Saturday, October 22, 2005


Canucks 6, Avalanche 4
Reuters photo -- Andy Clark

[posted in full Mon ~3:52p]

Subplots here were pretty obvious. This was the first time since March 8th of 2004 that these two teams got together to play. March 8th of that year was one of the darkest days in sports history. In case there was anything left over from that day (though there was a ton of roster turnover since), Colin Campbell was in attendance. Campbell and commissioner Gary Bettman will be in attendance when the Canucks play in Denver Thursday and Saturday.

As for matchups against the Avalanche, the Canucks had won only six of 25 home games against Colorado. To help the home team out, though, another 18630 fans packed GM Place, giving the Canucks their 91st straight home sellout. Would they need it against a team that just got Milan Hejduk back off the shelf? I'll tip you off. They would. Alex Tanguay, Joe Sakic, and Hejduk played like Hejduk never was injured. Hejduk was also looking for his 200th career goal.

The other weird subplot? Brad May now plays for the Avalanche. He got booed often by the GM Place crowd, something which I think both can and can't be explained.

1st period
Matt Cooke set an early tone for the Canucks, landing hard hits on Joe Sakic and Alex Tanguay. After a Mattias Ohlund backhand shot was stopped by Colorado goalie Peter Budaj, Lee Goren was called for interference to put the Canucks down a man. Dan Cloutier had to make key saves on Milan Hejduk, Joe Sakic (twice), and Patrice Brisebois on the resulting power play. Just after the penalty expired, Richard Park had a backhander stopped after he ran a give-and-go with Ohlund. Brad May had a shto blocked, and Cloutier stopped the rebound. Ryan Kesler had a sharp-angle shot, but Budaj closed up the short side and stopped it. Then Ohlund went for charging. Just after the Ohlund penalty expired, Goren went back again, this time for tripping. Cloutier then flashed some brilliance, stopping a John-Michael Liles one-timer, then leaving rebounds but robbing Sakic twice. Cloutier covered a Rob Blake one-timer with his chest. The penalty expired, and the Canucks had a 3-on-1 rush, but Goren hurried a bit too quickly coming in from the box. May tripped Nolan Baumgartner, putting Vancouver on the power play. The Avalanche had a 2-on-1 shorthanded run stuffed when Baumgartner lifted Ian Laperriere's stick. Jovanovski fed Bryan Allen on the left side, where the latter fired a wrister off Budaj's stick, through his legs, and into the net.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Bryan Allen 1 (Ed Jovanovski, Trevor Linden) 16:36
Markus Naslund was pulled down shortly after, and Wojtek Wolski went to the box for hooking. A bad pass almost resulted in a scoring chance for Laperriere, but the Canucks were quick to regroup. Naslund fed Todd Bertuzzi, who was stopped in front, but Jovanovski lofted the rebound over Budaj to double the Vancouver lead.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Jovanovski 2 (Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 18:43
May took down Ohlund quite far from his own net, and he was called for it. There was some scuffling at the end of the period, and it went far enough to where Blake was penalized at the last horn of the period. Vancouver would begin the second period on a two-man advantage. Colorado had the play going their way for most of the period, but they just couldn't score. They outshot Vancouver 13-9.

2nd period
The Canucks had a puck roll to the goal line, but Budaj was able to kick it out, and the Canucks didn't score on the two-man advantage. Vancouver had trouble clearing the puck at times. A bad pass by Bertuzzi was the precursor to a bad play. Ohlund took the puck behind his own net, but he had his pocket picked, and Antti Laaksonen moved in front of the net with a quick backhand and beat Cloutier to cut the Vancouver lead in half.
»» 3, COLORADO, Antti Laaksonen 3 (Andrew Brunette) 5:13
Linden centered to Jarkko Ruutu, who was stopped nicely by Budaj's left arm. Henrik Sedin was stopped in close on a backhand attempt. Sakic was about to put a backhander on the net, but Kesler poked it away at the last second. Brett Clark passed in front of his own net to Park, who had a shot blocked by Liles. Baumgartner worked a give-and-go with Naslund but was stopped. Again, the Canucks had some trouble clearing as Hejduk had a quick shot stopped by Cloutier's left pad, then Karlis Skrastins had a long shot blocked before the puck was finally cleared. Sami Salo gave the puck away to Marek Svatos, who had a shot stopped and covered. Hejduk had his stick lifted by Morrison. Liles was nailed by Bertuzzi, who later bowled his way to the net but failed to get a shot away. Park was hit from behind, and Ossi Vaananen went to the box for boarding. Henrik Sedin slap-passed to Daniel Sedin, who tipped it in over Budaj's shoulder. Nice puck movement got the Canucks a 3-1 lead.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Daniel Sedin 3 (Henrik Sedin, Anson Carter) 16:40
Right after, Bertuzzi had a shot stopped, and Morrison was foiled on the rebound as well. Bertuzzi went to the box for tripping, though fans thought there instead was a dive on the play. The Colorado power play didn't last too long since Jovanvoski was taken down by Liles. Tanguay was pokechecked in close by Jovanovski. Naslund went to the net and was pad-stopped. Vancouver had a flurry of chances before the horn ended the period. The pace of the game was quick, and Colorado outshot the Canucks 11-10 in the period and 24-19 overall.

