The Vancouver Canucks followed a familiar game plan Saturday afternoon in a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Despite a slow start the home team rallied behind two power play goals manufactured by the Sedin twins and one slick tip from Jannik Hansen to edge the Wild at Rogers Arena.
Vancouver dominated the last forty-five minutes of the hockey game utilising a short bench after Alain Vigneault chose to sit Cody Hodgson and Andrew Ebbett for the majority of the third period Saturday.
The Wild on the other hand appeared to be playing for the extra point, gun shy after a close call in Edmonton that required a last second Dany Heatley tying goal on route to a shootout victory.
Heatley quickly transformed from hero to goat for the Wild over the weekend after an irresponsible slashing penalty on Ryan Kesler caused Kesler’s stick to break just as he was breaking up ice with the puck in the extra frame.
Heatley’s teammates faced a tough task attempting to survive two minutes of 4-on-3 overtime against the Canucks who continually fed Sami Salo to set up his patented slap shot, clinching the win with a bomb over Niklas Backstrom’s shoulder.
The Canucks continue to thrive on the speed and skill of the Sedins, Ryan Kesler and an active blue line that has propelled the power play and the team to success this season. Keith Ballard, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler and Sami Salo have all shown flashes jumping up in the rush this season and appear to be dedicated to filling the void left by Christian Ehrhoff.
While the flashy rushes up ice have been nice to see, Ballard and Bieksa especially both need to work on their defensive protection in their own end in the games ahead. Ballard is a team worst -7 so far this year and Bieksa sits at -5 through eight games after leading the Canucks in plus/minus last year.
Just minutes after the Canucks’ victory over the Wild the home team announced the acquisition of David Booth, Steve Reinprecht and a third round pick in 2013 from favourite trading partners the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.
Is Booth the elusive second line winger Ryan Kesler has been waiting for?
More to come over the weekend as Canucks fans continue to break down this surprise swap.
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
Referees: Marc Joannette, Gord Dwyer
Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Mark Wheler