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Canucks knock off Wild

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 2-1 win over Minnesota.

Mikael Samuelsson played garbage man and cleaned up a loose puck outside the Minnesota goal with a snap shot that gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead.

Samuelsson’s team-leading fourth goal of the season came at the 3:49 mark of the third period after Alex Burrows collected the puck in front of the Wild net, but lost it before he could make a move. The puck squirted to Samuelsson, who is now on a five game point streak, and he wristed it past the outstretched arms of a diving Niklas Backstrom.

Vancouver’s second line needed a catalyst to get things going offensively and Ryan Kesler filled that role against Minnesota.

The rugged centreman slotted in between Mason Raymond and Michael Grabner and he elevated the play of both in the Minnesota zone using his speed and aggression.

Kesler filled the back of the goal 4:23 into the second period to even the game up at 1-1 on an ugly goal where he simply got the puck on net and it found its way through Backstrom.

From everyone’s whipping boy to the unsung hero, it’s been a wacky 24 hours for Roberto Luongo.

The night didn’t start well for Luongo as he was beat on just the second Minnesota shot on goal via a weird deflection courtesy of Kyle Wellwood, but he recovered stopping the next 16 shots for his third win of the season.

Luongo came up especially huge in the dying minutes of the third period with the Wild on the power play pressing for the equalizer. Brent Burns will be having nightmares for a night or two after being stoned from point-blank range with 1:36 left in the game.

The trio of Raymond, Kesler and Grabner combined for a whopping 17 shots, 43 per cent of Vancouver’s total output of 39.

Kesler led the charge testing Backstrom eight times, while Raymond had six shots and Grabner, who was noticeably better in his second game since being recalled, chipped in two three. Don’t expect this line to be broken up anytime soon.

Luongo on Vancouver’s 2-1 win over Minnesota:

“This was by far our best game of the year. We set a tempo right off the hop and we sustained it for 60 minutes. This is the effort we need on a nightly basis, we’re not going to win every game but if we like we did tonight we’ll win most of them. “


Vancouver outshot Minnesota 39-18 on the night marking the sixth time in seven games the Canucks have gotten more pucks on net than their opposition.

Samuelsson leads the Canucks in shots with 33, Burrows and Raymond aren’t far back with 28 and 23 each, while Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler round out the top five at 19 and 17.

Ryan Johnson, Darcy Hordichuk and Alex Bolduc are the only players on Vancouver’s active roster without a shot on goal this season.

After back-to-back games the Canucks have a welcomed day off on Sunday before traveling to Edmonton to face the Oilers on Monday.

The Canucks remain on the road following a stop in Alberta as they head to Chicago to play the Blackhawks Wednesday night.

Vancouver then returns home and will face their hated cross-country rivals, the winless Toronto Maple Leafs, next Saturday.

NUMBERS

1 – Goal allowed by Roberto Luongo, matching the season low he established in a 7-1 win over Montreal.

3 – Blown breakaways by the Canucks. Mason Raymond, Steve Bernier and Ryan Kesler all failed to score in alone on Backstrom.

3 – Rank of the Canucks on the power play. Vancouver has cashed in on 31 per cent of its opportunities going 9-for-29.

8 – Shots for Minnesota after two periods of play. The Wild finished with 18.

17 – Shots for the line of Grabner, Kesler and Raymond.

QUOTABLE
"I think as a group we played well and as a line we had a pretty good result too. As a whole that was our best 60 minute effort that we’ve put together all season."

-Mason Raymond

"We wanted to bounce back, we wanted to play well and I think we still have a few things to improve but overall this was a pretty big effort by everyone."

-Alex Burrows

"Our most efficient line was Ryan Kesler’s line with Mason and Michael Grabner. I thought those guys had good puck movement and generated a lot of opportunities."

-Alain Vigneault
OFFENCE

The Canucks got just enough offence on this night and that's all that matters. That being said, this game could have easily been a 5-1 final if Vancouver had better finish in and around the goal. 

Once again the Canucks outshot their opposition, a great habit that will lead to a lot of wins as the season progresses.

DEFENCE

Vancouver played a much tighter game against Minnesota and it showed early on. The Wild were held to four shots in each of the first two periods and they didn't hit the 10 shot mark until four minutes into the third.

After giving up five goals in Calgary Friday night, Roberto Luongo gave up only one and was impenetrable when Vancouver needed him to be late in the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The lone blemish on Vancouver's well-rounded performance was an 0-for-5 mark on the power play. Coming into the game the Canucks were first overall in the NHL at 37.5 per cent. They now sit third at 31 per cent.

The Canucks blanked the Wild power play holding them goalless on four attempts.

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