For one day, Markus Naslund was once again in the spotlight of the Vancouver sports media and for a change of pace, he actually helped the Canucks to a 6-3 pasting of the blueshirts. Of course the defensive lapses were the domain of Wade Redden and Henrik Lundqvist, but it was Naslund’s unique ability not to score that ultimately helped Vancouver’s cause.
The former Canuck captain, and franchise leading scorer, looked dangerous with his aloof style of finding ice, but he couldn’t capitalize on numerous chances to help dig his Rangers out of the 5-1 hole they dug for themselves in the first. The great goalie match-up — between Vezina hopefuls Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lunkqvist — anticipated by everyone before the game fizzled into an execution, gangland style. The Rangers, not without a reasonable effort, rattled off 39 shot on Luongo who played his best game (or at least made the prettiest saves) of the season.
There was little fanfare and little complaint. Quite simply the Canucks played their best, most complete game of the season. The only blotch was that Sami Salo left the game in the third to an undisclosed injury. Given how they play without him, it ain’t no thing. Besides, the Finn with the glassjaw always seems to bounce back. At this point, New York will have to bounce in a big way if they expect to prevail in June for a rematch of ’94.
Next Up — Minnesota