The Canucks came out blazing in the first two periods of last night’s game. Although they did stumble for most of the third, allowing the Chicago Blackhawks to tie the game at three on thirteen shots on Roberto Luongo. It was definitely something the Canucks need to be mindful of next game and prepare for better than Game 1.
Kyle Wellwood’s play last night was outstanding. To me, he was the unsung hero of the game. He drew three penalties last night including two double minors. His face paid the price, but he didn’t care. He got stitched up and he was back on the ice like it did not even happen. He did his job and he did it well.
All throughout the regular season stretch and the Round 1 series against St. Louis, we have seen a different side of Kyle Wellwood. We see a guy that has re-invented himself into a very good two way hockey player. We have seen a guy who has been in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse and was called out publicly, to someone who has become a very effective third line shut down centre.
Perhaps seeing that he cleared waivers twice, and seeing his NHL career on the brink woke something up in Kyle Wellwood and he made a choice to be the player he knows he could be. We are seeing that on the ice presently. During these playoffs, Wellwood has scored once, had three assists and playing good defensive hockey.
What really sticks out in my mind is his face-off percentage in the playoffs. All the Canucks regular centres are doing very well, but his 56.4% winning percentage is behind that of Mats Sundin (57.5%) and Ryan Johnson (62.5%). This is an area that the whole team has improved on this season but Kyle winning key face-offs on the third line has been a big factor in his success.
His contributions on the second unit power play have been noticed. His pass on Demitra’s goal last night was brilliant and to mention the beauty to Kesler for the Canucks’ third goal of the evening.
There was something in Kyle Wellwood that Mike Gillis saw to take a $1million dollar chance on at the beginning of the season, and it’s paying off. Whatever it is, let’s hope it continues in this series.
High sticks and tape may break his face, but the fatty names never broke his spirit. Good job Kyle. Glad to have you aboard, in my mind, a magical team.
Go Canucks Go.
Musings from the mud.
Lotus Blossom,Canucks Corner