What a fabulous return to Vancouver that was for Todd Bertuzzi. Not only did he score five goals in a 9-0 Anaheim victory over the Vancouver Canucks, he was also named first star and given a key to the city by Mayor Sam Sullivan.
Then Bert woke up this morning and reality hit.
His return to the city that was arguably the biggest influence on his professional hockey career was overshadowed by a dominating 4-0 Canucks victory over the Ducks.
Of all the Canucks games this year, this one ranks right up there as one of the best all-around team efforts as Alain Vigneault’s crew got contributions from Markus Naslund with his 11th of the season, Cooke on his fourth of the season and emerging star Ryan Kesler, who picked up his sixth and seventh goals of the season.
What was even sweeter about this win was that the Canucks knocked off the defending Stanley Cup Champs on home ice, where Vancouver had not beaten Anaheim since 2002, according to TSN. Not only did Vancouver, the hottest team in the NHL right now, beat the Ducks on the scoreboard, they beat them to pucks and won a lot of the battles along the wall against much bigger players like Chris Pronger, Sean O’Donnell and Ryan Getzlaf.
Cooke, who scored the third Vancouver goal on a deflection off of a Alex Edler shot from the point, was a thorn in the Ducks’ side all night as the spark plug caused numerous scuffles with his opponents and got the Canucks going in the second period with a relentless fore-check and board-shaking hits. That’s the way No. 24 has to play every night if he wants to be successful on this team and for the team to be successful. He isn’t a 30-goal man, it just isn’t going to happen. However, if he hits, pesters the other team without taking penalties and can chip in on the odd goal then he becomes a valuable asset to this hockey team.
You can’t blame J.S Giguere for the loss tonight. His team did him no favours by taking penalty after penalty in the later part of the second period and the first few minutes of the third period, which ultimately led to Kesler’s beautiful second goal of the night.
By the same token, Roberto Luongo simply outplayed his nemesis at the other end. Luongo, for what it is worth, was named Pierre McGuire’s Monster Performer on the night and rightfully so. Extending his shut out streak to just over 135 minutes, Luongo kept the Canucks in the game during the first period that saw Anaheim direct 15 shots at the Canucks goalie. The rest of the game, Luongo faced just 11 shots to preserve his third shut out of the month.
All-in-all, the Canucks’ play tonight was that type of effort needed to win a championship. That was the effort that most hockey fans witnessed when Anaheim dominated the regular season and the playoffs last year on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. The trick is to keep it up until the middle of June.
Quick question out of curiosity … On a night that saw the Canucks pulverize the Ducks, did anyone else even notice Todd Bertuzzi out there?
Todd Who. Not a question, but a statement.
Filed under: Cam T, Soccer, Sports | Tagged: Anaheim Ducks, Chris Pronger, Hockey, J.S Giguere, Markus Naslund, Matt Cooke, Monster Performer, NHL, Pierre McGuire, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Sports, Stanley Cup, Todd Bertuzzi, TSN, Vancouver Canucks | 1 Comment »