Oh where to start with this one. How about Roberto Luongo? Tonight was not his night. The Wild scored a strange one 1:58 into the game as Guillaume Latendresse fired a pass towards Kyle Brodziak in front of Luongo and the puck bounced off Brodziak's skate/stick/leg, Lou's pad, Brodziak's skate and in. The Canucks tried to quickly respond but Willie Mitchell got caught pinching in and Mikko Koivu blazed into the Canucks' zone on a 2-on-1 and buried a shot on Luongo's blocker side from a grade-A scoring spot. It was 2-0 Wild only 3:38 into the game.
Fortunately the Canucks started finding their legs (and brains) in the second half of the first period and for most of the 2nd (outshooting Minny 14-4 in the middle frame), as they tied the game 2-2 on goals by Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows. Unfortunately, the Wild found themselves with a 4-on-3 man advantage early in the 3rd period (deja-vu?), as Daniel Sedin was called for tripping and we know how the Canucks kill off 4-on-3's lately, right? Not-so well.
More after the jump.
Antii Mietttinen made Vancouver pay real quick to make it 3-2 on a beauty one-timer. About 7:00 later Owen Nolan scores on a flubber goal that Lou gaffed on to make it 4-2. A minute and a half later Miettinen scored again on a shot that Lou completely missed and that was the end of the night for Roberto.
The Canucks went into preservation mode when Andrew Raycroft played.....maybe in the quality chances against category. However the rest of the game was mostly Canucks failed goonery, as Darcy Hordichuk fought Derek Boogaard with not much happening there. Alexandre Bolduc took on a much larger John Scott moments later and was beaten down. Hats off to Bolduc for even risking his life there. It looked like Bolduc hurt his shoulder more than his face in that tilt. A few minutes after that Shane Hnidy beat up on Tanner Glass. The Canucks were not winning many battles on this night.
Beyond Luongo's rough night the team in front of him wasn't exactly performing up to par either. There were moments of brilliance on Vancouver's part but Minnesota beat them at their own game. The Wild looked to be the more desperate team overall. They sure as hell skated like it. They also moved the puck around masterfully.
-The refereeing was anything but unusual tonight which was good to see. The Canucks had 5 PP chances to the Wild's 4 before the Canucks cashed it in at about the 11:00 mark of the 3rd period. Then it got skewed.
-Good to see Burrows deflect one in after all the scandalous shit.
-I wonder what the Canucks' record is over the past few years when the Sedins record no points. It's has to be atrocious. Either the Wild shut the Twins down well or the Sedins sucked....or both.
-Wacky fact: Aaron Rome was smoked by Taylor Pyatt in the Canucks-Coyotes game in which the Vancouver won 4-0. Since then, the Canucks are 0-2-1. The Canucks with Brad Lukowich in their lineup are 0-2-1. Just sayin'.
-From here the Canucks' schedule gets screwy. They return home to play the Penguins on Saturday, then get 3 days off before they play the Oilers in Edmonton next Wednesday. They then play 4 consecutive home games before embarking on the road trip from hell. I'm not worried. Not yet. Now we hope Vancouver beats the Penguins and then we watch the scoreboard in between games. The Flames, who have just lost to the Penguins, play 3 games in that span, the Avs 2, the Kings 3, the Wild 3 and the Wings 4. Yeah, a potentially pivotal loss tonight.
-Word out there is that Alexandre Bolduc has a separated shoulder. Oh...well? Ryan Johnson should be back pretty soon anyway.
-Christian Ehrhoff was a team-worst -3 tonight. The sky is falling.
-It appears Luongo is weak high(er) on the blocker side. I wasn't paying attention to that before because I had my head too far up his ass. Crude am I? Yes. Did Lou not allow the first 2 goals on the first 2 shots of the 1st and 3rd periods?
-Gotta give kudos to Line 2 though. At least they showed some tenacity tonight.
-Derek Boogaard. Hate the guy. He was a goat earlier in the game but after he crushed Willie Mitchell with a beauty hit the Wild seemed to take off. On the other hand, Boogey told the media after the game that Alain Vigneault was sending Canucks on the ice to fight midway through the 3rd period. He was quoted as saying that Darcy Hordichuk told him just before their "tilt": "The coach is making US fight you guys.” AND??? STFU Booger.
MY 3 STARS:
1. Antii Miettinen: 2 goals and 1 assist
2. Mikko Koivu: 1 goal and 1 assist
3. Owen Nolan? Marek Zidlicky? Who cares?