Game 11 – Above .500
The Canucks last night for the first time this season went above .500 as their win puts them at 6-5 on the season. Last night’s win wasn’t fantastic, but there was a lot of interesting stuff going and the kids that have been called up as the injured reserve looked great last night. Firstly though, the night ended and the Canucks 2-0 shutout win over the Oilers marked another Canucks goaltending record that Luongo now owns. His shutout last night was his 48th career shutout and 21st as a Canuck. That puts him in sole possesion of first place on the Canucks all time shutout list after being tied at 20 with Kirk McLean. Luongo’s 21st shutout, and the record breaking one, comes exactly 3 years to the day from his first shutout in a Canucks uniform done against Chicago.
Last night also marked the return of Sergei Shirokov to the lineup after Kyle Wellwood was put on the injured reserve with a fractured toe after Saturday’s game against the Leafs. Last night was all about the kids. Grabner continued to prove his case notching a goal and his 5th point in 6 games. Grabner’s fit with Kesler and Raymond is all about speed and last night it showed again with that line carrying the play and being the dominant line all night. Shirokov skated well, but again in his 4th game with the team failed to register a point and make an impact. Shirokov skated with Sedin and Samuelsson and Burrows saw time with Bernier and Bolduc.
Samuelsson notched another point on an assist to Henrik’s goal, and continues to get shots on net. The Canucks defence saw the Canucks debut of Mathieu Schneider who now dons number 27 for the boys in blue. Schneider looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Having not played a game since last year’s playoffs there was worry that he’d take a few games to find his legs, but after some time on the powerplay, and a few shifts get adjusted, Schneider looks like he’s up to speed with the team, and with news of Salo’s ahead of schedule rehabbing, the Canucks can afford to have Sami Salo take a few extra days to recover with Schneider manning the point as a replacement.
The Canucks play the Red Wings tomorrow night which will be the first time the two teams meet this season. The Canucks power play has been clicking as of late and their penalty kill has started tightening up. Last night no player was more prevalent on the penalty kill than Ryan Kesler and his speed has brought another dimension to the Canucks penalty kill. Tuesday’s game also marks the first time Samuelsson plays against his former team. Hopefully that adrenaline fuels a big night for the Swedish winger who’s been one of the best Canucks on the ice so far this season.