Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another long night for Iron Mike

If the Flames want to get on the good side of their head coach, a couple of victories over divisional rival Vancouver would probably go a long ways to earning some points with the coach.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks have made quick work of a divisional competitor, this time a convincing 4-1 victory over the former coach of the Canucks and his latest work in progress.

It’s Always an exciting time at GM Place, when they receive a visit from coach Keenan, a stopover that brings out images of Ancient Roman Coliseums, Lions and those who might fight them. One of the more discussed coaches in recent Canucks history could only stand back and watch (maybe boil a little) as the Canucks shut down the Flames.

Vancouver which has won six of the last eight matches with the Flames, including all three this year so far; seem to be coping well with the turmoil on the blue line of recent weeks.

Roberto Luongo (who must have found particular satisfaction in Sunday’s victory against his old coach from Florida) has been the backbone of the Canucks as was expected, but the many call ups on the blue line have more than risen to the task at hand and the forwards have suddenly been finding the net with much more frequency.

Besides losing Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa to rather horrific injuries, the Canucks took to the ice on Sunday without the services of the recently suspended Mattias Ohlund. None of which seems to have them missing a step, in the last six games they have five wins and a shootout loss.

The results of the last few weeks are a far cry from some of the thoughts (including those of this blog) which feared that a complete slide down the standings was in the offing. Instead, to their credit the Canucks have dug deeper each night, the youngsters taking the lead from the veterans to take their game up a notch, not surrender any ice and reward the stellar goaltending of Roberto Luongo with a solid effort and a helpful lead.

Of course, until they leave the comfy confines of the Northwest Division it may be a bit early to suggest that they’re out of the woods. But while they do the circuit of their corner of the standings pages its full speed ahead and time to pile on the points.

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