Thursday, October 27, 2005


Avalanche 6, Canucks 2
Reuters photo -- Mark Leffingwell

[posted in full Fri ~2:22p; posts now massively enriched by the incredible HockeyDB.com player encoder.]

Walkover doesn't really begin to describe this. Avalanche fans got their fill in the form of booing Todd Bertuzzi (though not quite as lustily as expected) and being able to watch a full-on throttling of the Vancouver Canucks on home ice. The Canucks came out flat and paid dearly. They were able to tie it early on, but they were a stride slow on everything in the first 40 minutes of play.

In short, the only thing they have on which to build is that they outshot the Avalanche 23-0 in the third period. The zero shots against in the third period is a team record for Vancouver. Other than this, the Sedins with Anson Carter along with Ryan Kesler were the best players on the ice. On the flip side, all of the slowness and sluggishness as well as having Bryan Allen as an injury scratch didn't help.

1st period
The Canucks put themselves into a hole early as Steve McCarthy was called for hooking just 41 seconds into the game. Dan Cloutier had to weather a flurry of chances from Pierre Turgeon, Milan Hejduk, Rob Blake, and others. On somewhat of a rush, (Burnaby) Joe Sakic deflected a centering pass from Brett Clark past Dan Cloutier stick side. With almost a buzzkill effect, the fans wanted to cheer Sakic's goal, but then Marc Crawford put Todd Bertuzzi into the game, and the boos hailed down.
»» 1, COLORADO, powerplay, Joe Sakic 4 (Brett Clark) 2:37
Bertuzzi was hit by Ossi Vaananen just after the goal, and cheers were had in Denver. Trevor Linden was knocked down with no call. The Sedins stepped onto the ice, and stuff happened. Henrik tried a backhander that was stopped and covered. On a 3-on-1 rush, Daniel Sedin passed to twin brother Henrik Sedin on the right side, who put it on the net. It looked like Anson Carter pounced on the rebound and put it past Aebischer, and he was originally given the goal, but it was later given to Henrik, who must have had the puck deflect in off of Aebischer's equipment or something.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 3 (Daniel Sedin) 5:40
Bertuzzi fell when play resumed, and the crowd cheered. Matt Cooke was called for roughing, though Vancouver radio color man Tom Larscheid pleaded that the officials still have to allow some bodily contact. Cloutier held out good chances from Sakic and Blake. On a give-and-go, Steve Konowalchuk took an Ian Laperriere pass from the left corner and roofed it over Cloutier's left shoulder.
»» 3, COLORADO, Steve Konowalchuk 4 (Ian Laperriere, Antti Laaksonen) 10:33
After a whistle, Brad May threw a hit on Daniel Sedin. Cloutier got a bit lucky and was given a whistle even though he hadn't covered up or found the puck. Ed Jovanovski put a hard hit onto Laperriere. The defense left Ian Laperriere wide open and Cloutier left his entire stick side open as well, and Laperriere took a pass through the slot from Brunette and put it into the yawning cage. Larscheid on the radio called it a "comedy of errors" when neither Brendan Morrison nor Cloutier had sticks on the ice.
»» 4, COLORADO, Laperriere 3 (Andrew Brunette, Clark) 12:32
The Canucks killed off a Daniel Sedin hooking penalty before they got their first two power plays of the game late in the period. Paul Healey went off for interference. Markus Naslund had a wrister covered, Bertuzzi was stopped on a centering pass from Morrison, Mattias Ohlund had a one-timer stopped and the rebound bounce over Daniel Sedin's stick, and the twins were stopped on their slap-pass play. Morrison was hooked by Patrice Brisebois with eight seconds left in the period. Colorado outshot the Canucks 17-14 in the period.

