After having a day off on Wednesday – and maybe because of it – the Canucks came out flat, but thanks to DeSmith and a late first turnaround they were able to shut out the Wild Thursday night. Here are your highlights:
The Wild came into Thursday night’s tilt on a 4 game new coach winning streak (and last 8 games against the Canucks) having outscored their opponents 18-5. But that was before running into DeSmith, who himself was 4-0 against the Wild from his Penguins days, posting a 93.1 save percentage through those four wins. Bump that baby up to 5-0 now!
The Canucks were pretty lethargic in the first period, taking until 13:18 to get their first shot on goal. By the end of the first, the Wild had 23 shot-attempts at five on five, the Canucks 9. The second period flipped that script (which as we know is not the Canucks’ strong period), with the Canucks getting 21 attempts off to the Wild’s 9. The third period calmed things down as the boys guided home their victory after Blueger’s sweet deke from a great pass from Garland. Garland has taken some flack this season, after his debatably-public trade request combining with just 2 goals on the season, but by all accounts had himself a dogged game. Not sure if he dwells too much on it, as after the W he said, “Winning’s more fun.” Ya good enough.
Speaking post-game, Tocchet didn’t seem too happy with the effort in the first. That’s been something that’s plagued the Canucks for a while. They were better at the beginning of the year, but old habits have been creeping their way back in. Hopefully Tocc can sort them out again:
“We didn’t really have the puck the first 10 minutes and then they started going through guys and our neutral (zone defence) was better. For some reason we were backing up,” Tocchet said. “Yeah, they had the puck a lot but I thought we were OK outside of the fact early on we were sleeping a little bit. But I thought the second or third, you know, we played our game.”
DeSmith was happy with the effort (clearly after the first) and mindset that helped seal the win.
“We said in between periods, this was a spot where we need to be comfortable, sitting on a low-scoring one goal (lead), at home against a good team. They’re obviously a really quality opponent. And they were going to come out hard (in the second), which they did and I thought we weathered the storm,” DeSmith said post-game.
“That’s a tough spot sometimes for our team, you know, you only have one goal on the board and the other teams coming in hot so I thought we did a really good job. Kind of finishing it off.”
DeSmith mentioned his work ethic as the backup, how he takes pride in the role and carries a game-like mindset to practice, and how a lot of the shots he faced in the first period were things he’d been working on with Clark.
“Clarky and I have been working on some stuff, some down low stuff, post stuff, cleaning up some movement, especially down in tight which in the first period I saw a lot of,” he said.
The trade is looking like a savvier and savvier move by Allvin as we go along here. And apparently, he's a good guy too:
“Listen, Casey is one of the happiest, smiliest, greatest guys to be around,” Ian Cole said. “He's always here every day with such a great attitude, so he's a guy that you really want to play for. It's similar to Marc-Andre Fleury, for instance. His teammates just love him.
“They didn't have a ton of shots, didn't have a ton of chances. But when they were pushing in that first period, Casey really held the fort down for us. He made a couple great saves, kind of calmed us down and then we started going, which was great.”
The Canucks play again Saturday night against the Hurricanes. Annnnnd to the discussion.