Canucks Score Two Big Wins
The last couple of back-to-back games, the Vancouver Canucks have looked horribly tired and out of sync in the second game. Many people were thinking that something needed to be done to right the Canucks’ ship from the “mediocre” play they have given the fans over the last little while (and yes, those quotes are sarcastic quotes).
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this time around. The Canucks started a 4-game eastern road swing with a convincing 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night, where the only minor let-down was at the end of the first period. The Canucks played with a fire in their belly the rest of the way, so there was no ghastly second period as there has been recently. Even better, with a one-goal lead going into the third, the Canucks showed that killer instinct by getting two more past potential Team Canada starter Martin Brodeur. Henrik Sedin continued his excellent play with two assists, his brother Daniel scored a goal and got an assist, as did linemate Alex Burrows. The defense has started scoring (more than just Ehrhoff, who has been scoring a lot recently), with both Alex Edler potting his second and Sami Salo breaking through to score his first. Edler had a 3-point night. What’s even more important for the Canucks is that that other Team Canada potential starter, Roberto Luongo, slammed the door after giving up two questionable goals late in the first to let the Devils back into the game. The Canucks played a classic road game the rest of the way and the Devils could never get anything going in the third period to try and mount a comeback. The only chance they had was a very late 5-3 power play, where Luongo was brilliant, as was the hard-working Burrows, who was phenomenal.
But the Canucks have won the first games of these back-to-backs many times, so some were wondering how they would do against the Flyers on Thursday. Seemingly not tired at all, the Canucks played a great game on Thursday, barely taking a shift off. There was some tiredness late in the third, but Luongo once again stifled any Flyer offense, earning a 3-0 shutout victory. With two goals from defensemen (Ehrhoff and Willie Mitchell) and another tip in (off his hip, this time) by Alex Burrows, the Canucks got everything they needed and played a great defensive game for the most part. Luongo had to make some great saves in the third when the team looked tired and the Flyers really came on, with two beautiful saves on tips from Aaron Asham (who probably had Luongo nightmares last night). This was not the “second game of a back-to-back” that has plagued the Canucks recently. This was a team on a mission, and they handled the Flyers (who are admittedly reeling right now, having lost 7 of 8 ) with seeming ease.
While Alex Burrows may not be an offensive force in his own right, his play with the Sedins since Daniel has returned has demonstrated that he makes an awesome third twin. Luongo’s rounding into midseason form. Henrik’s 8th in league scoring right now (who would have thought that would ever happen?). So many things are going right for the Canucks right now, and both Carolina and Nashville are very beatable teams if the Canucks don’t take them lightly.
After two more games on this road trip, the Canucks play 17 of the next 23 at home before embarking on the murderous Olympic road trip. Earning these road wins, combined with their current excellent play at home, will greatly help when adversity inevitably sets in during the long trip. Hopefully, any panic that some Canucks fans were going through has abated.
At least for now.