Take That Yeo!
Sometimes I love this team with all my heart. Sometimes this team clicks on a level 29 other teams can only hope to one day touch.
Last night was one of those nights.
There was a lot of hype to this one, the likes of which I’ve never seen for a Monday game against the Minnesota Wild. After all, it’s the Wild on top of the Northwest division.
They’re 13-5-1 since.
Home for the first time in almost two weeks and loaded with the swagger they re-found on national TV just two days ago, the Canucks put on a clinic. I’m still smiling.
1. Top Line
The stars of last night were undoubtedly the Sedins and Burrows, but it was Daniel especially who stood out.
They manufactured three absolutely beautiful goals out of thin air, and let’s run them down quickly.
The first was a powerplay marker made possible by Alex Edler‘s deft stick check of Matt Cullen. Just like that the Sedins were taking it up ice with Cullen trapped behind the play. The passing was textbook Sedinerie, Henrik cross-ice to Daniel cross-ice back to Henrik so casually that all John Shorthouse could say was WOW at the end.
The second was also a powerplay marker. With Dany Heatley in the box, Danny Sedin set up behind the net and patiently waited for Nick Schultz to overthink himself before saucering the puck onto the stick of a wide open Ryan Kesler at the top of the crease. Another bam bam play, another goal so casual it’s debatable if any Canuck broke a sweat.
The third somehow topped both of those with the top line rushing into the zone and Daniel making a beautiful toe drag pass to Alex Burrows that finally convinced me that Daniel & Henrik had switched jerseys pre-game.
There’s no one else in the league that can do it like these guys can.
Perhaps Shorthouse said it best in response to John Garrett asking what a defenceman is supposed to do against the Sedins.
His answer? Weep.
2. Sweet Lu
Meanwhile, Roberto Luongo quietly picked up his first shutout of the year and 29th as a Vancouver Canuck. It wasn’t his toughest goose egg but Luongo was superb when the game was still in its infancy.
He robbed Nick Johnson in the first and made a couple big stops off Matt Cullen.
His finest save was a first period flash of the glove off Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
33 shots, 33 saves. He’s back and he’s keeping a low profile. As he should.
3. 3rd Liners
Cody made a beautiful little backhand fake behind the net before continuing the theme of the night by making a perfect pass onto the stick of Hansen who added to his career year.
This is why I can’t stop smiling.
Unfortunately this game still featured the Minnesota Wild and even though they’ve taken great pains to remind people that Jacques Lemaire is no longer behind the bench make no mistake, this team still traps and hates fun.
Mike Yeo had the neutral zone clogged all night long in an attempt to slow down the game by making the Canucks navigate an obstacle course.
It didn’t work but the Wild have no Plan B so the trapping continued. They did such a magnificent job defending their 3 goal deficit in the third that they managed just 7 shots with five minutes left.
Close your eyes and you would swear this was Nashville in the Springtime.
2. Bad bounces
It didn’t help that the puck was bouncing all over the place thanks to a pair of Watch the Throne shows over the weekend (awesome show btw).
I had a feeling when I saw the multiple stage set up on Saturday night that over 24 hours of stress on the ice wouldn’t be good for this game and I was proven right very quickly. Even John Shorthouse mentioned it.
It’s a minor inconvenience I know, but you try finding three things to hate about a game like this.
Thankfully Mark Mancari made this last one easy when he went for an adventure in front of Roberto Luongo with less than five minutes remaining and almost gifted a goal to the Wild.
Playing in just his second game ever for the Canucks, if that had ruined Roberto’s shutout he might as well have headed straight for the locker room and called his travel agent for the first flight back to Chicago.
After all, Luongo has enough trouble holding shutouts the past few years without his own teammates actively conspiring against him.
Smile, the boys are back in town baby.