Pity the Vancouver Canucks didn’t have those Millionaires costumes on Tuesday night because they certainly enjoyed a throwback night.
They got an old-time, ’70s-style, down-the-wing slap-shot goal from Jannik Hansen that must have reminded every Canucks fan over 50 of Stan Smyl’s glory days.
They got a vintage magic goal from Daniel Sedin who converted a seeing-eye pass from his brother, and also threw in some tremendous moves which didn’t quite turn to gold on some other occasions as the Sedins were on top form.
They got manna from heaven in the form of a goal from Dale Weise and an assist from Jordan Schroeder and they got old-time goaltending from Cory Schneider that reminded everyone of, well, Cory Schneider.
They had their usual dreadful third period, of course, now having been outscored 9-3 in their last three third stanzas, but they had built up enough capital to emerge with their dignity intact.
The confluence of these factors resulted in a much-needed victory that certainly didn’t look possible after the first period, which was dominated so much by St. Louis.
They peppered the goalie Alain Vigneault had pressured so much after the morning skate when he said that he, as a coach, had to be standing at the same podium after the game and able to declare that he had the best goaltender of the night. He was certainly able to make that claim — and did.
“It’s a big science, isn’t it,” joked Vigneault, “you need great goaltending to win in this league. We were looking for our hands and our legs in the first period and he made some big saves for us and allowed us to get up in the second, and both goals in the third were bad bounces. They were both going wide but all of a sudden they’re in the back of the net and we’re in a challenging situation.”
Schneider has spent a good deal of time with goalie coach Roland Melanson this past week and their work certainly seems to have paid off, with the goalie coming out of mothballs the way he did last season to throw up a great performance. He kept his teammates from being dynamited out of their own building early on.
“If you give up a couple of those (in the first period) and fall down 2-0 against this team, it’s pretty well a death sentence,” said Schneider, who celebrated his 27th birthday sitting on the bench watching Roberto Luongo play Monday night.
“So it was pretty nice to make those saves,” he added. “The glove saves were nice, you always like those because it means you’re tracking the puck pretty well. The goals in the third were just bounces, but there’s been quite a few of those lately. Ask Lu, he’s had quite a few like that, too.”
While they did manage the victory, there was also something disquieting in the game to those who think the Canucks might still compete for a Stanley Cup this season in the event they get Ryan Kesler, David Booth and Zack Kassian back together and ready to go in the playoffs. And this of course assumes they make the post-season.
The Blues were so superior in almost every aspect of the game it was ridiculous. Both the first and third periods gave the impression the ice was tilted in one direction, the locals decidedly skating uphill. Only the Sedins seemed able to stem the tide. And while this team would certainly have a different look with those three big forwards in the lineup, you have to wonder whether they can play at a high enough level consistently enough to make any kind of significant run.
If they get goaltending like they did in this one, there’s no question about competing and winning at any level. Any team could. But any drop-off from this form and the question remains, particularly given both Anaheim and Chicago might well be stronger opponents than the Blues.
© Copyright (c) The Province