3rd period
Then it got crazy, though not right away. At first, it looked like the Canucks had total control of the game. Brett McLean ran into Cloutier, and that gave Vancouver an early power play. Salo shot a wrister wide, Daniel Sedin one-timed a shot to the glove side that barely missed, then Carter didn't quite deflect a puck on the goal from Daniel. After the penalty had expired, Naslund centered to Bertuzzi, who was quite robbed, but the rebound was right there for Morrison, who went high to beat the sprawling Budaj and give the Canucks what seemed to be a somewhat safe 4-1 lead.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Morrison 2 (Todd Bertuzzi, Naslund) 5:54
Salo went to the box for hooking right after the goal. Cloutier robbed Hejduk, who was still looking for number 200. Kesler and Matt Cooke got on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, and Kesler was pokechecked by Brisebois, though the crowd wanted a tripping call. Daniel Sedin put a move on Clark, who put a leg out to trip the Swede, and to the box went Clark. After the penalty had expired, Henrik Sedin centered for brother Daniel, who quickly put it past the stick side on Budaj to give the Canucks what seemed like a commanding 5-1 lead with just over 14 minutes left to play.
»» 6, VANCOUVER, D Sedin 4 (H Sedin, Nolan Baumgartner) 13:00
Wolski went to the box soon after for hooking, so surely this helped Vancouver. Goren put a helmet-detaching hit on Vaananen. Cooke centered to Park, who barely missed a tip-in. The CKNW crew of John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid called this next play an All-Star Game-type goal because Brad May went end to end -- nearly untouched -- and got behind a bit of a screen, backhanding past a sprawling Cloutier.
»» 7, COLORADO, Brad May 1 (unassisted) 17:01
Before anyone settled down from that goal, Hejduk centered to Brisebois, who beat Cloutier high glove.
»» 8, COLORADO, Patrice Brisebois 4 (Milan Hejduk, Joe Sakic) 17:18
It wasn't a good time for Salo to visit the penalty box for holding, but he did nonetheless, though he'd fallen down on the play. With Colorado pulling Budaj and going 6-on-4, Blake one-timed a shot off of Cloutier's left pad, but Tanguay was right there for the rebound, smacking it past Cloutier. Yes, that's right. It had gone from a convincing Vancouver win to a one-goal game in a span of just 99 seconds.
»» 9, COLORADO, powerplay, Alex Tanguay 1 (Rob Blake, Sakic) 18:40
Ohlund intercepted a Tanguay centering pass and flipped it out to center. Park put another puck out to center. Cooke shot wide on the empty net, but Linden won a battle along the boards and flipped one into the empty net from the red line, finally putting the game away for good.
»» 10, VANCOUVER, empty net, Linden 1 (Morrison) 19:52
Colorado took a 32-22 edge on shots, and Dan Cloutier stopped 29 for Vancouver.

Three stars -- (1) Jovanovski, (2) D Sedin, (3) Colorado's Alex Tanguay

skater, goals-assists-points
Morrison 1-2-3
D Sedin 2-0-2
Jovanovski 1-1-2
Linden 1-1-2
Naslund 0-2-2
H Sedin 0-2-2
Allen 1-0-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1
Carter 0-1-1

With this win, the Canucks closed out a perfect four-game homestand, winning their fifth straight overall. The game looked better after 57 minutes of play than it did after the full 60, but a perfect homestand is a perfect homestand. A win against your main division rival is still a win against your main division rival.

With their 2-for-9 mark in this game, the Canucks have 11 power play goals in their last 5 games. The Canucks killed off all eight power plays in the previous game against Phoenix and killed off the first five penalties in this game until Alex Tanguay scored. I heard someone once say that your special teams are where they need to be if the power play percentage and the penalty-killing percentage add up to 100 or more. Vancouver is currently killing at a 77 percent rate and making good on 18.9% of their power plays. That adds up to just short of 96. They need some work on the kill, but that's been improving as of late after an iffy start.

