Monday, October 10, 2011

Canucks @ Blue Jackets - October 10, 2011

Canucks 3 - Blue Jackets 2 - Final

The Canucks started slowly once again, but rallied in the third period to triumph 3-2 in Columbus on Columbus day.  The contest was filled with a few odd events, including a dangerous hit from behind by Marc Methot on Henrik Sedin, and an interesting play in the third period that resulted in a disallowed goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but a penalty shot.

On the Methot hit, Sedin got up rather slowly and was seen stretching his right leg repeatedly.  Officials awarded the Canucks a two minute power play, and Henrik Sedin did return later in the game, but did not appear to be 100%.  It will be interesting to see if Henrik plays in the Canucks next game.  While it would be wise to rest him to ensure his health, he does have an iron man streak going that may (but shouldn't) weigh into the decision.

On the penalty shot in the third period, Canucks' defender Chris Tanev placed his hand on the puck in the crease, prompting the referees to blow the play dead.  However, the puck was shoved into the net almost simultaneously, and to make matters even more difficult, the net was also dislodged at the same time.  The referees did a good job and awarded the Blue Jackets a penalty shot on the play, but disallowed the goal.  This was unfortunate for the Jackets at it might have put the game out of reach for Vancouver at 3-1 in the third.  Instead, Cody Hodgson and Alex Burrows netted tallies to vault the Canucks to a 3-2 win, their first of the season.

Player Reviews
Daniel Sedin - 7.5
Sedin was relatively quiet tonight but connected with Burrows on the game winner in the third period.  Not the twins best effort, as zero shots combined would suggest, but they came through in the end.

Henrik Sedin - 7.5
Henrik Sedin had a tough night.  He didn't quite seem the same after being hit from behind into the boards.  Still, 50% of Henrik is still a pretty good passer.  He assisted on the game winner and got the power play on the board in the third period.

Alex Burrows - 8
Burrows had an eventful evening.  After coming to the aid of Henrik Sedin to some degree, he later fought Kris Russell in the second period, and netted the game winner in the third on a nice aggressive play to the net.

Cody Hodgson - 9
Cody potted his first goal of the season.  After winning an offensive zone faceoff to Hamhuis, he went to the net with his stick on the ice and tipped home the tying goal that queued the comeback.  Aside from the goal, Hodgson was arguably the most dangerous Canuck all night, and he appears to be the clear quarterback of the second power play unit.  Some solid poise and creativity made him exciting to watch tonight.

Mikael Samuelsson - 6.5
Samuelsson looked a bit better tonight, at least in his own zone.  On the whole, not a heck of a lot to complain about or praise.

Marco Sturm - 6.5
Sturm was noticeable on a couple of occasions, but unfortunately for him, a player known for his speed has not done too much to showcase it in the first two games this year.

Chris Higgins - 7.5
Higgins tallied the Canucks' first goal of the night, and played fairly well.  One miscue led to a goal against but that seemed to be more bad luck than anything.

Jannik Hansen - 7
Hansen made quite a nice play to set up the game's first goal, and played fairly well otherwise.  A good effort from the third line gets Hansen a 7.

Manny Malhotra - 7.5
Malhotra recorded an assist and did a bit of everything tonight.  Good on the forecheck and 56% on faceoffs.

Maxim Lapierre - 7
Lapierre had some excellent shifts late in the game in an effort to preserve the Canucks lead.

Dale Weise - 7.5
Weise had some very noticeable hits tonight, as well as a shot on goal.  He provided what was needed from the 4th line, but might have liked to see him challenge a Blue Jacket after Methot's hit on Sedin.

Aaron Volpatti - 7
Volpatti was less visible than Weise tonight.  Two hits in just over 8 minutes but not much else.

Alexander Edler - 7.5
Edler had three shots and three hits and was solid defensively.  On the power play he fanned twice, but otherwise was steady Eddie.

Sami Salo - 7.5
Salo was steady and reliable and moved the puck well.  Four shots on net and Three blocked shots in his own end.

Dan Hamhuis - 8
Hamhuis looked good on the power play tonight, and even set up Cody Hodgson for the tying goal in the third period.  He was decent in his own end on a night when Kevin Bieksa did not appear to be at his best.

Kevin Bieksa - 7
Bieksa was all over the ice tonight, but unlike last game, it was more hit and miss.  Bieksa joined the rush a few times and made timely pinches to apply offensive pressure.  On the defensive side, he turned the puck over a few times, and took himself out of position to hit Rick Nash, leading in part to Prospal's goal, Columbus' second of the night.

Keith Ballard - 8
Ballard was pretty solid all night. He rushed the puck well a few times and made some quality defensive plays to get the puck - and himself - out of trouble.  Can't be blamed for his -1 tonight.

Chris Tanev - 7
Tanev made a couple of mistakes, but may have saved a goal with his glove. He and Ballard did not play as much tonight, but settled down as the game rolled on.

Cory Schneider - 7.5
Schneider had a few miscommunications when handling the puck, but that could be as much the defence's fault as his own.  The wrap around goal by Prospal was weak, but his stop on the penalty shot in the third period was the proverbial turning point of the game.  He made the big save when he had to, and the team rewarded him.

Officiating - 7
Going to give the refs the benefit of the doubt on the Tanev glove / penalty shot play.  They could have called it a goal, a penalty shot, or a faceoff and I think all three would have been possible.  The most scrutinized call will be the two-minute minor to Marc Methot for his hit on Henrik Sedin.  Could have been more, as Methot did not let up on the play, but didn't aggressively shove Sedin either.  With the new Sheriff Shanny in town, I might expect two games, but nothing further would also not surprise me.  Aside from that, a couple of missed calls here and there, and it looked like Columbus embellished a trip early in the game, and Mason drew a borderline goaltender interference penalty as well.

PuckWatch Hat-Trick
1) The health of Henrik Sedin will be a big question over the next couple of days. He seemed to labour through the rest of the contest without his usual jump.  It will be interesting to see whether or not he's fit to play, and if his iron man streak enters the equation.  Henrik should realize that missing a game or two now may preserve his health in the playoffs - when it matters most.

2) Cody Hodgson played really well tonight.  In fact, he played so well that the commentators did not lament the absence of Ryan Kesler.  He ran the second power play unit and converted a nice tip in chance to tie the game.

3) Vancouver started fairly poorly again.  They did not record a shot until at least halfway through the first period, and were lucky to escape with a 1-1 tie.  Not sure if they are not respecting their opponents enough to open games, or if they're simply flat to start the year.

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