Tuesday, November 22, 2005
[posted in full Fri ~7:19p]
The Canucks came back from the 2-of-3 road trip to nab a home win against the Blackhawks. Of course, that's what should have happened anyway. They took care of business.
Alex Auld was in net for the Canucks. Dan Cloutier had sprained his knee in the Anaheim game. Josh Green was demoted to Manitoba and Nathan Smith was called up for some fourth-line duty. This game also flowed much more smoothly than the game in Anaheim two nights before.
In the final minute of the period, Kyle Calder came out from the end boards and skated to the left hash, where he flung a pass to Mark Bell beside the right faceoff dot. Bell beat Alex Auld high glove.
»» 1, CHICAGO, Mark Bell 8 (Kyle Calder, Rene Bourque) 19:04
»» BLACKHAWKS 1, CANUCKS 0
The Canucks were outshot 11-9 in the first period. They had the only power play of the period, and didn't manage to cash in.
Jassen Cullimore went to the box for a trip with about three minutes gone in the period. On the resulting power play, Brendan Morrison in front of the net dished off to Markus Naslund beside the left dot, who wristed the puck past Nikolai Khabibulin.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 13 (Brendan Morrison, Todd Bertuzzi) 4:09
»» BLACKHAWKS 1, CANUCKS 1
Jarkko Ruutu tipped the puck into the right-wing corner, where Ryan Kesler and Jaroslav Spacek battled for the puck. Kesler must have lost control of the puck, which went off the back side of the net and leaked out in front of the goal line, where Kesler jabbed it in past Khabibulin, who looked crossed up, thinking the puck was going to come out from the other side of the net. Either way, it put the Canucks up 2-1.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 3 (Richard Park, Jarkko Ruutu) 5:17
With 6:17 left in the period, Vancouver's top line was on the ice and Naslund lost the puck as he crossed the blue line. Play quickly went the other way as Spacek passed across the ice to Matthew Barnaby, who had a clear path to the net after Nolan Baumgartner fell down trying to defend him on the rush. Barnaby skated in on the net and Auld made one mother of a right pad save.
»» CANUCKS 2, BLACKHAWKS 1
Vancouver again was outshot in the period, this time by a 14-7 margin (25-16 total). Chicago went scoreless on their only power play, whereas the Canucks were 1-for-3 (1-for-4 total).
The Canucks looked to add to the lead. Daniel Sedin and Anson Carter battled with some Blackhawks along the end boards for the puck, and Carter came out with it on the other side of the net. Instead of a wraparound attempt, he passed to Henrik Sedin on the back door. Henrik beat Khabibulin easily since the latter had overcommitted to Carter on a wraparound shot that never happened, leaving a yawning cage.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 6 (Anson Carter, Daniel Sedin) 16:56
»» CANUCKS 3, BLACKHAWKS 1
Chicago again outshot the Canucks 8-6 in the period, and ended with a 33-22 advantage on shots. Amazingly, no penalties were called in the third period. Vancouver ended 1-for-4 on the power play while Chicago was scoreless on their only power play. Auld stopped 32 of 33 shots.
Three stars -- (1) Kesler, (2) Chicago's Mark Bell, (3) Auld
H Sedin 1-0-1
D Sedin 0-1-1
There were definitely less penalties in this game than in the joke of a game in Anaheim on Tuesday night. Only five penalties were called in this game, much less than 33. Oddly, this game was only 14 minutes faster than the Anaheim game in terms of elapsed time. However, I venture to say this game was 14 billion times easier to watch.
Vancouver was 23-for-54 (43%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 8-for-16, Trevor Linden was 0-for-3, Ryan Kesler was 6-for-13, Nathan Smith was 3-for-9, Henrik Sedin was 6-for-11, and Todd Bertuzzi was 0-for-2.
The big-liners were on the minus side of the ledger in this game. Minus skaters (all minus-1) included Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ed Jovanovski. Plus-1 skaters were Sami Salo, Richard Park, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jarkko Ruutu, and Anson Carter. Mattias Ohlund was the only plus-2. All other skaters were even.
The Canucks are now 14-6-2, good for 30 points in the standings and a two-point Northwest Division lead with a game in hand over the Calgary Flames. They have a five-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche, who have played one less game.