Friday, December 23, 2005


Flames 6, Canucks 5 (SO)
Reuters photo -- Andy Clark

[posted in full Sun ~8:20a]

Would the Canucks manage to get a win on the fourth try of a six-game homestand? Would the Canucks manage to improve on their abysmal 5-8-3 record against Northwest Division opponents? Would the Canucks get their first win of the year against a team from Alberta?

1st period
Some successful penalty killing, but no goals in the first period. In the final minutes of the period, Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf had a point shot deflected and it rung off the crossbar. Calgary outshot the Canucks 10-9 in the period. The Flames were 0-for-2 on the power play, and Vancouver was 0-for-3.

2nd period
In his own end, Bryan Allen tried to make a cross-ice pass through traffic that was picked off by Matthew Lombardi. The play happened quickly as Lombardi passed to Tony Amonte, who backhanded a pass from the left hash to Chuck Kobasew left of the slot. Kobasew finished off the play, beating Alex Auld stick side.
»» 1, CALGARY, Chuck Kobasew 11 (Tony Amonte, Matthew Lombardi) 4:47
Todd Bertuzzi from the right of the net on the goal line fonud Brendan Morrison in the low slot on the left side, and his shot was fended off by a nice Miikka Kiprusoff save. There was a rebound, however, and Jarkko Ruutu was camped out in front of the net to jab it through.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Jarkko Ruutu 5 (Brendan Morrison, Todd Bertuzzi) 5:44
Brendan Morrison carried the puck from the end boards in the Vancouver zone out to the Canuck blue line with Chris Simon skating behind him. Simon stripped him of the puck, skated in on Auld, and beat him top shelf to the stick side. This was a very quick and disheartening play.
»» 3, CALGARY, Chris Simon 3 (unassisted) 16:29
Fifteen seconds later, Jason Wiemer and Ed Jovanovski were engaged in fisticuffs. Later, Naslund fired a wrister from the left faceoff dot past Kiprusoff on the stick side.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 19 (Morrison, Sami Salo) 18:48
Vancouver outshot Calgary 14-8 in the period (23-18 overall) and were 2-for-5 on the power play (2-for-7 overall). Calgary was 0-for-1 on the power play (0-for-3).

3rd period
On somewhat of a rush, Henrik Sedin on the right side centered to Daniel Sedin coming down the slot. Daniel's deflection was stopped by Kiprusoff, but Anson Carter followed it up from the left side, roofing the puck over Kiprusoff's pad stack to give Vancouver its first lead of the night.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Anson Carter 12 (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin) 1:25
Only 70 seconds later, Auld came halfway up the slot to clear a loose puck in the zone, but that attempt hit Steven Reinprecht, who corraled the puck and put it in past Mattias Ohlund, who rushed back trying to block the shot.
»» 6, CALGARY, Steven Reinprecht 6 (unassisted) 2:35
Only 49 seconds later, a Jordan Leopold shot from the left point was deflected through by...Reinprecht, who went unimpeded to the front of the net and redirected the puck over Auld's right shoulder.
»» 7, CALGARY, powerplay, Reinprecht 7 (Jordan Leopold) 3:24
After a sharp-angle Bertuzzi shot was stopped, the puck found its way to Bryan Allen, who blasted a slapshot from the left point that beat Kiprusoff top corner, stick side.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Bryan Allen 3 (Morrison, Bertuzzi) 7:36
As it has been going, while the goal was being announced in the arena by John Ashbridge, a Reinprecht centering pass from the left wing was punched through inside the far post by Jarome Iginla beside the net. The puck went inside the cage and bounced out quickly, leaving a small sliver of doubt as to whether it went in, but it did. So, the Canucks tied the game, and Calgary jumped ahead only 29 seconds later. Said Canuck radio color man Tom Larscheid, "this is sickening." Well said, Tom. Well said.
»» 9, CALGARY, Jarome Iginla 15 (Reinprecht) 8:05
A great hard-working shift for Vancouver's top line. Off a faceoff at the top of the left circle in the Calgary zone, the puck found its way to Calgary's Robyn Regehr along the end boards. Bertuzzi wrestled the puck away from him and centered to Naslund mid-slot, who had a shot kicked by the left pad of Kiprusoff. The puck went to Jovanovski by the blueline, who had a shot blocked. The puck then came out to Naslund near the left dot, who fired over the net. Allen on the right-wing boards shoveled the puck toward the end boards, where Morrison dug the puck out of the left-wing corner to Bertuzzi behind the net, who fended off Marcus Nilson and came out in front, centering to Naslund in the low slot, who quickly pushed the puck top corner over Kiprusoff's right shoulder.
»» 10, VANCOUVER, Naslund 20 (Bertuzzi, Morrison) 17:49
Kiprusoff made a couple of great stops in the final minutes, including a Henrik Sedin shot from the left hash off a steal behind the net from Daniel Sedin. Calgary outshot the Canucks 16-12 in the period (Vancouver 35-34 overall). The Flames were 1-for-3 on the power play in the period (1-for-6 overall). Vancouver was 1-for-1 in the period on the power play (3-for-9).

