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Canucks Solidify Top Dog Status With 2-0 Win Over Blues
Roberto Luongo got the shutout, Alex Burrows net the winner, and Zack Kassian earned the Blue Ribbon for Best in Show, in the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues to extend their lead as top dog in the NHL.
Vancouver - March 2, 2012 - Luongo gets the shutout, Burrows nets the winner, and Zack Kassian earns the Blue Ribbon for Best in Show as the Canucks win 2-0 over the St. Louis Blues to extend their lead as top dog in the NHL. When a Ken Hitchcock coached team comes to town to take on the defensively skilled Canucks, one thing is for certain, and that is the ice surface seems to shrink ten fold until is looks as though both teams are playing in a phone booth! And just in case you dozed off midway through the first period, you didn’t miss any scoring as it took until 4:17 of the third period before the scorekeeper could change a zero to a one!
The winning goal came from a combination of a lucky miss, and a lucky bounce, and a “right place, right time” Alexandre Burrows was there to reap to reap the rewards of scoring the game’s winning goal. Kevin Bieksa’s failed point shot attempt, where he actually fanned on the puck, ended up on the other point where defensive partner Dan Hamhuis wired the puck wide of the net and off the end boards behind Brian Elliott. The rebound ended up at the feet of Alexandre Burrows, who backhanded the puck over Elliott’s left pad for the game’s first, and ultimately winning goal.
Roberto Luongo stopped all 29 shots he faced to earn the shutout, his third of the season, to keep the Blues at bay and 3 points behind the Canucks for the lead in the Western Conference. Chris Higgins sealed the win with an empty netter with less than a minute left in the game. OK, it wasn’t a blowout win against a good team, but at least it wasn’t a shootout loss to a struggling team either, which the Canucks can ill-forward during this 7 game road stand. One thing the Canucks need to start doing is putting some distance on the scoreboard between them and their opponents.
Aside from the win, and Luongo’s shutout, the bright spot of the game was newcomer Zack Kassian’s play. You wouldn’t have known that his total ice time was only 11 minutes and only registered 4 shots on goal by the way he played, because he made every second count in his Rogers Arena debut for the home fans. Whether it was just his exuberance to introduce himself to Canuck Nation, or an attempt to make everybody ask, “Cody who?” Kassian played a well rounded game where his presence was known each time he was on the ice. Whether it was a shot on goal, a good body check, a quick display of speed to break into the offensive zone, or a few good checks in the defensive zone, Zack is quickly becoming a fan favorite. Kassian is rocketing through the lines as coach V looks for chemistry with linemates, and so far it looks as though he can play with anybody. As much as Burrows and the Sedins complement each other, Kassian looks like he can step up and fill in for anybody regardless if it’s the first, second or third lines! He looks comfortable where ever he lines up.
It will be an interesting game on Saturday when the Canucks welcome the Buffalo Sabres to town on the late HNIC installment. Two “former teammates facing their former teammates” in Zack Kassian and Cody Hodgson should prove to be an entertaining exercise in grand showmanship. Who will want to prove to their former team the most that they made a mistake by swapping players? I would think Cody would have the biggest Axe to grind as he surely would want to put on a display showcasing his talent. We’ll see come Saturday as it will be a showdown of the up and comers!
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