Thursday, November 17, 2005


Kings 5, Canucks 4
Reuters photo -- Lucy Nicholson

[posted in full Fri ~2:21p]

How would the Canucks do on the tail end of a back-to-back on the road against the high-scoring Los Angeles Kings and their great front line? Los Angeles center Craig Conroy took all those faceoffs for the Calgary Flames in their big run the last time playoffs were held, so that's somewhat of an idea about how it went in the faceoff circle tonight. Before we get into this, I'll spill and point out that he was 19-for-24 in the faceoff circle. Either that's nuts, or the Canucks were terrible.

1st period
Wade Brookbank reacted to a George Parros hit on Mattias Ohlund by challenging Parros. He got hit with an instigator penalty as well, however, and coupled with an interference call 44 seconds later against Ohlund, it left the Canucks trying to kill off a 5-on-3 against a very high-scoring team in the early NHL season. Lubomir Visnovsky unloaded from the high slot, shooting through Sami Salo and Michael Cammalleri in front, and beating Dan Cloutier stick side, inside the far post with 21 seconds left to go in the Brookbank instigator penalty. The Canucks still had 65 seconds' worth of Ohlund's penalty to kill.
»» 1, LOS ANGELES, powerplay, Lubomir Visnovsky 7 (Pavol Demitra, Michael Cammalleri) 9:39
The Slovak did it again. Pavol Demitra passed through the crease and Visnovsky barreled toward the net on Cloutier's glove side and snapped it through.
»» 2, LOS ANGELES, powerplay, Visnovsky 8 (Alexander Frolov, Demitra) 10:32
On the postgame show, host Dan Russell later said the Canucks "did absolutely nothing in the first period." The Kings badly outshot Vancouver 14-8. Los Angeles was 2-for-4 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-1.

2nd period
After Bryan Allen got whistled for a hook just 43 seconds into the period, Cammalleri got a pass in the high slot, juked past Richard Park, moved closer to the net, and wristed a shot past Cloutier, glove side.
»» 3, LOS ANGELES, powerplay, Cammalleri 6 (Demitra, Frolov) 1:38
The Canucks finally dented the scoreboard. With a power play just expiring, Henrik Sedin from the left circle passed to brother Daniel Sedin coming toward the net on goalie Mathieu Garon's glove side. Daniel tucked it past.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Daniel Sedin 5 (Henrik Sedin, Anson Carter) 16:12
Vancouver had finally picked it up a bit, outshooting the Kings 14-10 in the period. The Kings were 1-for-2 on the power play in the frame while the Canucks were unsuccessful on three power plays.

3rd period
Then the hole was dug deeper in quick fashion. Sean Avery dumped the puck from his own blue line into the right-wing corner, then Eric Belanger got to the puck on the boards and passed nicely to Jeff Cowan bearing down on the net. Cowan didn't have to do too much, putting it in past Cloutier stick side.
»» 5, LOS ANGELES, Jeff Cowan 3 (Eric Belanger, Sean Avery) 3:04
The Kings' public address announcer wasn't even done announcing the Cowan goal. Alexander Frolov passed from the left point into the slot, where Craig Conroy wristed it past Cloutier, who had slid to his left trying to stop the shot. Cloutier was pulled, and into the game came Alex Auld.
»» 6, LOS ANGELES, Craig Conroy 11 (Frolov, Tim Gleason) 3:20
With Aaron Miller in the box serving a hooking penalty, the Canucks were able to capitalize. Salo shot from the blue line and Todd Bertuzzi was in front, deflecting it through Garon.
»» 7, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Todd Bertuzzi 8 (Sami Salo, Markus Naslund) 7:30
Markus Naslund took the puck from the right-wing boards, weaved his way through two and maybe three defenders, got to the low slot, deked, and put it past Garon, who had sprawled in the wrong direction. He was deked, after all.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Naslund 11 (Nolan Baumgartner, Mattias Ohlund) 11:18
Bertuzzi got Naslund with a nice pass from the left-wing boards. Naslund took the pass and wristed it from the low slot through the glove side on Garon.
»» 9, VANCOUVER, Naslund 12 (Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison) 17:13
But they couldn't come all the way back. Shots were 14 apiece in the third period, and the Canucks were outshot 38-36 total. The Canucks finished 1-for-5 on the power play but surrendered a 3-for-7 night to the Kings. Cloutier stopped 27 of 32 shots, and Auld filled in and stopped all 11 shots he faced.

Three stars -- (1) Los Angeles' Alexander Frolov, (2) Los Angeles' Lubomir Visnovsky, (3) Naslund

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 2-1-3
Bertuzzi 1-1-2
D Sedin 1-0-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Carter 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
Ohlund 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

Basically, you should play 60 minutes of good hockey. Thirty or forty might do it against teams like the Blackhawks or the Blue Jackets, but not what is now an offensive semi-juggernaut in the form of the Los Angeles Kings.

As I said earlier, Craig Conroy had his way in the faceoff circle for the Kings. The Canucks were 27-for-67 (40%) on faceoffs for the night. Brendan Morrison was 8-for-18, Trevor Linden was 6-for-15, Ryan Kesler was 4-for-8, and Henrik Sedin was 6-for-16.

Markus Naslund led the team with six shots. Daniel Sedin had five shots. Bryan Allen led the team in hits with five. Plus skaters (all plus-1) included Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Daniel Sedin, Wade Brookbank, Henrik Sedin, Todd Bertuzzi, Ed Jovanovski, and Anson Carter. Minus skaters (all minus-1) were Lee Goren, Josh Green, and Jarkko Ruutu. All others were even.

The Canucks are 12-6-2, good for 26 points in the standings, but they remain deadlocked with the incredibly hot Calgary Flames for first place in the Northwest Division, though with a game in hand. Vancouver is now only one point ahead of third-place Edmonton. I'd have to say that what everyone's saying about the Northwest Division being the toughest in hockey would have to be true.

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