Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wild compete level up as Canucks meltdown

Wild spot Vancouver 1st goal, then stomp on Luongo, Canucks as Rypien loses cool; suspension likely

By Wild Road Tripper

You gotta hand it to the Vancouver Canucks. Pacific Canada's favorite team becomes such an easy target, when they revert to their old, familiar, penalty-filled ways. Throw in a sure-to-be-suspended meltdown by the latest in a long line of Canucks you can love to hate, and you have the recipe for a fun evening of puck. Such was the case on Tuesday night, as the Minnesota Wild once again sent Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to the showers, with a six-pack of goals in a row over the first two periods, as the Wild derailed the Canucks express, 6-2, at Xcel Energy Center. The pre-season overwhelming pick to win the Northwest Division is now a pedestrian 2-3-1, following the ninth all-time loss by 'Bobby Lu' in St. Paul.

There were the two goals by Daniel Sedin for Vancouver. The Canucks can hang their collective hat on that. But, they meant nothing, as what happened in the intervening 58 minutes would attest to, as the Wild rattled six straight on 18 total shots over the first two periods, including one goal and two assists for Marek Zidlicky, a goal and an assist for Guillaume Latendresse, let out of 'Le Chateau Bow-Wow', and placed back on the second line with Martin Havlat and Matt Cullen, that line combining for six points on the evening.

But, that all paled in comparison to the Rick Rypien follies, which occurred late in the second period. Following a scrum in front of the Wild bench in which Rypien, who lost an earlier fight to Brad Staubitz, was restrained from going after Staubitz a second time by the linesmen, Rypien then pushed the linesman, pushed referee Chris Lee and then went after a fan who was mildly taunting Rypien, as he made his way up the tunnel to the Canucks dressing room. Rypien was suspended immediately after the game by the NHL, pending a Friday in-person hearing, which will likely result in a long suspension for the 6th-year goon.

(Since this entry was first started, the fan involved has told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he will seek legal representation against Rypien and the Canucks.)

The victory, coupled with the blowout loss by the Canucks, now vaults the Wild into 3rd place in the Northwest Division, three points behind division-leading Colorado, who did not play Tuesday night. Vancouver faces off against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Wednesday evening, before returning home to face the Wild at Rogers Centre (formerly GM Place) on Friday. (A little 'must-see' viewing, anyone?)

The Wild now vacate the 'X' for the remainder of the Minnesota Teachers' Weekend, as their two-game road trip begins with the Next Game: at Edmonton, Thursday, Oct. 21, 8:30 PM Central (7:30 PM Mountain) Time, Rexall Place. (TV: FSNorth, FSWisconsin, Rogers SportsNet-Edmonton, all feeds in HD)

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