Friday, November 11, 2005


Avalanche 5, Canucks 3
Reuters photo -- Andy Clark

[posted in full Sat ~12p]

Coming off of two hard-fought games in Calgary that came out as losses, how would the Canucks fare against the now-hot Colorado Avalanche, who had won five of six games coming into Thursday's matchup at the Garage?

They'd come out incredibly flat. The second period was much better than the first, but does any NHL team really deserve to win after giving up four goals in the first period?

1st period
With not even a minute gone in the game, Ed Jovanovski lost control of the puck in the right-wing corner of his own end, and Andrew Brunette centered quickly to the tape of Ian Laperriere driving the net. What happened afterward was...well, it was an avalanche of goals.
»» 1, COLORADO, Ian Laperriere 5 (Andrew Brunette, Antti Laaksonen) 0:46
Patrice Brisebois fired a shot from the blue line that looked to be initially stopped by Alex Auld, but Joe Sakic was there in front to chip it through.
»» 2, COLORADO, Joe Sakic 6 (Patrice Brisebois, Alex Tanguay) 3:49
Jovanovski had a pass from his own blue line intercepted as the play rushed back into the Vancouver end. Jovanovski blew a tire and fell down, and the Avalanche had a 2-on-0 rush for an easy give-and-go as Marek Svatos finished it off, beating Auld short side over the left shoulder.
»» 3, COLORADO, Marek Svatos 7 (Steve Konowalchuk) 6:38
Antti Laaksonen put a puck on Auld that went off the goalie's equipment, bounced high into the air, and went into the net over Auld.
»» 4, COLORADO, Laaksonen 7 (unassisted) 12:51
The Canucks were outshot by a mere margin of 18-5 in the first period. They killed off three penalties, but it didn't matter. The Vancouver team was booed mercilessly by the sellout crowd of 18630 as they skated off the ice at the end of the period.

2nd period
Atoning a bit for his giveaway earlier, Jovanovski camped out in front of David Aebischer's stick side and waited as Markus Naslund fed him with a pass from the end boards. Jovanovski
»» 5, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Ed Jovanovski 4 (Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 1:17
Brendan Morrison centered to Todd Bertuzzi in the slot, and Bertuzzi did what Canuck fans expect him to do, wristing it past Aebischer stick side.
»» 6, VANCOUVER, Todd Bertuzzi 4 (Morrison, Naslund) 10:45
The Canucks did much better, outshooting the Avalanche 14-3 in the period, and they trailed by a more acceptable margin of 21-19 on shots. They were 1-for-3 on the power play in the period and killed off the only Colorado power play chance.

3rd period
The Vancouver hopes for a comeback victory came crashing when Karlis Skrastins put up a shot from the left point that may have gone off of Nolan Baumgartner in front of the net, but that definitely got past Auld.
»» 7, COLORADO, shorthanded, Karlis Skrastins 1 (Konowalchuk, Laperriere) 7:57
In the too-little-too-late department, the Canucks did a fair job of battling for the puck along the boards, and Henrik Sedin flung the puck from the end boards to Richard Park in the slot, who beat Aebischer stick side.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Richard Park 4 (Henrik Sedin, Anson Carter) 18:17
The teams deadlocked with nine shots apiece. Vancouver killed two penalties, but they couldn't convert on four power plays in the first half of the period.

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Joe Sakic, (2) Colorado's Steve Konowalchuk, (3) Morrison

skater, goals-assists-points
Morrison 0-2-2
Naslund 0-2-2
Bertuzzi 1-0-1
Jovanovski 1-0-1
Park 1-0-1
Carter 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

Another loss to a division opponent. The team needs a shot of confidence, a barrage of goals, something. Having Dan Cloutier back might help if he's healthy. He at least dressed as a backup for this game and is on the way back after suffering the concussion against Colorado when his head bounced off the goal and off the ice. The main positive out of this game was that the big line accounted for five points. The bad thing was that entire first period.

The only plus skater for the Canucks was the newly recalled defenseman Sven Butenschon, who was plus-1. The minus skaters were aplenty. At minus-1 were Nolan Baumgartner, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Ryan Kesler, and Daniel Sedin. Minus-2 skaters included Lee Goren and Henrik Sedin. Minus-3 skaters were Bryan Allen and Ed Jovanovski (ouch). All other skaters were even.

Vancouver won 31 of 59 faceoffs (53%). Brendan Morrison was 10-for-16, Linden was 2-for-6, Kesler was 5-for-10, Henrik Sedin was 11-for-20, and Bertuzzi was 3-for-5. Naslund led the team with seven shots. Mattias Ohlund, Linden, and Jovanovski delivered three hits apiece.

The Canucks have lost three straight and are still stuck on 10 wins, now with a record of 10-5-2. Colorado, who has now won six of seven, lurks behind the Canucks by a mere two points with two games in hand.

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