Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Desert Swedes

Canucks 7 Coyotes 4 – 31-Jan-06

The Vancouver Canucks improved their current road trip results with a timely 7 – 4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Glendale Arena on Tuesday night. The Nuck’s have back to back wins in games four and five of a seven game road trip. The team’s longest road trip of the season started back on 23-Jan with a loss to St Louis. The next two stops in Columbus and Detroit were also losses followed by a Shoot Out Win in Denver. The ‘Nucks will jet home to Vancouver after tonight’s game for some home cooking and clean socks before heading off to play Calgary and Edmonton on Friday and Saturday respectively. Should the Canucks go on to have a good showing in Alberta one could look back to the Detroit game as a turning point of this lengthy road trip. While they were badly out shot and took far too many lazy penalties the 2-1 score was indicative of the improved effort expended. This improved play has carried over to the games in Colorado and again tonight in Phoenix.

This game was far closer than the 7 – 4 score would indicate. Throughout the night Vancouver would take the lead only to let the Coyotes back into the game. Once again the team was badly out shot and as a result of far too much time on the PK. Whereas we often see the Canucks taking lazy penalties this was not as obvious tonight. The Zebras played their role in the parade to the sin bin with several calls, going both ways, which left commentators, knowledgeable fans and players alike shaking their heads. Sportsnet colour man John Garret was even reduced to proudly predicting the calls before they were made. From the score sheet the totals were Canucks 11 penalties for 25 minutes and Coyotes 9 for 21 minutes with the Coyotes scoring twice and Vancouver going 1 for 7 on the power play. Vancouver took seven penalties in the second period alone.

Phoenix starter Curtis Joseph had a rough night with three of the Canuck tallies scored by Coyote team mates. Gretzky opted for Boucher in the third period with Canucks having lit the red lamp 5 times though the first two stanzas. At the other end Alex Auld faced a lot of rubber and played well enough to secure the win. Auldy made several big saves at key moments in the third period. The shot totals were Phoenix 46 Vancouver 26 with one half of the ‘Nucks shots in the first period. The lopsided shot counts are going to have to improve in Alberta.

Marcus Naslund returned to the line up and Crawford mixed up the lines as he had intended to do a couple nights earlier in Colorado. Burrows played a majority of shifts with Morrison and Bert. Nassy played with Kesler and Ruutu. This line looks promising and picked up the 6 – 3 goal (Naslund (24)( from Ruutu and Kesler) early in the third period. Tervor Linden, Josh Green and Tyler Bouck were a strong unit with clearly their best outing in recent memory. They were rewarded on the score sheet with four points. Green (3) and Bouck (1) both scored and Linden added two helpers. The remainder of the offence had one or more Swede in mix. The Scandinavian contingent tallied up eight points (4 goals and 4 assists) in the desert. Leading the team the Triplets were once again clearly Vancouver’s top line. Daniel (13) opened the scoring from Henrik and my other brother Anson. Henrik (13) opened the second period with an unassisted effort which was initially awarded to Daniel. The video review showed Henrik’s face off pass to the Daniel at the far post actually went in the net off Denny Gauthier’s glove. Ohlund (8) closed the second period and restored Vancouver’s two goal lead with a late power play marker where Henrik picked up the second assist. With Bertuzzi in the bin on a questionable call Gretzky pulled his tender for a six on four advantage. Being on the PK, Vancouver took a couple of pot shots at the empty Phoenix net and when Bert (18) returned he was set free to the empty net from Daniel and Henrik to close the night’s scoring at 18:33.


There were the usual number of scrums as is expected in a spirited and close game. McCarthy and Nash were sent off in the first period for roughing. Gauthier and Bouck attempted a fight in the third after Gauthier put a big hit on Linden but something happened to Gauthier’s shoulder in the early wrestling. Gauthier wanted out and Bouck respectfully let him. As with Kesler the game before Bouck was one stat short of the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal and a fight but no assist.

On Deck

The ‘Nucks are reported to be going to have a light skate in Vancouver on Thursday followed by a early evening flight to Calgary. The puck drops next at the Saddle Dome on Friday 3-Feb-06. Sportsnet will have the TV coverage.

Vancouver Canucks are currently fifth in the Western Conference and would draw Nashville without home ice advantage if the playoffs were start today. Vancouver’s 65 points is one behind Division leading Calgary, three behind Nashville and one up on Los Angeles.


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