2nd period
Bertuzzi was hit early on by Blake. The Sedins had a decent shift with some offensive pressure and some pucks to the net. Shortly after Wade Brookbank came into the game, Pierre Turgeon took a long pass from Andrew Brunette and blistered a roofer over Cloutier's right shoulder from behind the hash marks of the right circle. Cloutier was subsequently pulled, giving up four goals on 18 shots.
»» 5, COLORADO, Pierre Turgeon 3 (Brunette, Marek Svatos) 3:44
Brookbank tried to lure Laperriere into the fight, but the latter just took a couple of jabs and let Brookbank walk alone to the box. Brett McLean went off for holding, though the Canucks spent a portion of that power play trying to fight off a Colorado shorthanded rush. Not long after the power play expired, McCarthy went to the box again, this time for a trip. Patrice Brisebois put a one-timer off a leg and wide. John-Michael Liles put a centering pass off of Sami Salo's skate in front of the crease, and Milan Hejduk picked up the trash and put it past a sprawling Alex Auld. The goal was originally waved off as the officials thought the puck made a direct hit on the crossbar and stayed out, but that's where video replays come into play. It was a goal.
»» 6, COLORADO, powerplay, Milan Hejduk 3 (John-Michael Liles, Patrice Brisebois) 11:47
Brookbank took an elbow in the neutral zone, and May challenged him, though nothing came of it other than Brookbank getting sent off for roughing and a ten-minute misconduct. After a Liles one-timer was deflected, Blake and Ohlund exchanged pleasantries. Ohlund went off for a cross-check. Auld made a stop on Marek Svatos, and Brisebois had a slap shot tipped wide before Liles shot in from beyond the circles, and Andrew Brunette tried to tip it in, but was unsuccessful. On the same play, Turgeon took the rebound, went along the end boards, then fired the puck off a skate or something in front of the crease and past Auld.
»» 7, COLORADO, powerplay, Turgeon 4 (Brunette, Liles) 14:02
Matt Cooke centered to Richard Park, who had the puck tipped away. Jarkko Ruutu and Karlis Skrastins got into it a bit. May wasn't as willing a participant in the ruckus, trying to pull Ruutu away. Ruutu and Clark went to the box, but Healey got a ten-minute misconduct. Carter had a one-timer stopped by a nice Aebischer save. Svatos was stopped on a wrap attempt, and Alex Tanguay was nailed by Cooke by the end of the period. Colorado outshot Vancouver 13-5 in the period and led 30-19 in that department after 40 minutes.

3rd period
The Canucks would have ample scoring chances in a third period, though a five-goal deficit proved much too large to overcome. Park was stopped on the short side, then had a wrister stopped in close. Ohlund had a wrister stopped. Nolan Baumgartner fanned on a rebound. Todd Bertuzzi made a nice pass from behind the net to Ryan Kesler, who went high on Aebischer, stick side.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 2 (Todd Bertuzzi, Matt Cooke) 2:24
Kesler nearly had another one on an Ohlund rebound, but it was cleared just afterward. Park stole a puck and had a wrister stopped by Aebischer. Bertuzzi put a deke on Aebischer but was robbed. Blake went to the box for holding to put Vancouver on a meaningless power play. Morrison had a shot meet the left pad of Aebischer. Naslund had a wrist shot stopped. An Ohlund slap shot was blocked by Laperriere, who limped off the ice as a result. Cooke had a centering pass put wide by Lee Goren, and Cooke had words for Tanguay, who had put a leg out to get him. Blake went off once again, this time for interference. Bertuzzi missed a wide-open net after Vaananen had gone to the box. Bertuzzi also had a puck go off of Aebischer's arm. The Sedins and Carter closed out the game with some scoring chances, but no dice. The game had been long over. Vancouver outshot Colorado 23-0 in the third period as the Avalanche were much too content to sit on a five-goal lead coming into the period. Cloutier stopped 14 of 18, while Auld stopped 10 of 12.

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Ian Laperriere, (2) Colorado's David Aebischer, (3) Colorado's Pierre Turgeon

skater, goals-assists-points
Kesler 1-0-1
H Sedin 1-0-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1
Cooke 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Canuck play-by-play man John Shorthouse said that trying to find positives from this game was like "putting lipstick on a pig." The lipstick consisted mainly of the second line and Ryan Kesler. There was much more bad. The defense on a Ian Laperriere goal was a bit lacking, and that was the dagger goal of the game. It all started out with Vancouver coming out flat, however. The early power play goal put them in a hole right away, and though they were able to tie it up shortly after, the momentum was taken away about five minutes later, and it never came back.

Vancouver won 48% of their faceoffs, which isn't horrible but isn't that great either. Brendan Morrison was 7-for-16, Trevor Linden was 5-for-10, Ryan Kesler was a great 8-for-11, and Henrik Sedin was a bad 5-for-15. The plus-skating Canucks, all plus-1, were Sami Salo, Kesler, the Sedins, Matt Cooke, Steve McCarthy, and Anson Carter. Nobody was minus-1. The minus-2 guys were Mattias Ohlund, Ed Jovanovski, and Todd Bertuzzi. The minus-3 guys were Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund. The names that I just reeled off that went minus-2 and minus-3 can't be doing that if the Canucks are going to win. Of course, this type of game has largely been an anomaly for the Canucks so far this year.

In the superstats bonanza, Todd Bertuzzi was credited with a team-leading six shots. Park, Naslund, and Daniel Sedin all had four shots apiece. One small positive was that they had ten takeaways to six giveaways. Again, lipstick on the pig.

The Canucks are now 8-2-1 and remain at 17 points in the standings, though now with only a six-point lead over the Avalanche that could have been a ten-point lead. Best-case scenario would have had the Canucks blowing open a 12-point lead over the Avalanche, but they had to lose sometime. A six-game winning streak isn't bad at all. The last time the Canucks opened a doubleheader, they lost 6-0 to Minnesota, then won the rematch on Saturday night. Apparently the trend in back-to-back sets in the same venue is that they usually end up in a split, and that held true in Minnesota. For the Canucks' sake, they should hope it holds up here too.

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