Trevor Linden scored his first point of the year on the first goal of the game, and his first goal came on the empty net, his 350th career goal. The first Vancouver goal also gave Ed Jovanovski a four-game point streak; his goal (second Vancouver goal of the game) was that he has eight points in that stretch. The third Canuck goal gave Henrik Sedin a four-game point streak. Here's the Shorthouse stat: when both Henrik and Daniel Sedin end up on the scoresheet, the Canucks have a record of 62-13-7-3, including 4-0 this season.

Perhaps still used to the old NHL, Vancouver coach Marc Crawford put fourth-liners into the game on the power play in the third period with the big lead, and Colorado stormed back. Tom Larscheid noted this after the game, basically saying that an old coach told him "you can't give a sucker an even break." In the final minute of the game against Chicago, Markus Naslund scored the sixth goal in the final minute of what ended up a 6-2 Vancouver win. Shorthouse and Larscheid brought up the point that in past years, teams might have made a run at Naslund if he was on the ice that late in a game where Vancouver had a big lead. Though that still was pretty late to have Naslund on the ice, I figure the Sedins and Anson Carter had to see some time between the goals, and they didn't see much.

Here's the superstats bonanza. The Canucks were 29-for-60 in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 10-for-24, Trevor Linden was 2-for-7, Ryan Kesler was 8-for-15, and Henrik Sedin was 8-for-11. Brendan Morrison was a plus-3 to go with his three points. Plus-one skaters included Mattias Ohlund, Nolan Baumgartner, Sami Salo, Trevor Linden, and Jarkko Ruutu. The minus skaters, at minus-one, were Lee Goren, Henrik Sedin, and Ed Jovanovski. All other skaters were even. Matt Cooke delivered six hits. Linden and Ruutu recorded two takeaways apiece.

The Canucks, winners of five straight, are now 7-1-1 on the season, good for 15 points in the standings. They hold a four-point Northwest Division lead over the Minnesota Wild and hold a eight-point lead over Colorado, who the Canucks will play in Denver next Thursday and Saturday. The Canucks will travel to face Minnesota on Tuesday. On the flipside, ten of Colorado's next twenty games are against either Edmonton or Vancouver. Colorado is in a three-way tie for third (and last) place after this game.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005


Canucks 3, Coyotes 2
AP photo -- Chuck Stoody

[posted in full Sat ~3:24p; 50/50 raffle anecdote posted ~4:44p]

Team Gretzky came to the Garage for a rematch of the Opening Night game on the 5th. In this game, Curtis Joseph was nearly able to pull out the win if not for a couple of bounces that went the Canucks' way. Also a more unfortunate thing about this game was the rash of penalties. There were lots of games in the preseason where there'd be a billion penalties and the whole game would be spent in special teams situations, but it leaked into the regular season here. Another bad thing: the Canucks came into the game with the NHL's 29th-ranked penalty kill. That's not good. However, this was mitigated by the fact that they don't land themselves in the penalty box as often as their opponents.

1st period
The first period saw Curtis Joseph doing a yeoman's job in the net, and Vancouver only got one goal as a result. Early on, Shane Doan took a long pass and put the puck off of Dan Cloutier's shoulder. Matt Cooke was called for a hook just 76 seconds into the game for putting his stick on a player's hip. Ryan Kesler missed on a shorthanded break because he was hooked from behind, and that took Phoenix off the power play. Mattias Ohlund took a pass from Todd Bertuzzi and couldn't quite one-time it, but the shot he did put on the net was robbed by Joseph on the goal line. Right after the play, Ohlund was called for interference. Henrik Sedin had a couple of close shots on the net which were rebuked by Joseph. Boyd Devereaux was called for high-sticking Bryan Allen, who clutched his face afterward in pain. Sami Salo let a one-timer fly, but Joseph made a blocker save. The Canucks moved the puck nicely along the outside before Brendan Morrison and Ed Jovanovski went to the net, and Markus Naslund centered to Jovanovski, who tipped it into the net to make good on the power play.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Ed Jovanovski 1 (Markus Naslund, Sami Salo) 7:54
Phoenix had a sloppy line change soon after, having too many men on the ice, but it wasn't called. Brendan Morrison and Bertuzzi on a rebound had their shots stopped by Joseph. Bertuzzi and Baumgartner were stopped on rush as well. Jarkko Ruutu pulverized Fredrik Sjostrom with a hit. Cloutier successfully challenged former Canuck Geoff Sanderson on a shot. Ruutu was cross-checked in the back of the head, which wasn't called. After his quick shot was stopped by Joseph, Anson Carter won a scrap with Keith Ballard. Salo had a one-timer gloved by Joseph. Richard Park was held by Zbynek Michalek, and Devereaux cleared the poke over the glass from his own end, setting up a Vancouver two-man advantage for 76 seconds. Salo had a one-timer stopped by Joseph's shoulder. Another Salo one-timer was stopped, and the first penalty ended. Ohlund from the slot (stopped) was the final Vancouver shot of the period. Before the end of the period, Devereaux went to the box again, this time for a hook. Then Vancouver got called for too many men. Doan was knocked down in the neutral zone, putting Vancouver down two men again for 51 seconds. Yes, the game wasn't sloppy at all. Vancouver peppered pucks on Curtis Joseph and led 19-11 on shots after the first period.

