By Wild Road Tripper
Were the Vancouver Canucks trying to make a statement tonight? If they were, after all was said and done, was this what they meant? Really??
If this was what they meant to say, perhaps it's good that the Olympics will be in Vancouver in less than 5 weeks. Because the Canucks sure didn't make the statement they wanted to. Which is a good thing, if you are a Minnesota Wild fan. The Wild beat the Canucks, 5-2, before 18,356 at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday night, and beat the Canucks up as well, as three (well, actually two, we'll get to that later) fights in the third period -- all of which also wound up in Minnesota's favor -- and an early end to Roberto Luongo's night in the Vancouver goal spelled defeat for the Canucks, for the first time in St. Paul since March, 2008.
Antti Miettinen continues on his goal-scoring tear, as he twice found twine with a shot from the slot on a 4-on-3 power play early in the third, then scored again near midway thru the third period to put the game hopelessly out of reach. Kyle Brodziak, Mikko Koivu and Owen Nolan also scored for the Wild as they won their fourth straight game, all at home, to climb to within one point of idle Detroit and to within two points of Los Angeles.
No mention of the Canucks would be complete without a mention of, 'Pinky and the Brain', better known as the Sedin Twins, Daniel and Henrik, who were held completely off the scoreboard tonight as the Wild shut down Vancouver's top line all evening.
In the midst of all the hubbub, Niklas Backstrom won his 21st game of the season, and his 114th overall, eclipsing the mark for most Wild goaltender victories, set by Manny Fernandez.
The three fights were like this: First, Derek Boogaard squares off against Darcy Hordichuk, a 'fight' in name only, since only Hordichuk threw punches (and not many of those) and Boogaard backed off after pulling Hordichuk's sweater over his head.
The second fight was indeed the most brutal, as 'Big' John Scott proceeded to systematically destroy Alexandre Bolduc, landing a minimum (by my own count) 12 punches clean to the head of the recent call-up. When the fight was over, Bolduc had to be helped off the ice by the officials, as he definitely had checked in on Dream Street. This fight was almost as one-sided as Scott's destruction last March of the Islanders' Joel Rechlicz at Nassau Coliseum. If this doesn't make someone's fight card, nothing in hockey will.
The last fight of the evening took place just 6 seconds before the coaches would have been fined $25,000 if a fight had taken place. This one featured Shane Hnidy vs. Tanner Glass, two guys who would have really liked not fighting each other at all. This fight came out close to even.
The Wild now go on the road for the next week, starting a stretch where 6 of the next 9 are away from St. Paul, with the Next Game: at St. Louis, tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 14), 7:00 PM, Scottrade Center. (Wild TV: FSNorth (includes FSWisconsin); Blues TV: FSMidwest (in HD); XM Radio, Ch. 237)
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