The Canucks left the bi-polar confines of Rogers Arena and headed to Minnesota to face a Wild team that has beaten the Nucks 7 out of 11 times they have faced them in the U.S. of A. The Canucks are still trying to find consistency this year. A great win versus Chicago then a shitty performance the day after reminds me of the "Two-face" Seinfeld episode. The Wild were coming off a 4-0 win against Nashville.
Sedin-Sedin-Hansen Burrows-Horvat-Virtanen Higgins-McCann-Vrbata Prust-Cracknell-Dorsett Edler-Tanev Hamhuis-Weber Sbisa-Bartkowski Miller— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) November 25, 2015
Sven got the ax for tonight. The advanced stats guys would shake their head at this as Sven has good numbers. The eye-test guys would nod as say, "Yep, that’s about right." Sven didn’t look good at all against the Devils.
I have to admit that I find most games against Minn are boring affairs. And that says something, since most of the games are not necessarily low scoring affairs. I think the jerseys are dull and it transfers to my brain that the team is dull. Having said that, the Wild came on strong about 7 minutes in and Miller had to make a couple acrobatic saves.
Miller with six saves midway through the 1st, 0-0 game. pic.twitter.com/IfPd76mqzT— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) November 26, 2015
The Canucks look very unorganized on their breakouts and the ice looked like it was full on snow and was slowing the puck down….but only when the Canucks were trying to move it. Weird. Jake Virtanen wasn’t affected by the ice as he keeps laying out hits. And what I like, besides the hits, is the fact he takes the abuse after the whistle with a smile. Soon after Alex Burrows takes an obvious hooking penalty which leads to a quick Minnesota conversion and a 1-0 Wild lead.
So Koivu (#9) has the puck in this picture. Can you guess what guy scores the goal? If you said the lonely Wild player at the far right….you get a free drink, from your own fridge. I’m pretty sure Prust and Edler will hear about positioning on the PK.
Minnesota is very good at clogging up the middle and it shows the Achilles heel of Vancouver, the lack of a confident, smooth, puck-handling defensemen. This forces one of the forwards to come back to take the puck and Minnesota then has numbers in the neutral zone to stop the rush and force the Nucks to just shoot it in.
When the Canucks are able to enter the Wild zone while carrying the puck they can create. As shown by the final minute of the first when McCann skates it in and feathers a pass over to Vrbata for a one timer to tie the game.
VRBACE VRBACE MCCANN PASS IT TO ME LIKE I'M MIKE BOSSY THIS IS A GATED DIVISION PLEASE GET THE PUCK OFF THE PROPERTY pic.twitter.com/UJkAuSyLEp— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 26, 2015
The Canucks came out in the second with some confidence. The skates were moving a little faster, the passes were crisper and on target and the Canucks were able to skate the puck into the zone. I am enjoying the fourth line in this game. I know there is not a lot of finish, but they grind the hell out of the other team. Their forecheck really well and hit everything that breathes. The new third line with McCann/Vrbata/Higgins which got the first goal, showed chemistry in the second as they got some quick shots off and their pressure led to a PP. Of course a Vancouver PP leads to great chance for the Wild as Coyle was stopped by Miller on a partial breakaway. The Sedins were able to grab that puck and enter the Wild zone to set up the PP which lead to Vrbata’s second of the night.
Vrbata bing Vrbata boom Vrbata puts the Canucks up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/tsHBr6UQlQ— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 26, 2015
I think Hamhuis had some words for Radim afte that goa as the pass was meant for Hammer, but Vrbata stole the puck. And thank god for that as we all know the Hamhuis back door play is a colossal waste of time which leads to no goals.
Jake Virtanen had a great shift after the goal. And then Cracknell rang one off the post and soon after the Sedins had their mandatory "Sedinary" shift which led to a chance but Dubnyk was able to hold the fort. The Canucks out shot the Wild 10-5 in the second period.
The third starts with a push back from the Wild as they get some opportunities early on. And then we see something that is all too familiar, usually against the Canucks. A goal that goes against the flow. Jannik Hansen sneaks on the ice as the Ryan Suter gets caught up ice and this leads to a 3-1 lead.
Dansen Hansen Pucksen pic.twitter.com/thFQQorbun— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 26, 2015
The Canucks then spent the next 10 minutes playing keep away and sitting back in the neutral zone. I am not a fan of this. In fact I hate this more than the salmon colored Canucks jerseys of yore. The only line that had any pressure was the Sedin line. Miller came up with 14 saves in the period, but he could not stop a Coyle re-direct that was impossible for Miller to see through the screen in front.
So now all Canuck fans sat back in their chairs, couches, pool of vomit and thought to themselves, "Fuck, here we go again. The Wild will tie and the Nucks will lose in O/T." And to increase that feeling of deja-vu, Edler takes a hooking penalty with 32 seconds left. But then something strange happened…the hockey gods smiled down upon the Canucks. There was a big save, a crossbar and a puck lifted over the net. The Canucks actually won a one goal game. We all need to go buy lottery.