| Amidst what proved to be an otherwise forgettable Canuck game, for one member of the team, it held a moment that he will never forget.
Mike Brown, playing in his third NHL game, netted his first NHL goal.
"It is a great feeling," said Brown after the game.
The goal came in the second period when the Canucks were down 1-0. Aaron Miller made a nice play at the blue line to keep control of the puck, and passed down low to Pyatt along the side boards. Pyatt worked it back to Krajicek at the point, who slid a wrist shot toward the net. Brown got his stick on it, and the puck slid through Niklas Backstrom for the Canucks' only goal of the afternoon.
"Coach is stressing to get in front of the net and that's all I did," said Brown. "I came out of the corner, came right in front, and just got my stick out there. I got it on the puck and it went in."
It was the lone Canuck highlight amongst a number of events the team could have done without. Roberto Luongo's record-setting shutout streak was stopped at just over 210 minutes. Also, the Canucks team streak of not losing in regulation against Northwest Division rivals this year was snapped. Had they won, they would have claimed sole possession of the division lead. Now they're two points behind the Wild.
But it's better to have one memorable moment than none, and Mike Brown's first NHL goal fit the bill.
Brown played his first NHL game just under two weeks ago, also against the Wild. It was no secret that Brown was called up for his size and toughness. And that role suited him just fine. His first game he got in a fight with Aaron Voros, the man who scored the game-winner in this game. The next game Brown, against Columbus, he was involved in a bout with Jared Boll.
Coming into Sunday's match against Minnesota, it was expected he'd do much of the same: provide energy, grind out a few hard minutes of work, and maybe throw a few punches. Considering the bad blood between the two teams from the game November 21 when Mattias Ohlund got suspended for a slash on Mikko Koivu, it was an element the Canucks would likely need.
But Brown, for the first time in his NHL career, didn't drop the gloves. Instead, he scored a goal. Unfortunately the rest of the team couldn't add anything else to the scoreboard, but Brown's goal was one of the few examples to show how the Canucks need to play in order to win.
"We lost a lot of one on one battles and we just got to get harder on the puck, get more pucks to the net, and get more bodies in front and create that havoc in front of the net," said Brown, who did all of that in his 5:53 of ice time.
The Canucks next game is in Chicago, and if they want to get back to their winning ways, Mike Brown"s example might be something they want to follow.
It could be a fun game for Brown to be in - he grew up just 30 minutes away from Chicago in Northbrook. The question is: What kind of excitement will he bring to the game? In all three of his NHL games so far, he's either fought or scored a goal. Any bets what he might do on Wednesday?
1st - career NHL goal for Mike Brown
1st - game lost in regulation to a Northwest Division rival
22 - penalty minutes for Jeff Cowan, including one misconduct and two fights
21:33 - playing time for Ryan Kesler, leading all Canucks
210:34 - time of Luongo's shutout streak
It was a lackluster night in Minnesota's end of the rink. After playing so well in November, the Canucks were expected to keep on rolling, but it didn't happen against the Wild. The Canucks had just 20 shots and very few scoring chances, in part because they took so many penalties.
The good news was that the Canucks kept the Wild's sharpshooter Marian Gaborik off the scoreboard, who has been very hot as of late. But the rest of Gaborik's team generated piles of scoring chances. Roberto Luongo played fantastic, and the two goals against is a modest indication of how well the Wild played.
Unfortunately most of the Canucks special teams time was spent on the penalty kill, but it did well to finish 6-for-7 on the night. However, a Minnesota power play tally in the first was the difference in the game. Meanwhile, the Canucks power play, though they only had two opportunities hardly generated a scoring chance.