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Canucks earn 40th Win of Season as they top the Devils 2-1
As was expected when two of the league’s hottest teams faced off, it was a tight disciplined game where goaltending was the key to victory, and the Vancouver Canucks Cory Schneider earned the win in spades. The NJ Devils were like a big old diesel locomotive tonight. It took a while for them to get going, but once they did they were a formidable unstoppable force.
Vancouver - February 25, 2012 - As was expected when two of the league’s hottest teams faced off, it was a tight disciplined game where goaltending was the key to victory, and the Canucks Cory Schneider earned the win in spades. The NJ Devils were like a big old diesel locomotive tonight. It took a while for them to get going, but once they did they were a formidable unstoppable force. That is until they hit the “Ginger wall,” who proved to be up to the task as he stopped 30 of 31 shots to win it for the Canucks. With the win, the Canucks are now in sole possession of the top spot in the league with 86 points, and only the second team to reach the 40 win mark.
Aaron Rome opened the scoring at 8:44 of the first period as he picked up the rebound from Chris Tanev’s point shot to sweep the puck into the open net past Marty Brodeur. The first period seemed more like an exploratory expedition as both teams seemed sluggish to get anything on the go. The shots were 8-6 in favor of the Devils, but Schneider stopped 3 quality scoring chances by being able to read the play and be in perfect position to make the save.
The Canucks went up by 2 goals early in the second period on a 3 on 2 rush when David Booth dropped the puck for a trailing Mason Raymond who wristed the puck past Brodeur from the right hand face off dot to beat him on the far post. Definitely not a good goal for Brodeur! With two evenly matched teams, and the Canucks up by two it could have been easy to think the Canucks would be able to match the Devils play to easily win by a healthy goal margin right? Wrong. Because the turning point in this game came at the 11:00 mark when Ryan Kesler broke into the Devils zone chasing a loose puck, but the scoring play was thwarted by a quick thinking Brodeur who charged out of the net to poke the puck away. Marty may be getting a little long in the tooth, and not quite as agile as he used to be, but he still knows when to pick his battles, and in this instance he won. 30 seconds later Patrik Elias enters the zone and breaks in on a challenging Schneider who was giving him nothing to shoot at. Elias lets a wrister go towards the net, and Schneider’s rebound squibs out front where the puck deflects first off of Dan Hamhuis’ skate, then David Clarkson’s blade and into the wide open goal to give the Devils life. And what a life it was because after that goal it was all Devils, and to make matters worse for the Canucks, Alexander Edler takes an interference penalty 1 minute after the New Jersey pulls within a goal, giving them the first power play opportunity of the game. Yes, these teams played over 32 minutes of penalty free hockey, which is a rarity in today’s fast style of game. Kudos to both teams for giving the fans more hockey and less penalties tonight! Ryan Kesler took a hooking penalty late in the period to add fuel to the Devil’s motivation, as they went on to pile 13 shots towards Schneider in the middle frame, but weren’t able to get any past the goal line.
The Canucks only got one power play opportunity in the game, and it came at 5:58 of the third period, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching the play on the ice. For nearly the entire Canucks man advantage, they spent their time defending in their own end as opposed pressuring Brodeur to regain the two goal lead. The teams were very evenly matched 5 on 5, but even with a man down the Devils still outplayed the Canucks in the third period. With the Canucks playing an emotional game last night in Detroit, it was easy to understand how they could be sluggish towards the end of the game tonight, and if it wasn’t for Schneider’s goaltending in the game, and especially the third period, this game would have had a different outcome. Somebody on the Canucks needs to buy Ginger a steak and a beer for his performance tonight because he earned it! The Devils outshot the Canucks by an obscene margin of 31-16, and Schneider stopped all but one, so maybe he deserves a pitcher of beer to go along with that steak!
The league’s number one team is now 3-1 on this road trip and get a much needed day of rest before they take on the Dallas Stars on Sunday in another dreaded late morning start.
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