkin, who skated down the slot and made a move on the backhand that was stopped nicely by Roberto Luongo to his stick side. With just over seven minutes left, the Canucks took the puck across center, and a point shot from Lukas Krajicek was stopped by Olaf Kolzig. Brendan Morrison got to the rebound and was stopped in close by Kolzig, but the puck got back to him on the end boards. Morrison immediately centered to the high slot, where Jan Bulis quickly snapped it past Kolzig.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Jan Bulis 2 (Brendan Morrison, Lukas Krajicek) 12:47
The Canucks were in the middle of a power play when a delayed penalty was in effect (Shaone Morrisonn for hooking). Luongo was pulled and the Canucks sent an extra attacker to make it a 6-on-4 situation on the ice. A big Sami Salo slapshot from up high was stopped, and Krajicek got the puck at the end boards and skated along the left-wing boards, passing back to Salo at the blue line. Salo faked revving up on the slap shot, then passed to Henrik Sedin near the right-wing boards. Henrik centered to Taylor Pyatt, who found some open ice down low and tapped it past Kolzig.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Taylor Pyatt 6 (Henrik Sedin, Sami Salo) 15:12
Vancouver badly outshot the Capitals 16-1. They were 1-for-4 on the power play and didn't take a penalty.

2nd period
About six minutes in, the Capitals were on the power play. Matt Pettinger from the left hash passed to Mike Green, whose shot from up high was blocked, and Jamie Heward's backhand attempt from mid-slot was stopped and covered by Luongo right after. Late in the period, the Canucks ran into penalty trouble as Kevin Bieksa got five for scrapping with Chris Clark, then Luc Bourdon was called for a hold 44 seconds later, followed by Mattias Ohlund getting called for a hook 52 seconds after that. If you noticed anything about the three names in the box, half of Vancouver's defense corps was in the penalty box. With a two-man advantage, Ovechkin rifled a shot from the high slot that Luongo stopped, but Dainius Zubrus was in the right spot for the rebound, putting it through Luongo on the glove side as he couldn't quite go post to post in time.
»» 3, WASHINGTON, powerplay, Dainius Zubrus 5 (Alexander Ovechkin, Brian Pothier) 16:49
With a Washington power play just expiring, Kesler turned the puck over in his own zone, and Matt Bradley on the right-wing boards passed to Brian Sutherby, who took the puck to the doorstep on Luongo's stick side, then passed to a blazing-fast Ovechkin, who put the puck past a sprawling Luongo after having sprinted all the way from the right-wing boards. Just like that, the game was tied.
»» 4, WASHINGTON, Ovechkin 6 (Brian Sutherby, Matt Bradley) 18:25
The Capitals outshot Vancouver 16-11 in the period (but were behind 27-16). They were 1-for-4 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-1 (1-for-5 overall).

3rd period
Just past the five-minute mark, a Bourdon shot was blocked and Washington rushed it the other way. The puck came across center, and Ovechkin took it across the Vancouver blue line and rushed to the right circle, but Bourdon raced back to dive and pokecheck the puck away from Ovechkin. About six and a half minutes in, Bulis on the forecheck mashed Ben Clymer into the end boards. Vancouver once again badly outshot the Capitals 15-2 (42-19 overall). They were 0-for-2 (1-for-7) on the power play while Washington never got a power play chance (1-for-4).

Just past the half-minute mark, Bieksa stripped the puck away and he and Henrik Sedin headed off on a 2-on-1. At that point, Daniel Sedin came in behind the play and the twins did a little give-and-go, with Daniel ending up with the puck in front and getting absolutely robbed by Kolzig. Shots were two apiece in the overtime (44-21 total) and neither team had a power play chance. Washington finished 1-for-4 on the power play and Vancouver was 1-for-7. Luongo stopped 19 shots for the game.

