Game 17 – 4th Line Steps Up
The Canucks won their 7th of 10 games, they went into Minnesota and won their 4th in a row at the Xcel Energy Center, and they got an important divisional win. The Canucks leaders got to take a night off as the 4th line took over and the Canucks secondary scoring really showed. With the number of injuries the Canucks have taken this season, and the number of different players that are dressed, it somehow seemed like no surprise that the 4th line was due.
Darcy Hordichuk and Matt Pettinger led the 4th line which was buzzing all night and the pair both got their first goals of the season. Pettinger who’s in his second go around with the club, started the season with the Canucks affiliate the Victoria Salmon Kings, found his way onto their AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose, and this time around wants to make an impression on the team so that they keep him around.
The Canucks got their first shorthanded goal of the season and Henrik who’s been dynamite offensively at home, notched the shorthanded goal which will help his road stats. The one half of the twins has 13 points at home and only 5 points on the road.
Ryan Johnson returned tonight after missing 9 days because of a concussion he faced after going hard into the boards in the Detroit game, but it seems everytime the Canucks get a player, they lose another to injury. Tonight the Canucks were without Bernier due to the flu and Shane O’Brien served his one game suspension, the first suspension of his career after an altercation with Sean Avery in the Canucks game against the Rangers.
The Canucks win was an important road win against a divisional opponent that is the first of 5 games away from the Garage. The Canucks two points came on the back of another outstanding Raycroft performance seeing him make 28 saves for his 4th win in 5 starts. The back up has really stepped up so far and is giving the Canucks the chance they need to win every night. The Canucks now sit at 10-7 going into the second of back to back games tomorrow vs the Stars. Luongo’s slated return is estimated to be next Tuesday against the Blues and if Raycroft can stand tall till then, the Canucks as injury ravished as they are, will be well ahead of where they should be based on the depleted roster they’ve been dressing.