Nov 052009

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.

Nov 012009

The Canucks after suffering a brutal 7-2 loss to the Ducks rebounded tonight with a solid showing. The Canucks head home for a game against the Western Conference leading Avalanche and came out of the four point game with a very important win. The Canucks climb into a playoff spot after tonight’s win, reduce the lead the Avalanche have on the division to 6 points, and climb to 8-7 on the year.

Raycroft played a solid game and did what he was called upon to do. The return of Wellwood allowed the Canucks to have 12 forwards, however after the warmup skate, Austrian Grabner injured his ankle and the Canucks were forced to play Rome as a forward for the 3rd game in a row. The Canucks played what’s as close to a full 60 minutes as they’ve played all season. While they didn’t get many shots on net, they didn’t have to tonight as they made Craig Anderson who has looked superb all season, look ordinary in his 15th consecutive start.

Kesler and Raymond both got their 5th goals of the season, and Tanner Glass provided the insurance marker in the third period after a fortuitous bounce gave the surprise roster player his first goal in a Canucks uniform. The Canucks for a team with the number of injuries they’ve taken sit above .500 and after an October that could have been worse start November in a good way. Canucks got news today that Daniel Sedin is out of his cast.

Sami Salo went down awkwardly in the 3rd period and was favouring his right knee on the bench. With the way the Canucks have been using defenseman to fill in forward spots, the last thing they can afford is to lose defenseman. Tonight Schneider was a healthy scratch as Shane O’Brien checked back in, and Hordichuk after being benched for two games came back and actually contributed on the ice. He was forechecking and looked better than he has in a while by actually skating instead of floating around the ice. The Canucks win tonight also gave Vigneault the win which pushes him into a tie for 3rd with Pat Quinn for wins behind the Canucks bench.

The Canucks next game is against the New York Rangers, and they get to see the new look Gaborik who’s managing to light the lamp and long lasting injury all at the same time.

Oct 312009

The Canucks injury woes finally showed last night. Starting backup goaltender Raycroft for his second game in as many nights earned him the hook after the Canucks allowed four straight goals after going up 2-0 early in the first period. With the injury to Bolduc the night before, the Canucks called up Mario Bliznak who had his NHL debut last night in a 7-2 loss to the Ducks. The Canucks spotted Raycroft an early 2-0 lead, and after dominating the first period allowed a weak one because of a defensive break down.

The Canucks dressing 8 defenseman and using two as wingers are in tight because of injuries. They stocked up on depth on the blue line, but this season the injuries seem to have plagued everything but the blue line as our defense corps is all healthy and accounted for. The Canucks are running out of players to call up should any others get injured. Right now they still have Guillaume Desbiens and Sergei Shirokov on the farm team who can be called up should any other forwards go down to injury. Alex Burrows was a game time decision based on an undisclosed potential injury nearly kept him out.

The Canucks injury list to date includes Demitra, Sedin, Luongo, Johnson, Wellwood, Hansen, and injury replacement call up Bolduc. The Canucks last night gave Raycroft, and Schneider in the 3rd period, no help at all. Defensive collapse after defensive collapse led to goal after goal. The Canucks PK continued to be amongst the league’s worst and it’s clear they miss Ryan Johnson. The Canucks without many of their primary players have found their secondary scoring has become their primary scoring and when that happens who do you look to to be secondary scorers? The Canucks goals came from Raymond and Bernier, each collecting their 4th of the season while Mitchell and Ehrhoff picked up an assist each.

The Canucks next play a red hot Avalanche team and will face surprise goaltending success Craig Anderson. The Canucks have a day off today to lick their wounds and come up with a solution to tide them over until they get more support from some of their key players who are on the injured reserve.

Oct 262009

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.

Oct 172009

Last night it was noticeable how bad Henrik was hurting. Watching live from the Saddledome every time Henrik got the puck he was trying to make some fancy play, a play that only Daniel knew how to handle, and a play which was ending up in a place only Daniel would know the destination of. In fact, it wasn’t just Daniel out there that didn’t know what was going on. The entire team looked like they’d fallen asleep in Vancouver and woken up in Calgary and were admist a bad dream. In fact, it was about as close to a bad dream the way they played and fell down 5-0.

Last night was rough. In the heart of enemy territory and you watch your team play the worst hockey of the young season. They looked unable to start anything. In fact there was only one point in the entire game where the Canucks looked like they were in the game and that was for the 30 seconds between Ehrhoff’s PP marker that made it 5-3 and the penalty Burrows took with less than two minutes left in the game.

The Canucks penalty kill was average and looked rudderless yet again, but the Canucks power play after being cool to start the game had two late power play goals on back to back power plays. I fully expected the Canucks to spend the first 20 minutes finding their legs, but it went from bad to worse and it was clear that a combination of things left them wishing the game would just end.

Tonight the Canucks play the Wild at home. The Wild came off a 5-2 loss to the Oilers last night and are looking to rebound against a Canucks team that needs a redemption win badly. Sitting at 2-4 on the season, the Canucks are in for a tough match and after last night need to come out looking like a completely different team. The Canucks were pushed around all night and if they’re not up for the rough game, they need to start skating their way to a victory.

Oct 122009

The Vancouver Canucks may be right to give thanks after their 4-3 shootout win over the Dallas Stars last night. They withstood an own goal and some untimely, sloppy defensive play but got the two points anyway, thanks to Kyle Wellwood’s and Ryan Kesler’s beauties in the shootout.

In their first game without Daniel Sedin, the Canucks played a much simpler game. They got the puck and moved it up quickly. They threw the puck on net and crashed Turco’s crease. They kept thing simple on the powerplay as well – they moved the puck around and got shots from the point – and scored 2 of their goals with the man-advantage.

Which is a good thing because, to be honest, the offense looked less dynamic without Daniel on the first line. Henrik still had a couple of assists but it’s obvious that his line with Bernier and Burrows has some gelling to do. Based on the chances they got last night, the goals are going to have to be more gritty than pretty.


Sami Salo got injured again last night:

Sami Salo suffered a left leg injury Sunday in a cornerboards collision with Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn at GM Place. The Vancouver Canucks defenceman appeared to favouring the leg when he left the game midway through the opening frame and played just 2:51. He had missed three defensive rotations and then lasted just 10 seconds on another shift before heading to the dressing room.

The good news is, the Canucks don’t play again until they meet the Flames in Calgary on Friday night so that should give Sami plenty of time to recover. The other good news is, we’re used to Sami missing time now that this shouldn’t even bother us anymore.

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