The preseason didn't hinder the heated rivalry between The
Vancouver Canucks and The Calgary Flames. The tempo was
turned up a notch at General Motors place. If you stepped
onto the ice you knew you were going to be hit.
The Canucks opened the game with a flurry of speed and hits.
They managed to keep pace with Calgary's tenacity and even
excede them. They went to the net and got lots of shots on
A player that is expected to step up and score this year is
Ryan Kesler. Paired up with Markus Naslund and Taylor Pyatt,
Kesler went in alone on Miikka Kiprusoff, from Naslund and
Luongo, went for a backhand and was shut down by Kiprusoff.
He also imposed his will with his physical play.
Luongo was Luongo. He was flawless in his period and a half
of play and stopped all 14 shots. He was than replaced by
Cory Schneider during a Canucks penatly kill that later
turned into a 5 on 3. Schneider saved both shots he faced.
He looked a tad shakey at the start, but who isn't with
their first start as a goalie. Cory Schneider picked up were
Luongo left off and shut the door on the Flames.
The Canucks forward that made the biggest name for himself
was Canucks 1st round pick in 2006 Michael Grabner. He had a
wealth of close chances and set up Jason Jaffray for the
second Vancouver goal, early in the third period. He also
laid a big check on the much larger Dion Phaneuf that sent
him into the Flames bench. He than went on to score the
Canucks first power play goal on a tip in from a Lukas
Krajicek point shot. As the game went on, Grabner got more
and more comfortable and his plays got better and more
frequent. He caught the coaches attention and is a step
closer to earning that opening night spot.
Mattias Ohlund was as steady and solid as always, but even
he stepped up his game in a way that had been lacking.
Ohlund took the body and took it hard. His first shift he
laid a big hit behind his own net that set the tone for the
entire game. Ohlund was laying people out left and right and
looked like the Ohlund of old.
Looking for the seventh, and maybe even the 6th defensive
spot, Alexander Edler had a big game. He was solid on
defence, except when he would sneak off the point and head
to the net. Edler made up for some defensive lackings by
scoring the first goal of the hockey game, with a blast from
the slot set up by Naslund.
Even with the heightened physical play, there was only one
scrap, but Nathan McIver could have been in four. Nathan
McIver and Warren Peters tried to scrap early in the second,
but it was broken up before any punches could be thrown.
Once they stepped back onto the ice, the gloves were dropped
and the tussle began. Only one big shot was landed and that
was by McIver, that stunned Peters momentarily. In doing so
McIver gets the nod from me.
PS Ryan Shannon worked hard and played everywhere all night
and was rewarded with a late power play goal. A Blast from
the top of the circle that blew by back up goaltender Curtis