Vancouver Canucks 4 - Minnesota Wild 1
Game Review:Well, make that four in a row. The Vancouver Canucks are 'finally' getting on a roll and putting together some solid efforts for 60 minutes. Perhaps Danial Sedin was on to something when he suggested that the final 30 minutes of their last game against the Edmonton Oilers saw them turn a corner.
Daniel opened the scoring in tonight's game and the Canucks dominated the Wild in the first period, playing a near-perfect road game en route to victory.
Cory Schneider got the start and was not tested much in the first 20 minutes, but he was there when he needed to be in the second period. He made 22 saves for the win and look impressive. He should get the start Saturday against Calgary - but who knows what Alain Vigneaulut's coin toss suggests he should do.
Three UpCory Schneider - Lots of pressure on the Canucks' goaltender these days. Every time he starts a game he has to be on, or he risks losing his job. Not an easy feat, but Schneider delivered once again on Thursday night.
Mason Raymond - A terrific pass to set up Jannik Hansen's goal, and a goal of his own on the powerplay to put the game out of reach for the Wild. Raymond's quietly had a very strong start with four goals and two assists (4-2-6) in 10 games played. It's still a bit early to talk about 'pace', but Raymond would be on a 30 goal, 50 point pace over a full 82-game season.
Jannik Hansen - Speaking of being fast out of the gates, Hansen continues to fly in whatever role he plays for the Canucks. His breakaway goal last night showcased his flat out speed and his underrated shot. This guy may be the unsung hero for the Canucks this early season.
Honourable mention - Dale Weise for his two scraps which ignited his team and drew them a power play.
Three DownZenon Konopka - It's cool to assert yourself and try to establish your game and generate momentum for your team, and that's what Konopka did in the first period. But in the third period, with the score 4-0 and the Canucks in full control, Konopka went out of his way to instigate a second fight with Dale Weise. Poor form Zenon. Weise clearly was not interested in a pointless second fight. Thankfully, the officials dinged Konopka for an instigator penalty and kicked him out.
Minnesota Wild - That's right, their whole team. It must take a while for free agents signings Parise and Suter to integrate with the rest of the group on the ice, but Thursday night's effort wasn't lacking on execution, it was lacking on effort. Mike Yeo's days as head coach may be numbered.
Penalty Killing - On a night where the Wild were sleepwalking through most of the game, the Canucks pretty much gifted Tom Gilbert the Wild's only goal. With Keith Ballard already behind the net in a puck battle, Jason Garrison chose to join him, leaving the Canuck forwards extremely out-numbered, and TOm Gilbert wide open in the slot. Those two do not normally play together, and it was one gaffe on a very strong night for the defense, but the Canucks penalty kill percentage suffered as a result.
Final ThoughtMedia in Vancouver will point out how tough the fans are on the team at times - and they're right. The Canucks aren't just expected to win, but they have to win 'convincingly'. Thursday night, they got their wish for only the third time this season. Three of the Canucks' wins have come in overtime or the shootout, while four of their losses have involved blowing leads or not showing up at all.
Despite the mixed efforts over the first 10 games, their results are strong with a 6-2-2 record. The best Canucks 10 games in have probably been Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, Zack Kassian, Keith Ballard, Chris Tanev, Roberto Luongo, and Cory Schneider. Who on earth would have predicted THAT before the season began?