Fresh off a seven goal outbreak on home ice, the Canucks started their 6-game road-trip in Calgary with hopes of continuing their offensive ways.
When an NHL team rolls into Calgary, they know they’re up against two things. 1) A hard-working, hard-hat wearing hockey team, and 2) A goaltender that can steal games through his sheer will and determination. Not that the Vancouver Canucks didn’t face these things, but they certainly made it appear as if they were secondary concerns. A few early penalties destroyed Calgary’s chances of coming away with a ‘W’, and the Canucks continued to spread the offence out, with an effort that spanned all four lines.
Chris Higgins opened the scoring with a pretty break-away goal, taking a page out of Alex Burrows’ playbook, going forehand, then deking to his backhand, beating Miikka Kiprusoff. The Canucks could have been complacent, up 2-0 (thanks to some classic Burrows hustle in front of the net) in the first period, but Daniel Sedin collected his fifth of the young season with less than a minute to go.
Cody Hodgson collected a goal and an assist on the night, taking advantage of a nice pass from the corner. He then set up Alex Edler to put an exclamation mark on a game that started with Calgary fans chanting “Lou” mockingly to begin the game. Roberto Luongo still has a ways to go to regain full fan support in Vancouver, but it’s obvious his team-mates appreciate what he does. “He’s one of the best goalies in the League,” started star defender, Alex Edler. “It’s unfortunate about the last goal, but we know he’s good and that makes us comfortable playing in front of him.”
They say one good turn deserves another, and coach Alain Vigneault spoke up in behalf of three-point man, Alex Edler.
We said all along that we thought Alex is a premier defenseman in this league. He’s got the skill level and physical frame to be one of the best defensemen in the league and he’s getting an opportunity.
It turned out to be a fairly frustrating night for the Flames’ top line again, and Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrison didn’t pull any punches in relating the feelings from their locker-room. “When you look up at the scoreboard and it’s 5-0 after the second period, it’s embarrassing,” lamented Morrison. “As a player, you have to find a way to keep going and take pride in your job and never quit at all.” Similarly, Flames captain Jarome Iginla was asked if there were any positives. “Right now I don’t see a ton. We’ve been getting better. Unfortunately, tonight was a big letdown for us. I know it was for our fans too.”
The Canucks left Calgary headed for back to back games in Minnesota and St. Louis. Traditionally, the Xcel center in Minnesota has been a tough environment for Vancouver, and the Blues always seem to relish the opportunity to play the Canucks. Both games are a 5 o’clock PST start.