One of the lingering impressions that we as Canucks fans are left with when we think back to the Marc Crawford regime was his insistence on not rolling out the backup goalie (no matter who it was) against certain teams that Dan Cloutier had a bad record against. Old habits apparently die hard, and if I were a Dallas Stars fan, I would be PISSED if Kari Lehtonen gets the start in the final match between these teams on the 19th. Outscored 15-3 in 3 games, Dallas may lead their division, but they simply have no answer for the Canucks. That's not to say it's all Lehtonen's fault, but you have to think they need to try something different in the next match, because they've been flat out embarrassed so far. More after the jump...
Okay, quick show of hands: How many of you had Ryan Kesler leading the team in goals?
Why must you turn this into a house of LIES? The emergence of Kesler as a legitimate NHL superstar has been one of this season's most pleasant surprises, but even after a couple solid seasons, the year he is having was beyond even the wildest dreams of most.
Not much to pick on as far as last night went, special teams once again settling into a nice groove, as Mikael Samuellson seems to be settling back into a nice groove. The PK was effective last night, and Cory Schneider once again proved that you just can't seem to rattle the ginger-haired rookie. Speaking of rookies, a pretty solid debut for Cody Hodgson last night, as he had a couple chances in front of the net and he really tried to make the most of his limited ice time. Give this kid a couple games and he will really show us what he's made of, I think. I also like the way Chris Tanev has fit in on the back end. Calm and collected, every first pass this kid makes is on the tape, and both he and Lee Sweatt have hardly looked like callups back there. And to think some thought we had no depth on the farm.
Alexandre Burrows had another strong game, and a 3rd period full of chances saw him rewarded with his 3rd goal in as many games. After missing the start of the season recovering from surgery and a slow start, he seems to getting hot as they get into the stretch drive. The Canucks now sit 2 points clear of the Flyers for 1st overall in the NHL, and they can increase that to 4 points if they can pull off a victory in Phoenix tonight against the Coyotes. Home has hardly been good to the 'Yotes this season with a record of 10-9-5 and with 59 points they sit 6th in the West, just 2 points ahead of the 9th place Minnesota Wild.
As the future in Phoenix is once again clouded, there haven't been many bright spots for them, but one is definitely the emergence of Keith Yandle. The All Star has become an offensive juggernaut for the desert dogs, and shutting him down will be a key for the Canucks tonight. Both teams play tonight, the Coyotes coming off a disappointing 5-3 loss to San Jose after leading the game 3-0. Roberto Luongo will go for the Canucks tonight, while the Coyotes should go with Ilya Bryzgalov. Luongo is looking to extend his unbeaten in regulation streak, which currently sits at 17 games (12-0-5). Phoenix leads the season series 1-0 after handing the Canucks one of their few regulation losses at home this season.
Just coffee, thanks...
After much yapping from fans and media across the league about how soft the Northwest division is this season, two of the teams that looked to be out of it are knocking on the playoff door. Minnesota is now 1 point out of the final spot, and the Calgary Flames are just 3 back after both squads won last night... Pittsburgh's Jordan Stall won't receive any further discipline for his sucker punch last night on the Rangers' Brandon Prust. It was a little surprising to see Stall lash out like that, especially over a seemingly innocuous hit by Prust on a Penguin player. Did Prust embellish this? You be the judge...
WAACH 'Cast's Band Of The Day- NILE
As the world focuses on the battle for democracy in Egypt, I thought it fitting to unleash the band that has made a career of influence from the cradle of civilization: Nile. Based in South Carolina, they have not just used Egyptian themes and lyrical content in their music, but have incorporated instruments used in the region in their near symphonic approach to brutal death metal. It may be too extreme for some of you, but the dedication to their art has made this band a favorite of mine for years now.