Well, folks, the Canucks' shutout streak is over.
Sunday night, Vancouver lost 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild, and I can't say as I'm terribly disappointed in our guys; it was a great game between two very talented and capable teams. What does disappoint me is the level to which they allowed themselves to be drawn into penalties throughout the game. I'm too damn poor to be able to watch my Canucks play ($160 just to watch online, jeesum crow, being an aficionado of any sport is becoming the purview of the rich, but that's another topic for another post and another day), so I listen to the games on Team1040 online, and hence, don't really "see" the action, but from what I could hear it sounded like we fell into some fairly petty penalty draws.
Also, watching the highlight footage after the fact, I could have sworn I saw the Wild commit several penalties for which they were never called on...hmmm. Maybe I'm just a biased, die-hard fan, but that's what it looked like to me.
I'd give 3:1 odds for the Canucks in a rematch with different officiating. What really gave the Wild a perceived advantage was the seven bloody power plays they had against us, and I certainly think there was slightly biased officiating Sunday night, possibly originating from the fight between Cowan and Foy just three seconds into play.
The defeat certainly would have been a great deal more sound were it not for Luongo, who stopped 28 shots on goal (with our boys only managing 20 shots on goal, even with Luongo pulled for the final minutes of the game).
When all is said and done, however, this was not a resounding defeat for the Canucks, rather, it was a learning experience.
If this were my team I coach playing Sunday nights game, we would definitely give more polish to our defensive game, but really begin to work towards an even more successful penalty-kill strategy. Above all that, though, it seems to me from a coach's point of view (however inexperienced that POV may be) that there needs to be some psychological conditioning happening now, along with the superb physical conditioning the team already receives. Hockey is an emotional game, probably more so than any other out there, and when we let our emotions rule us too much during play we begin to act outside of our team strategy; we focus on "getting" the other guy, or getting ourselves so fired up or tense that we mishandle routine situations during game play.
Anyways, there's my very amateur take on Sunday's game.
Our boys play Chicago on their ice Wednesday night with some time to rest up before.
I'm confident that if Vancouver sticks to their defensive guns and avoids pulling stupid penalties, Wednesday's game will be a repeat of these two teams' last encounter.