Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks: Game Recap

ST PAUL, MN - FEBRUARY 9: Ryan Kesler #17 and Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrate a goal by Daniel Sedin on the power play as Niklas Backstrom #32, Mikko Koivu #9 and Greg Zanon #5 of the Minnesota Wild look on during the first period on February 9, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Minnesota Wild 2 - 5 Vancouver Canucks

For the Vancouver perspective, please visit Nucks Misconduct

A great start to the game as Dany Heatley used Mikko Koivu as a decoy, drove to the net and buried it past Cory Schneider just 13 seconds into the game. It was the fastest goal in team history. Unfortunately it was all Vancouver from that point forward. No matter how much pressure the Wild put on the Canucks they couldn't break through. Good chances by multiple Wild players including Devin Setoguchi, Marek Zidlicky, Mikko Koivu and Nick Johnson, but they just aren't as good as the Canucks. It's that simple.

The Canucks tied the game on a soft power play thanks to a 2-man advantage from a Nate Prosser "trip" of Cory Hodgson. You can't stop the Sedins down two-men for very long, and Daniel Sedin easily corralled a rebound from an Alexander Edler shot and pushed it past a sprawling Niklas Backstrom. Then with 42 seconds left in the first, Maxim Lapierre stuffed home another Alexander Edler rebound through a crowd in Backstrom's crease.

In the second period, the Wild played aggressively, possessed the puck, took more shots than the Canucks but finding themselves down 3-1 after Henrik Sedin stuffed a puck past Backstrom just 50 seconds into the period would be an uphill battle. They played hard, created chances but simply aren't as talented as the Canucks. Shots were taken, passes delivered, pressure applied but it didn't matter, they couldn't break Schneider and the Canucks.

In the third period, Cal Clutterbuck and Maxim Lapierre faced off for a middleweight battle that, frankly, wasn't entertaining or motivating. The Wild continued to pressure the Canucks, trying to will themselves back into the game. In fact, the Warren Peters, Darroll Powe and Brad Staubitz line penned the Canucks into their own end for almost a minute and caused an icing. However, after a Vancouver time out the first line couldn't capitalize and just seconds later Manny Malhotra deflected a Kevin Bieksa shot past Backstrom to make it 4-1. However, the Wild wouldn't quit (which was a nice change) and on the power play, Devin Setoguchi rocketed a shot past Schneider to make it 4-2, but with only 4:02 left it wasn't going to be enough. Ryan Kesler iced it at 5-2 on the empty net to end the scoring ... but that wasn't the end.

Things got chippy.

Maxim Lapierre speared Brad Staubitz and received a 5:00 and a game misconduct. Then nine seconds later Kevin Bieksa tripped Dany Heatley after the play and started to slash him, Cal Clutterbuck paired off with Dan Hamhuis and apparently Bieksa didn't like that because ... get this ... he threw his glove at Clutterbuck. Yeah. Threw his glove. It was amazing. 10:00 misconduct and a 2:00 roughing for Bieksa, 10:00 misconducts each for Hamhuis and Clutterbuck and a 2:00 roughing for Heatley. At least the end was a bit entertaining.

Put it this way, the Wild outshot the Canucks 24-20 (but I thought shots = victories?) and pressured them all night but simply aren't as good as Vancouver (as evidenced by the standings). An unsurprising loss, but at least the Wild didn't give up.

Amazing tidbit from Russo - "Even though the Sedins have combined for 27 goals/107 points all-time vs the #mnWild, it’s the first they each had goals in the same game"

Bryan's Take

In a game the Wild should have been up for, they came out strong. They brought their game and played well. Problem is? The Canucks played better. The Canucks are a dirty team, a chippy team, and disgusting team. They are also a really, really good team. It sucks, but they really are. Solid defensively, outstanding offensively, they make you pay for every mistake and misstep. Bring your A game or go home against the Canucks, and the Wild brought a solid B+.

The chippiness at the end was as much Wild frustration as it was Canucks d-baggery. Both sides took their shots, both sides got their punishment. I didn't see the spear from Lapierre, but if it is bad enough for a 5 & game, and if it is as bad as the fans made it sound, maybe it deserves more. If nothing else, maybe suspend him just for breathing good Minnesota air. Probably breathes through his mouth, too.

Not a great start to the home stand, to say the least. Good effort, at times, but not enough against a Cup contender.

Shuttlebus_medium

The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:

  1. Daniel Sedin (1 G, 1 A)
  2. Alexander Edler (2 A)
  3. Dany Heatley (1 G)

Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out athttp://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.

Five Questions:

  1. How does Koivu look in his return to action? Not horrible, but didn't do enough to will his team to victory.
  2. Wild have owned the Nucks at the X, does that continue? No. It didn't.
  3. Will the top line be a force? The top line looked good tonight, created chances, scored, but Heatley was snakebitten aside from the goal. Had chances but couldn't convert.
  4. Can the second line bring some heat and get chances? No. 3 shots. Unimpressive.
  5. Is tonight the night the Wild play some... you know... hockey? It certainly started off well, and honestly they didn't look horrible except for the play on two of the Vancouver goals. Just beaten by a better team.
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