I left the game in the middle of the third period for band practice. Had a feeling the Canucks would pull through. You know that feeling? The one that suggests your team is going to win by virtue of their glistening record. Little did I know that the boredom so often beset upon a tilt with the Minnesota Wild would decend into full fledged Chinese water torture.
True, the Canucks were coming off a six game road trip having already snatched 6 of 10 point on the road. They hit the ice in the Twin City with stiff bodies and swirling minds (visions of a first round match-up with the Blackhawks dancing in their heads). But thankfully one particular Canuck made a point to bring his A (plus plus) game to the city of F. Scott Fitzgerald and that man was Captain and current king of the crease, Roberto Luongo.
Louie was flawless, apart from letting a Marian Gaborik deflection flutter over his sprawling frame, and his rebound control (according to people who know about these things) was fantastic. Gone are the easy goal he was badly criticized for in the press two weeks ago. Back is the swagger that saw the Montreal native finish second twice for the Vezina and has the pundits calling once again upon the General Managers (who vote on the best goalie trophy) to take a look at our prodigal son.
This was the type of win we were used to seeing when Luongo first came to town two seasons ago and the expectation for this team was very low. In those days the Canucks would squeeze a goal or two out of their anemic offence and then lean on Luongo to be superhuman night after night. Yesterday’s night was no different, except the team performance was a statistical anomally. Right now the Canucks finally have a legitimate top six forward combination (something they’ve missed all the way back to the Bertuzzi/Naslund era). Mix that with Luongo steady ascent to the top of the goaltender ranks and the solid play from the defence corp and you have a deadly combination.
There are no glaring weaknesses with this team. Unless you count apathy, but that could have just been confused with fatigue on Tuesday night. Expect to see no more of this in the 2008/09 season, unless the Canucks prefer to loose a chance at the championship.