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Attacking the East

12:05 PM ET Update: Some pregame goodies include Davison stepping in for the injured Bieksa and, from the Washington Post via Kukla:

Coach Bruce Boudreau appears to have changed things up. Sergei Fedorov is wearing a black jersey this morning and he’s working with the defensemen. Michael Nylander, meantime, has replaced him as the second line center, while Boyd Gordon is centering the third line.

Also the WashPO piece notes that "Canuck for 30 seconds" Johnson, not Theodore, starts in net. Moving a puck-mover like Fedorov to the blueline is a move to counter the Canucks aggressive forecheck.


How the Canucks managed to escape yet another dreadful first period last night to leave Calgary with a win is beyond me. With the exception of the Sedin goal and Mitchell challenging Iginla to tone the game tempo down, Calgary was unstoppable. Roy scoring was hilarious in and of itself; the Flames were far more aggressive and made the Canucks look like an AHL team. Couple in the Bieksa injury, Bourque & Cammalleri buzzing around and Vancouver's liberal resort to the dump and chase about five minutes in and it looked like the Flames were going to run away with it.

Naturally they didn't and the best take away from the win wasn't just the standout play of Rypien and Burrows, but also how the Canucks ultimately used their speed to wear down the Flames defense. Daniel's second goal especially showed this as the twins, like Luongo (who had a poor first period along with the rest of the team) continue to lead this team by example.

Also, while I don't agree with Mike W's penalty, I do agree this was a bit much. Though a Canucks fan, maybe better then others, know just how often Bertuzzi gets fingered by the refs (ewww).

There is still a lot to be concerned with; in no order:

- Poor starts: I know Vancouver has scored in each opening period, but they aren't starting the game with enough energy. They got lucky on Thursday with Calgary but not on Saturday. That'll definitely need to change.

- Demitra: The only thing saving the second line is the threat of Raymond's speed (good job for not getting Bertuzzi'd last night too). He made Phanuef look silly a few times, but his linemates aren't helping him. Despite the game winner, Demitra is playing way too much on the perimeter.

- Pyatt: Nothing positive to say about MySpace in the first two games; he's been such a non factor that it's almost like he trying to play his way out of the top six. At this point (and I think I saw Vigneault do this last night) wouldn't you rather see Raymond/Demitra/Hansen with a third line of Burrows/Kesler/Rypien?Maybe Pyatt should sit for a night and let Wellwood give the fourth line a shot.

- The powerplay: 1 for 14 (7%) is fugly, I don't care if it's two games in or not. Credit the Flames maybe, but the Canucks couldn't even set up much less maintain constant pressure on the man advantage.

- Injuries: Well damn Kevin, that didn't take long.

These things aside, we can be happy that the team is scoring, Luongo has had one bad period in six, and they're 2-0 to open the season for the first time in a long time. That's what makes this upcoming road trip through my time zone more interesting. Can they hold off the scoring champ, the new darlings of the preseason prediction crowd (Chicago) and the defending Stanley Cup champs? If you had asked me a week ago I would have said probably not. But now, even with their problems, there's no reason to think they can't.

Tomorrow is going to be fun. I haven't seen the Canucks live in a number of years so I am catching them at a good time. I've only seen Ovechkin live before once and he was a beast. If last year's game was any indication, Ovechkin V Luongo will be well worth the wait.

And, obviously, scoring a media pass (big shout out thanks to the staff and the Caps media relations staff again) is pretty sweet. The whole "bloggers aren't real journalists" prejudice aside, the Caps organization is one, if not the most, blogger-friendly organizations out there. I hope to bring you as much details as I can from behind enemy lines. And of course a sober, professional liveblog...yes, it'll be a change from our norm. We'll try anything once.

Until the 'morrow...Go Avs.