D Sedin -- NO; Daniel went from backhand to forehand, but Kolzig stopped with right pad
Pettinger -- NO; Pettinger went through the middle and Luongo came way out to challenge stopping an attempt at the five-hole
Naslund -- YES; Naslund went from the right to the middle and made good on a backhand shot
Ovechkin -- NO; Ovechkin went from left to middle with speed and great move, deke from backhand to forehand and he had Luongo beat high to the glove side, but he hit the post
Morrison -- YES; Morrison went from forehand to backhand and tried the five-hole, and it appeared Kolzig had stopped it, but the puck trickled through and over the goal line, almost anticlimactically consider how stellar Kolzig was during the game

Three stars -- (1) Washington's Olaf Kolzig, (2) Morrison, (3) Naslund

skater, goals-assists-points
Bulis 1-0-1
Pyatt 1-0-1
Krajicek 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 28 of 60 draws (47%). Brendan Morrison won nine of 15, Ryan Kesler won seven of 14, Josh Green lost his only two draws, Marc Chouinard won five of 11, and Henrik Sedin won seven of 16. Sami Salo led the team with seven shots while Mattias Ohlund had six, and Daniel Sedin and Jan Bulis had five shots each. Taylor Pyatt and Matt Cooke dealt three hits. Alexandre Burrows, Markus Naslund, and Cooke notched two takeaways apiece. Luc Bourdon coughed up the puck twice. Kevin Bieksa led the team with three blocked shots, and Lukas Krajicek, Burrows, and Cooke blocked a pair apiece. Naslund missed the net with four shots.

In plus-minus, the plus-skating Canucks (all plus-1) were Morrison, Rory Fitzpatrick, Naslund, and Bulis. The minus-skating Canucks (all minus-1) were Ohlund, Salo, Kesler, and Cooke. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The win propelled the Canucks to a record of 7-4-1 (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 15 points. They have the fourth-most points in the conference, and they sit fifth in the West, three back of West-leading Minnesota, two back of Anaheim, Nashville leads their division (Vancouver has four more points), and Dallas is a point ahead. All of those teams have two games in hand except for Nashville, who has three. The Canucks have one point more than sixth-place San Jose, three more than seventh-place Edmonton (who has two games in hand), and four up on eighth-place Detroit. Minnesota leads the Northwest Division, the Canucks are second, and Edmonton is third. Colorado lies five back with two games in hand, and Calgary is eight back with four in hand.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


AP photo -- Nam Y. Huh

This was the Canucks 11th game of the season. Nine of their 11 games were road games, giving the fans and coaching staff some measure of how the team might jell together and how they would play on the road. Coming into the game, the Canucks were 5-4-1 anyway, and considering not everything has fallen into place for the Canucks as to line combinations and whether Luc Bourdon sticks with the club or gets sent back to junior (how well Willie Mitchell recovers from his concussion might have a say in that), even if they lost this game and finished the stretch 5-5-1, it'd still be pretty good. However, the Chicago Blackhawks were hitting the ice without Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin for a couple weeks, and Michal Handzus is out for the season with a knee injury.

Also, the Canucks didn't shut out a single team last season. Theit last shutout was March 24th of 2004, a 1-0 win in Los Angeles in which Dan Cloutier stopped 15 shots in his first game coming off of a hip injury that sidelined him for two games. That win was the Canucks' second in eight games after the Todd Bertuzzi incident. The Canucks hadn't shut out a team in 97 games. Roberto Luongo came into the game with 27 career shutouts.

1st period
Near the five-minute mark, Brian Boucher left the net to play a Vancouver dump-in. Jim Vandermeer shoveled the puck toward the right-wing corner, where it was blocked and Josh Green chased it down along the right-wing boards. Green dished to Mattias Ohlund in the high slot, who shot toward the net, but it looked to have deflected off of Vandermeer's skate or stick in front. The puck banked to Matt Cooke to the right side, and he took the puck from behind him and roofed a backhander over Boucher on the short side.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Matt Cooke 1 (Mattias Ohlund, Josh Green) 4:54
On a late power play, Kevin Bieksa near the blue line passed to Markus Naslund near the right hash. Naslund scanned the scene for a few seconds before passing across to Ohlund near the left hash. Ohlund put a wrister toward the net that was deflected through by Brendan Morrison's stick.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Brendan Morrison 3 (Ohlund, Markus Naslund) 16:58
Vancouver outshot Chicago 8-3 in the period. They were 1-for-4 on the power play while Chicago was 0-for-1.

