Thursday, October 2, 2008

Twins Lead Canucks To 6th Straight

It wasn't a pretty win by any means, but who says they need to be in the pre-season. For the 4th time in the exhibition campaign, the Vancouver Canucks were forced to play catch-up hockey. However, their #1 line would be able to rally the troops back as they skated away with a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Thursday night.

Daniel Sedin (1g,2a), Henrik Sedin (1g,1a,GWG) and Steve Bernier (1g) led the offence on the night for the home team. Henrik's goal proving to be the game winner was netted in the opening minute of the third period just as a Canucks power play had expired. Vancouver's first two goals, both in the middle frame, came on the man advantage.

Certainly a difference-maker on this night was goalie Curtis Sanford. Although he struggled with rebound control early on, his performance in the final 40 minutes alone was reason enough to warrant one of the 3 Stars. In the opening frame, he allowed one goal by Riley Armstrong in a period where Vancouver was out-shot 12-3. In the final period, he shut the door as the Sharks out-shot the home team 13-4.

Vancouver has scored nine power play goals in the pre-season and at least one in each of their six victories. They've also been excellent on the penalty kill, allowing just five goals against on 34 short-handed situations.

As mentioned off the top, the Canucks had to come-from-behind to win this game. Of their first six wins, four have occured when their opponents have scored the opening goal. That's a sign of a team that's showing some pretty strong character traits heading into the regular season.

Much like their wins over San Jose last Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday, this was in many respects a "will-over-skill victory". The Sharks put the majority of their high-end talent in the line-up against Vancouver. The likes of Joe Thorton, Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi, Jonathan Cheechoo, Rob Blake, Dan Boyle, Milan Michalek, and Evgeni Nabokov all dressed for the Sharks. However none were really huge factors in a one-goal loss. Thorton by the way did not appear in the third period as he apparently rested a nagging groin injury.

With the start to the regular season less than one week away, the Canucks will have Friday off for a well-deserved rest. The club will try to make it a perfect 7-for-7 in the pre-season on Sunday night when they entertain the Ducks.

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