Canucks 5 - 1 Wild
After tonight's game, it might be hard to differentiate between the west coast sea breeze and the relieved sighs of Canuck nation. While a win tonight doesn't solve our problems, it certainly mitigates our concern. The Wild, like us, had played 3 games in their last four nights, but they were on the road tonight, and gosh darn it, we're better than they are. Had we lost tonight, especially considering what's gone on this week and how badly we craved a win, there might have been enough hand-wringing for a spike in sales of Glysomed. Thankfully, we won. Also thankfully, Pass it to Bulis watched. Hear us roar:
- Corey Schneider continues to play fabulously, propagating the largely shortsighted and reactionist "goaltending controversy." Not since Cheryl Blossom has a redhead so relentlessly challenged the status quo. Before we start demanding the team waive Luongo, let us remember that the Canucks have played much, much better in front of him than they have in Luongo's losses. The whole team was excellent tonight. Still, Schneider deserves much kudos, as he made it look easy tonight. Maybe it was. Minnesota sucks.
- Jeff "Shmalexandre Shmurrows" Tambellini looks to be the best fit, among healthy forwards, for the Sedins. Even before the breakaway goal, Tamby allowed the twins to play their game, retrieved pucks, used his speed to back defenders off, and read the play smartly. The line was visible all night. Tamby also made a pretty solid case for being on the shootout roster.
- Tamby's success up top also allowed Vigneault to roll some solid second and third lines, such as Jannik Hansen with Malhotra and Torres, a line that combined for the first, third and fourth goals. They were the best line on the ice tonight. Hansen and Malhotra were amazing like a double rainbow. I declare them the tandem that will give the third line it's identity for the rest of the season.
- Why not Torres? While he has excellent moments and definitely did in this game (in this game, a goal and a coupe nice hits), he often doesn't seem to know how to play with others, like Stampy. There were two odd-man rushes where he was so close to his linemate he neutralized any cross-ice pass, as well as spared the defenseman from having to take a man. Open up the ice, Raffi.
- Tambellini's success with the Sedins also allowed Vigneault to keep Kes, Ray, and Sammy, the rightful second line and producers of the second goal, intact. They're clearly still regaining their confidence, but they're beginning to be consistent. Want to see how stats are totally bogus? Prior to tonight, there was much ado about Ryan Kesler's lack of production. With tonight's goal, he has three points in his last four games. Please unpress your panic buttons.
- The fourth line looked excellent too, but primarily because Tanner Glass and Peter Schaefer skated on it exclusively.
- It's not all roses, though. While Mikael Samuelsson still shoots more often than Horatio Caine, too many are getting blocked or missing the net. He seems a little off. He needs to, uh, you know, fix that.
- I laughed out loud at Shorty and Garrett bickering over the tricky issue of mass nouns and the fewer vs. less debate. Turns out Shorty's a grammar nazi. Think he's a big enough loser to own (and, like me, cherish) a first pressing of Funk & Wagnalls Handbook of Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions? We can only hope. For the curious: fewer is typically used for countable amounts, less for abstract amounts (i.e. fewer shots; less offense). Garrett was talking about games played, and thus should have used fewer.
- On the first powerplay of the game, Henrik Sedin took a slapshot, but he is such an innate passer that it turned into a crisp tape-to-tape pass to a Wild defender. Does he think he's Daniel? He wouldn't be the first guy to make that mistake. I know he scored 29 times last season, but Hank is not a shooter. I firmly believe he's going to reach 100 points this season without scoring a single goal.
- That said, he nearly had an awesome one on a 2-on-1 when he pulled off spin move on Greg Zanon and got in alone. It would have been absolutely perfect if Henrik had pulled it to the forehand after coming out of the spin. He had time. Not sure why Zanon was so completely bamboozled. All Henrik does is spin. He's like Cobb's totem.
- Hats off to the defense corps. They were great tonight, steady, dependable, smart. It's enough to forget Kevin Bieksa is amongst them. Seriously, though, Kevin Bieksa was really good tonight, apart from one ill-advised pinch which led to a two-on-one.
- Alex Edler has been good all season, and he was great tonight. Often times, he goes completely unnoticed, which is both an element of praise and a criticism. Edler has the ability to do more than he often does. Aaron Rome should be unnoticeable. Edler needs to do more things like this. He's the only D-man in the lineup who can make a pass like that.
- Great job by the penalty killers on the 5-on-3. The Dead Puck Era created more offense than Peter Schaefer does, but he really is excellent when you're a man down. He killed a ton of time on Minnesota's two man advantage, then drew a powerplay-ending penalty on Mikko Koivu later in the game. I just wish he'd use his knucklepuck more often.
- Anybody else see the two dudes jump-hugging on the Kesler goal? If there's one thing we at PITB are totally in favour of, it's public displays of dudehuggery. I think the preponderance of dudehuggery is secretly why men love hockey.
- The 2nd intermission had an excellent piece on one of PITB's all-time favourite Canucks, Cliff Ronning. My favourite moment was the last clip of the segment, which featured Ronning celebrating a goal in slow-motion by shouting "F***ing right!" Obviously, there was no sound, but there is no easier lipread in the English language. What a strange clip to use, but I shouldn't be surprised. Sportsnet makes some questionable choices with their intermission programming, such as putting Tony Gallagher in front of a camera.
- I'm going to assume Daniel Sedin is going to be given a belated assist on the Tambellini goal. He should, and I hope he does, primarily so his season-long point streak continues. Not since Frank the Tank has there been streaking of this magnitude.
- I would like to ban Mason Raymond from carrying the puck over the blue line on powerplays. He tries to go end to end, but usually loses the puck because he should have passed it off. Even at even-strength, Raymond needs to realize there are other passing options besides the defensemen. He seems to forget he has linemates--it's a hoedown of one. Only Colin Mochrie can thrive in such circumstances.
- This is PITB's 200th post, and we're feeling pretty good about it. We work hard on this stuff, and we'd like to thank everybody that's recognized and supported our efforts. You guys are awesome.