2nd period
Ealy in the period, Henrik Sedin and Taylor Pyatt skated across the blue line on somewhat of a 2-on-2 rush, though the speed slowed down a bit. Having just crossed the blue line, Henrik appeared to be doing a basic shoot-in, but the bouncing puck found its way past Boucher for a cheapie. It looked like it may have gone off a skate or stick of defenseman Duncan Keefe, who was covering Henrik as he crossed into the Chicago zone.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 1 (Daniel Sedin, Sami Salo) 3:41
On the dying seconds of a Chicago powerplay about six minutes in, Tony Salmelainen rushed up the left side, skated around Lukas Krajicek, and put a shot in close on Roberto Luongo that was stopped by Luongo. Martin Lapointe put the rebound wide to Luongo's glove side on a golden chance. Just past the halfway mark of the period. Henrik Sedin at the right hash struggled for the puck and eventually found Daniel Sedin, who moved toward the net before passing across the slot to Taylor Pyatt, who shot to a seemingly open net, but Boucher had a moment of brilliance, putting down the paddle to make the save. Less than a minute later, the Canucks won a faceoff in their own zone, but Krajicek had his outlet pass intercepted. The puck stayed in the zone, and a pass fed Lapointe near the right hash, who unleashed a slap shot that was nicely gloved by Luongo. About a minute and a half later, the Canucks won a faceoff outside the Chicago blue line. Daniel Sedin chased the dump-in along the end boards and passed to brother Henrik along the goal line left of the net. Henrik shot from a very sharp angle and was stopped, but Pyatt had skated into the slot from the right side and put the rebound through.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Taylor Pyatt 5 (H Sedin, D Sedin) 11:45
Vancouver was outshot 18-11 in the period (21-19 overall). They didn't get a power play chance while Chicago was 0-for-4 (0-for-5).

3rd period
Pyatt took the puck over the blue line at the right point and dropped it for Daniel Sedin. Daniel left the puck in the right-wing corner for brother Henrik, whose centering pass was knocked away by Boucher and a defender in front. Henrik followed his own shot and snapped it through on the glove side.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, H Sedin 2 (D Sedin, Pyatt) 16:24
Vancouver outshot Chicago 12-11 (but were outshot 32-31 total). They were 0-for-1 (1-for-5) on the power play while Chicago didn't get a power play chance and finished 0-for-5. Luongo stopped all 32 shots he faced.

Three stars -- (1) H Sedin, (2) D Sedin, (3) Ohlund

skater, goals-assists-points
H Sedin 2-1-3
D Sedin 0-3-3
Pyatt 1-1-2
Ohlund 0-2-2
Cooke 1-0-1
Morrison 1-0-1
Green 0-1-1
Naslund 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, Vancouver won 33 of 63 draws (52%). Brendan Morrison won five of 11, Ryan Kesler won ten of 17, Matt Cooke won one of three, Josh Green won nine of 15, and Marc Chouinard won seven of 14. Henrik Sedin led the team with five shots, and each of Lukas Krajicek, Morrison, Taylor Pyatt, and Cooke had three shots. Kevin Bieksa and Cooke dished out three hits apiece. Mattias Ohlund blocked two shots to lead the team.

In plus-minus, the Canucks gave up zero goals, so no one's a minus. Plus-1 Canucks included Luc Bourdon, Krajicek, Sami Salo, Kesler, Rory Fitzpatrick, Cooke, and Green. Plus-2 skaters were Mattias Ohlund and Bieksa. Better still were the plus-3 guys, the red-hot line of Pyatt, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The win propelled the Canucks to 6-4-1 (3-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for 13 points. As a result, they sit at sixth in the Western Conference and second in the Northwest Division. Both teams sandwiching them in the division have two games in hand, with Minnesota up three points and Edmonton a point back. Colorado has a single game in hand and lies three points back. Calgary is six back with three in hand. Anaheim and Dallas also have 16 points like Minnesota, and the Ducks lead the Pacific Division and are second in the conference. Dallas is fourth trailing Anaheim by one goal scored. San Jose has a game in hand on the Canucks and leads by a point in fifth. The Oilers and Colorado are seventh and eighth in the West.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


AP photo -- David Pellerin

The Canucks traveled to Dallas to face a red-hot Stars team whose start has been bested only by undefeated Buffalo this season. This was the Canucks' fourth game of the five-game road trip. This was the Canucks' tenth game in the season-opening stretch that included nine of the first 11 games on the road. On the current road trip, the Canucks are 2-1, with the lone loss coming on the back end of a home-and-home with the Oilers. The two other wins were back-to-back wins in Saint Louis and Nashville, both of which featured the Canucks trailing in the third period, tying it late in the third, then winning in overtime. Meanwhile, Dallas goalie Marty Turco has an absolutely crazy record in net against Canadian teams for no good reason. Furthermore, he has only two career losses against Vancouver. The Canuck power play has been terrible lately, but the other half of the special teams could be proud because they'd killed off 33 of the last 37 opposing power plays.

