Sunday, January 22, 2006

"The Game was done in fifteen minutes"

Saku Koivu surrendered the quote to describe the night, Jose Theodore and Cristobal Huet surrendered the goals and the Montreal Canadiens as a whole just plain surrendered to the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver scored six goals within the first fifteen minutes of play to once again trump an eastern opponent, defeating the Habs 6-2 at GM Place. The victory was an important one for the Canucks, who now embark on their longest road trip of the season, with seven games in thirteen nights ahead of them on the schedule.

Alex Auld collected his 20th win of the season, facing 26 shots and stopping 24 of them. The win marked the ninth time in ten games that the Canucks have defeated an eastern based team, something they hope that they can now apply to the more troublesome contests in their own division and conference.

For Montreal it was more of the same misery they've been dealing with for the last sixteen road games, a stretch which has seen them win only once. It also was the second loss in a row for GM Bob Gainey, who replaced Claude Julien behind the bench last week after firing him. The Habs initially responded to the change with two wins, but since then have reverted to the old ways that put Julien into the doghouse and eventually the unemployment line.

Most distressing for Gainey should be the fact that Jose Theodore continues to struggle, giving up five goals on ten shots before being replaced by Huet, who promptly surrendered goal number six on only his second shot.

Speaking of shots, that's another thing that Gainey may wish to work on with his team. The Habs did not successfully get a second shot on Alex Auld until the seventeen minute mark of the first period. Their lethargic efforts and the overwhelming display of offence by the Canucks did much to silence the traditional battalion of Habs fans who trek to cheer their favourites on when they make their infrequent appearances at GM Place, but then again if this is the best effort the Habs can come up with perhaps Bob Gainey would like to stay away.

With the success of the Canucks over their Eastern cousins, its no wonder there is so much discussion on bringing the eastern teams to the west more often. The success rate for the home team can pad the stats pages quite nicely.

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