First to 100: Canucks outlast Wild 4-2
The Vancouver Canucks showed hard work, courage, and bouts of not being able to stay out of the penalty box, in a 4-2 win over the struggling Minnesota Wild Monday night.
It was a costly win, however, as Defenseman Sami Salo (who else?) took a puck off what looked to be the elbow in the second period and left the game. He did not return.
Salo's injury overshadowed what was a brilliant game from two canucks, Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo.
Luongo was amazing, making 32 saves, almost all of them in spectacular fashion.
Kesler had two goals, killed penalities like a champ, and had numerous scoring chances.
In the first period, Raffi Torres scored his fourteenth goal of the year after beating Wild Goaltender Nicklas Backstrom short side. It was a stinker of a goal, but it put the Canucks up 1-0.
Just over six minutes later, NHL point leader Daniel Sedin scored his 38th goal of the year on the powerplay. He used Ryan Kesler as a screen, and fired a shot over Backstrom's shoulder and into the twine. It was his 17th Powerplay goal of the year, tying him with Steven Stamkos for the lead league in that catergory.
Once again, a little over six minutes later, it was Kesler's turn to get in on the Powerplay scoring. After a teriffic slap pass from Mikael Samuelsson, Kesler directed the puck towards Backstrom, who made a great save. However, he also let out a big rebound, which Kesler pounced on for his 35th of the year. It appeared this game was going to be a rout.
Special teams was indeed the difference in this game; the Canucks went 2-2 with their sizzling powerplay, while the woeful Wild went 0-6, including two five on threes.
The Wild had gone into this game after being shut out back to back in their last two games. They managed to snap the goose egg with three minutes remaining in the second period, when Andrew Brunette scored his 17th of the year. He furiously chopped at the puck that lay near Luongo's leg pads, then squeezed it through for the Wild's first goal in over 200 minutes.
In the third, Mikko Koivu made the game interesting when he scored his 16th goal of the campaign. However, Ryan Kesler put all thoughts of a comeback to an end when he scored his 36th, and second goal of the night, into an empty net with 3 seconds remaning. The Canucks, after going 5 for 5 on their road trip, have now won six games in a row, and are the first team to break the century mark, with 101 points.
The Wild, however, are falling fast, and currently sit out of the playoff picture.
1) Roberto Luongo (32 saves, Canucks best penalty killer)
2) Ryan Kesler (2 goals, Canucks second best penalty killer)
3) Christian Ehrhoff (2 assists, 27 mins of ice time
Notes: Canucks next play Wednesday versus the Colorado Avalanche... Daniel Sedin now has 90 points, four points up on Steven Stamkos... Henrik is third, with 84 points... The Canucks inducted former Canucks defenseman Harold Snepts into the Ring of Honor. He was the fourth and final inductee, joining Orland Kurtenbach, Thomas Gradin, and Kirk McLean.