1st period
The Canucks scored on their first shot of the game, the opposite of a late trend in which the opposing team usually scores on their first shot. On a fairly quick play, Taylor Pyatt behind the net spotted Henrik Sedin along the goal line on the right side, and he quickly found his brother Daniel Sedin and passed to him across the crease, and Daniel beat Marty Turco over the right shoulder.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Daniel Sedin 5 (Henrik Sedin, Taylor Pyatt) 1:46
It's not different at all, actually, since Dallas ended up scoring on their first shot of the game. Niklas Hagman rushed across the blue line and snapped the puck as well as Kevin Bieksa's stick (clear out of his hands). The puck went deflected off Bieksa's stick and past Luongo.
»» 2, DALLAS, Niklas Hagman 3 (Matthew Barnaby, Philippe Boucher) 2:24
The Canucks outshot Dallas 9-5 in the period. They were 0-for-1 on the power play while Dallas was 0-for-2.

2nd period
Early in the period, Turco got chopped in close by Ryan Kesler and lost his stick as a result. After a flurry of scoring chances, Turco finally smothered the puck with his gloves. Shortly after that, young'un Alexandre Burrows and pest of pests Matthew Barnaby threw down the gloves. With eight and a half minutes to go, Jere Lehtinen looked to have passed to Mike Modano, who unleashed an incredible short-angle wrister from the right faceoff dot that beat Roberto Luongo inside the far post, but it was waved off as Lehtinen was ruled to have passed the puck to Modano with his glove. Vancouver outshot Dallas 10-7 in the period (19-12 overall). They were 0-for-1 (0-for-2) on the power play while the Stars were 0-for-2 (0-for-4).

3rd period
With Dallas on a two-man advantage and the Canucks having killed off 37 of their last 41 penalties, the odds finally caught up with Vancouver on Dallas' third two-man advantage situation of the game as Eric Lindros near the left point shot to the net, and Modano was in the right spot for the rebound (right circle), putting it through just past Luongo's left skate.
»» 3, DALLAS, powerplay, Mike Modano 5 (Eric Lindros, Sergei Zubov) 8:33
Inside the final minutes with Luongo pulled from the net for an extra skater, the Canucks generated some chances that they sadly couldn't generate on the many late power plays that Dallas gave them, and in a scoring flurry, the puck trickled through Turco's legs and Kesler spotted it and tried to tap it past the goal line, but was held off not by Turco, but by the blade of Sergei Zubov's stick as the two battled to a stalemate. It was on the wrong side of the goal line as far as Vancouver was concerned. Vancouver outshot Dallas 15-14 in the period (34-26 total). They were 0-for-4 (0-for-6) on the power play while Dallas was 1-for-3 (1-for-7). Luongo stopped 24 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Dallas' Marty Turco, (2) Dallas' Mike Modano, (3) Ohlund

skater, goals-assists-points
D Sedin 1-0-1
Pyatt 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, Vancouver won 32 of 57 draws (56%). Brendan Morrison won ten of 15, Ryan Kesler won five of 13, Josh Green lost both of his, Marc Chouinard won seven of 11, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 14. Green led the team with five shots, and five other Canucks had three shots apiece. Alexandre Burrows led the team in dishing out four hits, and Mattias Ohlund and Matt Cooke delivered three apiece. Green notched two takeaways. Sami Salo coughed up the puck five times, and Ohlund did so three times. Ohlund, Trevor Linden, and Cooke missed the net twice each with shots.

