Powerplay Puts Out Flames

Daniel Sedin The Vancouver Canucks did something extraordinary last night against the Calgary Flames.

They scored as many powerplay goals in one game, against a usually stingy Calgary defense, as they did in all 12 playoffs games of last season.

Now, those of you in Canuck-land – where the bandwagon can fluctuate more than the stock market – shouldn’t get too excited after the Canucks’ special teams came up huge last night, but it does serve as a positive sign that maybe these guys are beginning to click with the man advantage.

The first goal was a pure powerplay goal. Puck comes back to the point, Mattias Ohlund rips a low slap shot with big Taylor Pyatt standing right in front of Miikka Kiprusoff acting as a screen. That is the basis of most goals scored on the powerplay. A shot from 60 feet out is only going to beat a goalie once in maybe 100 tries.

But, if you’re a sucker for the underdog, the-little-guy, the-little-train-that-could, then you couldn’t not be ecstatic for Ryan Shannon. He ripped a one-timer past Kiprusoff on a beauty pass from Daniel Sedin for Shannon’s first goal as a Canuck.

But all in all, the Canucks’ special teams were dominant over Calgary’s. The Canucks went 4-8 on the powerplay, while the Flames went 1-6 and were unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 advantage in the second period.

The second game of the season brought out a lot of positive signs for Vancouver. Okay, Luongo was his usual self, making his routine “how did he stop that?” save. This included one of those ordinary Luongo-esque goaltending shows where he robbed Jarome Iginla of a sure goal on a Calgary 2-on-1 when Luongo stretched out with the paddle.

Naslund racked up two points and is on pace for 82 points and 41 goals this year. That seems about right for him. The Canucks also generated more chances, especially off the cycle and if it weren’t for a great effort from Luongo’s counterpart, Kiprusoff, the Canucks may have rolled right over the Flames.

Alas, it is just game two of 82. So for all the positive signs that happened in the second game of a long season, it would be nice to consistently get efforts like the one on Saturday night, all season long.

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