Let me see now, Roberto Luongo, the backup goaltender, just posted a 3-0 shut-out last night, has allowed only two goals against in the last two games, sports a 1.61 GAA, .938 save percentage, and looks like he’s entering the zone that I have witnessed many times since 2006. Controversy, what controversy? Really!
I’m not even going to bother you with Cory Schneider’s stats because anyone that follows this team recognizes who the better goaltender is right now. When you are blessed with two number one goaltenders and one gets hot, its common knowledge that you go with the hot goaltender.
Besides that, showcasing this type of goal-tending display just solidifies the value that GM Mike Gillis is demanding… and will receive. When? Who cares. This is a sprint to the finish this season and every win will be imperative, so if the Canucks have to keep both, hey – what team wouldn’t want to be in Vancouver’s position.
Luongo was so solid last night, square to the shots, no wasted movement, controlled his rebounds, was seeing the puck even when screened, I mean - he was in complete control. To see him play like that so soon in the season, makes this team that has struggled at times and still is, a whole lot better. You can see the confidence of his teammates start to improve a little each game, knowing that their back is covered
Moving on to some of the players who I thought had a good game. Alex Edler was a force last night using that big frame of his to punish the opposition. I’ve been harping for the last four seasons about when he would do just that. Maybe as he settles into maturity that time is now.
Surely you remember him when he was with San Jose, as he sent more than a few Canucks to the dressing room for repairs.
By the way, Edler is ranked fifth in the NHL in blocked shots with 19 and eight in scoring amongst D-men.
Aaron Volpatti leads the team in hits with 25 which places him fifth in the NHL – another strong game. Following him on the Canucks is Dale Weise with 23, Max Lapierre – 21, Zack Kassian – 19 and Alex Edler – 13. I would question Edlers numbers because he had a minimum of 5 last night alone.
So far this season I would give my vote to Alex Burrows as one of the Canucks’ MVP’s. He’s been defensively responsible, at his agitating best and scoring – all while playing centre. Okay so his face-off percentage is only 39, but he is improving as each game passes, and let’s not forget, it takes many years to become proficient at that art.
Although Zack Kassian was not as noticeable last night, he still scored an important power play goal which snuffed out any chances that Colorado might have had about coming back. That was goal number five in seven games and his 33.3 shooting percentage is the best on the team.
The litmus test for the Canucks on Friday will be the Conference leading 6-0-1 Blackhawks who come a knocking. Just who will start in net will the question of the day. Hot goaltender usually prevails.
Ice Bits – It was good to see Jason Garrison score his first Canuck goal.
I thought there were two turning points in the game last night. First- was the two man advantage just after the Canucks had gone up 2-0 and the second – when Avalanches’ Matt Duchene broke in all alone during a Canuck power play. If Luongo doesn’t make that stop it’s 2-1 and maybe a different ending.
Luongo’s 61th shut-out places him second in NHL leaders, behind the soon to be Hall of Famer – Marty Brodeur’s 120. Not bad company to be in.
Max Lapierre’s goal, the Canucks second, created that doubt in Colorado’s mind about making a game of it. Especially since the Av’s are tied for last in the Western Conference with Goals For.
Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports!
Video Credits – YouTube
Quote Credits – The Vancouver Sun and Province
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Filed under: Vancouver Canucks