In plus-minus, not a lot of goals were scored, so there isn't much fluctuation. Plus-skating Canucks (all plus-1) were Salo, Taylor Pyatt, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin. Minus-skating Canucks (all minus-1) were Kevin Bieksa, Burrows, Linden, and Chouinard. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The loss dropped the Canucks to 5-4-1 (3-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for 11 points. This puts them at third in the Northwest Division and seventh in the Western Conference. They trail Minnesota by three points and Edmonton by one, and both of those teams have played two less games. Colorado trails by a single point but has a game in hand. Calgary is in the cellar, six points back but with three in hand. Colorado with their ten points are eighth in the West. Dallas leads with 16. Minnesota (2nd), Anaheim (4th), and San Jose (5th) all have 14 points. Nashville leads the Central Division with nine points and are therefore third in the West. The Canucks travel to Chicago for a Wednesday night game.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006


AP photo -- Elaine Thompson

That's Matt Hasselbeck above, in healthier times. I'm pretty sure that's the audible call before the Darrell Jackson touchdown.

I almost don't feel like saying anything about the game, but I'll say stuff.

-- I barely heard Deion Branch's name until the meaningless catches in the fourth quarter.

-- Whoever had Darrell Jackson on their fantasy team had at least something to cheer about today.

-- The way I look at it, with the Seahawks losing a home game, they have to steal one on the road (non-division) to make up for it. Take your pick between Kansas City, Denver, and Tampa Bay.

-- Mack Strong got absolutely no love today. With all the crap we've given Mike Holmgren for abandoning the run, he sure as hell didn't abandon giving the ball to Mo Morris on first down and having him get one and two yards every time. Again, Strong got no love, I barely heard his name called, and it made it worse when Morris dropped a couple of passes.

-- Jerramy Stevens appeared in the game and had a catch overturned on a replay challenge. He didn't catch a single ball today.

-- Nate Burleson didn't have a single catch today.

-- It was much too late before Seneca Wallace started running.

-- Either Chester Taylor's uniform was covered in Crisco or the Seahawk defense was doing their best impression of Randall Godfrey trying to wrap up Ahman Green in the backfield on fourth down in the playoff game in Green Bay in 2003.

-- The tonesetter: blown special teams coverage from the first kickoff, and Bethel Johnson gets a 49-yard return. The Vikings only got a field goal on the drive, but it wouldn't be the first time the coverage unit got burned.

-- I'm tired of seeing this team getting beat on deep balls and trick plays, the latter of which probably lingers from the Super Bowl last February. I'm tired of Marcus Robinson from 2003 reappearing (at least it was Brad Johnson throwing to him today instead of Anthony Wright) and I'm tired of things like Mewelde freakin' Moore throwing a touchdown pass. Sickening.

Now the big story...

It was a 3rd-and-15 play and the Seahawks were in a shotgun formation as the play unfolded. Matt Hasselbeck's short pass to Josh Parry (yes, Josh Parry) went off a helmet, and EJ Henderson rolled into him after he'd thrown the ball, buckling his knee in a play a little too reminiscent of the Carson Palmer/Kimo vonOelhoffen play from last year's playoffs. To me, this looked a little less vicious than that. Given the preliminary diagnosis of an MCL sprain instead of an ACL tear like Palmer had, it seems to be the case.

Through the Seahawks' first four games, through the bye, and even into last week, everyone knew that the Seahawks could scrape by and get wins without Shaun Alexander, as even though he'd played in the first few games of the season, he basically wasn't himself. The Seahawks hadn't had Jerramy Stevens on the field until today, but the Seahawks were scraping by without him too. Bobby Engram has been diagnosed with the thyroid problem, but I know what DJ Hackett can do, and the Seahawks have incredible depth at wide receiver.

I know the Seahawks have ten games left to play. I know they're expecting Shaun Alexander back in a couple weeks. The next two weeks have the Seahawks playing in Arrowhead with the Chiefs coming off a big win against San Diego, and returning home to host the Raiders, who hopefully are back to earth after beating Arizona.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: how much can you reasonably expect out of the Seahawk offense when the only playmakers that are fully healthy (if Jerramy Stevens doesn't even catch a ball today, I'm not convinced he's all the way back) are wide receivers who have a second-string quarterback throwing to them who has had barely any regular-season gametime experience in the NFL? How much can you expect out of a team when they're basically running an offense at about 30% (maybe that's what the math works out to if you surrender your running game and lose the guy throwing to your receivers)? That's what it seems like to me right now, anyway.

They've got no running game, and the guy passing to all the wide receivers is the second-stringer. In other words, it'll be hard to put up points, and the defense will get tired fast.

The four wins the Seahawks have had this year have been great due to what kind of adversity they've had to overcome to get those wins.

