Vancouver fans will fall back on the bandwagon tonight, as the Canucks righted their ship during the homestand, winning the games they needed to win and pulling to within one point of the Colorado Avalanche. Tonight's 2-0 win over the Blues, featured a big game by the first line where they crashed, banged and had many chances to set the tone for the game, as Vancouver and St. Louis put on a pretty good display of hockey.
Both goaltenders Chris Osgood and Johan Hedberg had impressive games, keeping the teams close through all three periods of play. Osgood who at times seemed to be left on his own, had one of those games that would have saved Joel Quenville's job, had he still been in St. Louis. Hedberg, who has been getting sporadic starts, must have risen a notch or two in the mind of Marc Crawford with his play tonight as well. Making spectacular saves and headmanning the puck impressively at times.
Bertuzzi, Naslund and Morrison had their best game in a long time, dominating play completely in the third period, getting many chances but just coming short of scoring. Naslund is starting to get back into the groove shaking off the rust of inaction, after suffering a concussion in Colorado a couple of weeks ago. The only negative of the evening for the Canucks was the inability of the power play to take advantage of their seven opportunites, only scoring once tonight on the Power play.
Artem Chubarov and Mattias Ohlund were the goal scorers, Ohlund's coming on the power play in the third. Trevor Linden continued his quest to try and become the all time scorer on Vancouver, but didn't get the goal or assist that will put him over the top, despite being on at the end of the game with a St. Louis empty net. Somebody set this guy up and get this monkey off of his back! Hedberg stared down Pavel Demitra in a penalty shot with only 3 seconds to go in the game putting the exclamantion point on the evening.
A rough hitting, fast paced game it was reminiscent of the playoff battles of last year. Matt Cooke was particularly effective tonight, crashing, bashing and getting in the face of many of the Blues. A perfect way for the Canucks to end the homestand with their third straight win at home. They now wait until the much anticipated rematch with the Avs, featuring Naslund assassin (according to Nucks fans) Steve Moore, with first place possibly on the line that night, Wednesday may not be revenge night for the Canucks, instead a solid thumping of the Avs on the scoreboard may do them more good long term than evening any scores that night. At any rate, Wednesday night's game is probably the big game thus far for both teams, should make for some fascinating hockey.