Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 6-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
It’s always something when the Vancouver Canucks come to town. But on Valentine’s Day 2010, it was mostly all good. The Wild dominated the road-weary Canucks (playing their eighth straight road game), and got a much-needed win before the start of a two-week Olympic break. Six different players scored goals, and the Wild tacked on a season-high four power play goals.
The largest crowd of the season may have been wondering where that killer instinct was in the previous two home games. On this Sunday matinee, the Wild looked like it could have taken down the Canadian Olympic team.
This game turned in the second period, which was undoubtedly the Wild’s best single period since the comeback against the Blackhawks. Through 13 minutes of the second, the Canucks didn’t register a single shot while the Wild racked up 16 shots and two goals. The final shot tally in the second was 17-2, which ties the season-low for shots against in a period.
It wasn’t as close as the shot count indicated. The Wild thoroughly beat the Canucks into submission and controlled the play. It might have been road fatigue, or it might have been the fact that they wear Canuck jerseys, but the only time they looked inspired was when Alexandre Burrows took on Wild enforcer Antti Miettinen.
Like I said, when the Canucks physically exit the rink, they leave plenty to talk about. I don’t know if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I can’t name another team that consistently pulls the same kind of stunts that we see every time these two teams faceoff. This afternoon, they were pulling their typical shenanigans. I mentioned Burrows’ toughness display, and then there was Aaron Rome’s reaction to James Sheppard’s clean hit on Christian Ehrhoff. Rome started throwing punches before Shep could even shed a glove. That was at least better than Darcy Hordichuk’s reaction to Derek Boogaard’s clean hit of Ryan Kesler. Kesler clearly had his shoulders facing out as Boogey leveled him. Hordichuk responded by horse collaring Boogey from behind and pulling him down to the ice. He then turtled when Boogey got up, and could then be seen screaming unprintable words at Boogaard after serving his two, five and 10 in the third period.
Roberto Luongo is one of the elite goaltenders in the League, and the Wild has had its share of trouble with elite goaltenders this year (Martin Brodeur, Ilya Bryzgalov, Miikka Kiprusoff to a lesser extent). But the Wild has Luongo’s number. In his career, Bobby Lou has given up five or more goals 45 times. It’s happened five times against the Wild. He was pulled for the second straight time at Xcel Energy Center. The Canucks keeper of the goal is now 11-13-5 with a .896 save percentage and a 2.88 goals against average against Minnesota.
Now, it’s time for two weeks of kicking back and watching the Olympics. Todd Richards was asked if he would like his team to keep playing after a big win like this. He said he would, but he also admitted in his postgame press conference that he was in shutdown mode. “After I get done talking to you, I might go out and fall down in the hallway.”
I think the break will be good, and yes, I’m saying that because I’m looking forward to some time off. But the Wild will probably get Chuck Kobasew back. Both goalies should be healthy. And the always-interesting trade deadline will take place before the next game on March 3. Plus, we’ll get two weeks of watching the best hockey players in the world face off.