...but the two losses so far have been absolutely brutal. At least with the Chicago loss, you could tell yourself every team's liable to have a game like that, and it was on the road in a hostile environment without your MVP running back. This game was a home game against a tough conference opponent, and you came in without your MVP running back anyway but lost your Pro Bowl quarterback to boot who knows the offense inside and out and had the weight of everyone in Seattle on his shoulders to pick this team up to make up for Shaun Alexander being down.

Folks, nothing good happened at Qwest Field today. Nothing.

I need to find something else to do with the rest of my day, because I'll just be distraught if I keep thinking about this.

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Google Earth photo

Minnesota VIKINGS at Seattle SEAHAWKS, 1:15p (Fox)

Of course, the Seahawks need to win this game.

I've said for a while now that the two things the Seahawks need to do are run the table at home and sweep their NFC West games.

Sweeping division play and defending the home turf would get the Seahawks 11 wins. The win in Detroit figures into neither of those criteria, but you could say the Seahawks could end up with 12 wins.

Though it wasn't a division loss, the embarrassment in Chicago was a conference game, and that's not good. The Seahawks have that win against the Giants, which was nice, but that win was also the only one against what could be considered a tough conference (non-division) opponent, though I know the season is still young.

The point is, the Seahawks need to win a game like this, one against a formidable conference opponent.

They just need to win a ton of games in general. It might be tough with Shaun Alexander out, but they need that #1 seed again so they don't end up playing playoff games in Chicago or some horribly hostile environment.

The first immediate step to that, of course, is to win this game. It'd also be nice to prove Vic Carucci completely wrong, since he's saying a whole lotta Chester Taylor will end the Seahawks' 12-game home win streak. I'm more afraid of deep balls to Marcus Robinson, as anyone remembering the 2003 game in Baltimore might. That Baltimore team that year also had Taylor.

Let's hope Taylor doesn't run roughshod and Robinson racks up 100 yards and three touchdowns or anything stupid like that.

And let's hope the return of Jerramy Stevens helps this offense look more like itself. Of course, it may have looked more like itself last week, but that whole earthquake thing (more like statewide hours/days-long power outage) happened here, and I kind of never heard or watched the entire game, though I have means with which to listen to it.

Anyway, game on...and I didn't even mention a certain former Seahawk offensive tackle or how the Vikings' new uniforms are hokey and too CFL-y.

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AP photo -- John Russell

The Canucks pulled out a win on Friday night that they probably should have had all along. They more than doubled up the Blues in the shot department 39-19, but failed to put a puck past Curtis Sanford until 12:30 remained in the third period. They scored two third-period goals to tie the game in the third period before Sami Salo's wrist shot won the game at the final horn. It was Vancouver's second overtime win of the season, and the second time they'd come back to tie the game after trailing in the third period. However, the Canucks had to come back the very next night and play in Nashville, a considerably tougher opponent with great talent and an even better goalie (Tomas Vokoun). I can tell you that I wasn't expecting a win in this game. I can also tell you that some of the ways in which this team is winning games so far this season are really surprising me.

1st period
Markus Naslund on a rush on the right side passed over to Jan Bulis inside the left circle, who wristed one past Tomas Vokoun on the stick side for his first goal as a Canuck.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Jan Bulis 1 (Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 1:00
Shea Weber flung a puck toward the net from near the right point that was deflected past Roberto Luongo by Scott Hartnell out in front, who got his stick on the puck, which knuckled past.
»» 2, NASHVILLE, Scott Hartnell 3 (Shea Weber, Vernon Fiddler) 5:55
Daniel Sedin got the puck behind the net and spotted Taylor Pyatt mid-slot, who directed it past Vokoun.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Taylor Pyatt 4 (Daniel Sedin, Sami Salo) 16:13
Vancouver badly outshot Nashville 16-6 in the period. The Canucks were 0-for-3 on the power play while Nashville was 0-for-2.