none; Calgary outshot Vancouver 3-2 in the overtime period (37-37 overall). Vancouver failed to capitalize on a power play chance resulting from a Kristian Huselius holding minor with 3:11 left. Auld stopped 32 shots.

Reinprecht - YES (roof after deke to backhand, great goal, no chance for Auld)
Naslund - NO (backhand to forehand, stopped, 0-for-4 on shootouts this year)
Iginla - NO (Auld to knees, shuts door)
Bertuzzi - NO (pulled to forehand, shot wide, 1-for-4 on shootouts this year)
Amonte - YES (backhand to forehand, Auld to wrong side)

Three stars -- (1) Calgary's Steve Reinprecht, (2) Bertuzzi, (3) Naslund

skater, goals-assists-points
Morrison 0-4-4
Bertuzzi 0-3-3
Naslund 2-0-2
Allen 1-0-1
Carter 1-0-1
Ruutu 1-0-1
Salo 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

Again, it's disturbing. Another loss to a division foe. Zero wins in seven tries against Edmonton and Calgary. They only blew one lead this time, and it was a one-goal lead and not a two-goal lead, but it was still in the third period, however early. They were outshot once again in the third period. They took three minors in the third period. A couple of giveaways led directly to Calgary goals. Perhaps the best moment of the game was the shift that led to Naslund's tying 5-5 goal with 2:11 left. In overtime, though, the Canucks blew a power play and proceeded to lose in the shootout. The other disturbing thing, though, is how quickly the opposing teams are scoring after the Canucks get a key late goal. For example, the Flames scored twice within two minutes of the goal that put Vancouver up 3-2 in the third period. The Canuck goal that made it 4-4 was answered only 29 seconds later. Luckily Calgary didn't respond quickly to the last Naslund goal, or else Vancouver would be left without a point after this game.

The Canucks were 35-for-73 (48%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 8-for-15, Rick Rypien was 1-for-5, Trevor Linden was 2-for-6, Ryan Kesler was 7-for-13, Henrik Sedin was 8-for-16, and Todd Bertuzzi was 6-for-12.

The only plus-skating Canucks were Bryan Allen (plus-1) and Ed Jovanovski (plus-2). Minus-1 skaters included Morrison, Linden, Kevin Bieksa, Steve McCarthy, Jarkko Ruutu, and Bertuzzi. Minus-2 skaters included Sami Salo and Matt Cooke. Mattias Ohlund was a minus-3. All other Canuck skaters were even. Morrison led the team with five shots, and Ohlund and Naslund followed with four shots apiece. Cooke delivered four hits, and Kesler delivered three.

The Vancouver Canucks are now 20-10-5 (1-3 in shootouts, two overtime losses), good for 45 points and a bump down to second place in the Northwest Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oilers with a game in hand. They are one point ahead of the third-place Flames with a rematch coming on Monday.

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