2nd period
Mikko Lehtonen was bumped off the puck behind his own net and it went to Shea Weber, who skated along the left-wing boards and toward the point before finding JP Dumont wide open heading into the Vancouver zone as Mattias Ohlund was caught up the ice. Dumont broke away and wristed the puck past Vokoun.
»» 4, NASHVILLE, JP Dumont 2 (Mikko Lehtonen, Weber) 3:35
Lukas Krajicek got trapped up the ice after losing the puck, and Paul Kariya skated it hard the other way down the left side and had a 2-on-1 break with Martin Erat. Kariya held the puck until passing to Erat in the high slot, who snapped it through Luongo on the glove side.
»» 5, NASHVILLE, Martin Erat 4 (Paul Kariya, Kimmo Timonen) 6:40
On a two-man advantage, Kimmo Timonen was foiled by Luongo's glove on a shot from the high slot with 8:50 left in the period. Vancouver was outshot 19-11 for the period (but led 27-25 overall). Vancouver was 0-for-1 (0-for-4) on the power play while Nashville was 0-for-2 (0-for-4).

3rd period
Four minutes into the period, Nashville coughed up the puck in their own zone, but Josh Green was stopped by Vokoun. Eight minutes into the period, Kariya rushed the puck up the right side as he and Timonen got behind the Vancouver defenders. He passed to Timonen, who returned the puck with Kariya on the doorstep, but the latter was held off by Luongo. Just short of the midway mark of the period, Kariya centered a pass to Timonen, who was stopped valiantly by Luongo, who dove out for it. Timonen looked up in disbelief as he had been robbed. With the seconds having just ticked away on a late Vancouver power play, the Canucks had sustained pressure in the Nashville zone. Mattias Ohlund wristed the puck toward the net that went off of Bulis' skate in front and Morrison got to the loose puck and put the paddle on it through some minor traffic and got it past Luongo on the stick side.
»» 6, VANCOUVER, Morrison 2 (Bulis, Mattias Ohlund) 18:20
Shots were 12 apiece (Vancouver led 39-37). The Canucks were 0-for-3 (0-for-7) on the power play while Nashville was 0-for-2 (0-for-6).

Salo had the puck at the end boards in his own zone and made a long pass to Matt Cooke just past the Vancouver blue line. He and Ryan Kesler crossed the Nashville blue line, and Krajicek joined the fray. Cooke threw a bit of an elbow onto Weber, who looked like he embellished it, but he nearly blocked the wrister by Krajicek from just past the left hash that beat Vokoun up high.
»» 7, VANCOUVER, Lukas Krajicek 1 (Ryan Kesler, Matt Cooke) 2:32
Vancouver outshot Nashville 7-3 (46-40 total). There were no penalties in the overtime, so Vancouver finished 0-for-7 and Nashville was 0-for-6. Luongo stopped 37 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Krajicek, (2) Luongo, (3) Nashville's Tomas Vokoun

skater, goals-assists-points
Bulis 1-1-2
Morrison 1-1-2
Krajicek 1-0-1
Pyatt 1-0-1
Cooke 0-1-1
Kesler 0-1-1
Naslund 0-1-1
Ohlund 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 35 of 74 draws (47%). Brendan Morrison won five of 15, Trevor Linden won one of three, Ryan Kesler won eight of 15, Daniel Sedin won one of four, Josh Green won one of five, Marc Chouinard won nine of 13, and Henrik Sedin was nine for 18. Sami Salo and Henrik Sedin led the team with six shots apiece, and Kevin Bieksa, Morrison, and Matt Cooke had five shots apiece. Salo delivered three hits to lead the team. Lukas Krajicek and Willie Mitchell coughed up the puck twice each. Krajicek blocked three shots to lead the Canucks. Jan Bulis missed the net twice.

In plus-minus, the plus-skating Canucks were all plus-1 and they were Mattias Ohlund, Krajicek, Salo, Morrison, and Bulis. Willie Mitchell was the lone minus-skating Canuck, and he was minus-1 and eventually injured on a hit from Jason Arnott. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The win elevates the Canucks to 5-3-1 (3-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for 11 points. This puts them three back of Northwest Division-leading Minnesota, who has played one less game. They are one point ahead of third-place Edmonton, who has played two less games. Colorado (three back with one less game) and Calgary (six back, two less games) are further back in the division. Dallas leads the conference and also has 14 points. Nashville leads their division with nine points and is therefore third in the conference. Vancouver is sixth in the West and is one point behind Anaheim (two less games played) and San Jose (one less game). The Canucks lost in Edmonton followed by two back-to-back overtime wins to take them to the current point in the road trip. The final two games of the five-game trip take them to Dallas on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday.

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