2nd period
Park had a wrister go off the heel of Joseph's glove. The Vancouver penalties from the end of the first period expired. Instead of kicking the puck down the ice to clear, Bertuzzi was called for tying up Michalek. Almost immediately after the Bertuzzi penalty, Phoenix was called for too many men. Ballard had an unimpeded path to the net on Dan Cloutier's blocker side, and Ballard put one in over the goalie's right shoulder.
»» 2, PHOENIX, Keith Ballard 2 (Ladislav Nagy, Petr Nedved) 2:41
Derek Morris put a shot on the net, and Mike Ricci knocked Cloutier, though Cloutier may not exaclty have been trying to avoid the contact. Ricci wasn't called for a penalty. Trevor Linden twice took passes from Lee Goren and had decent chances on the net. Michalek hooked Linden, who was hurt and went to the dressing room, but came back before the end of the period. On the ensuing power play, Bertuzzi rifled a one-timer on which Joseph made a huge glove save. Morrison passed to Naslund for a quick shot that went off of Joseph's pad. Carter had a shot leak through the crease and out the other side. Nolan Baumgartner rifled a slapshot from the back of the left circle to beat Joseph, who may not have seen the puck, up high.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay Nolan Baumgartner 1 (Henrik Sedin) 11:51
Park centered to Morrison, who was pad-stopped by Joseph. Ladislav Nagy's high stick clipped Steve McCarthy, and Canuck trainers had to attend to the latter. No penalty was called on the play. Mike Comrie and Geoff Sanderson worked a great give-and-go rush, with Comrie's pass moving Cloutier from his left to his right, and Sanderson put it in on Cloutier's short side, which hadn't closed up quickly enough.
»» 4, PHOENIX, Geoff Sanderson 1 (Mike Comrie, Zbynek Michalek) 13:02
Ballard hooked immediately after the goal, putting the Canucks on the power play, which was killed. Cooke had the puck roll off his stick on a breakaway. Allen had a wrister stopped by Joseph's blocker. Park was hauled to the ice, but no penalty was called. What was called as a trip on Morris for bringing down Goren. Ed Jovanovski was pulled down at the line by Petr Nedved and clutched his left leg, though he stayed in the game, and Vancouver was set for 1:39 of two-man advantage time. Bertuzzi had a high slapshot stopped, and Naslund couldn't put back the rebound. Bertuzzi then took an interference penalty to pull Vancouver off the two-man advantage. Three seconds after the Morris penalty expired, Ballard was called for a hook inside the final minute of the period, putting Vancouver back onto the power play. Vancouver outshot the Coyotes 11-7 in the period and led 30-18 overall.

3rd period
Naslund passed back despite having a clear path to the net. Morrison centered to Bertuzzi, who tipped it to the net but Joseph made a nice save. Vancouver got away with having too many men on the ice at one point. Ohlund drove in on Joseph and was stopped. Cloutier held tough for a couple of decent Phoenix shots. Allen went to the box for interference, ending a streak of five straight power plays in Vancouver's favor. Morris shot, but Cloutier went to his knees to make the stop. Salo took a high-stick from Nagy, who went to the box. Ed Jovanovski and Matt Cooke got on a 2-on-0 rush; Jovanovski had Oleg Saprykin trying to dive across the ice, put his stick out and somehow interfere with Jovanovski as he crashed the net and shot in. Jovanovski's shot was stopped, but the rebound went to Matt Cooke, who was bearing down and put the puck in the net as it came off. The goal was immediately waved off by referee Mick McGeough. Jovanovski had a guy trying to trip or bump him with a stick, had his shot stopped, then Cooke put the rebound in and subsequently knocked into the net, which was now moved behind the goal line and off to Joseph's glove side. It was given back to Cooke after video review from upstairs and from Toronto (more on that later).
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Matt Cooke 2 (Jovanovski) 4:21
Naslund was stopped in close by Joseph. Sjostrom was stopped with a left pad by Cloutier, who also gloved a wrist shot right afer that. Ohlund was called for pulling down Nedved, who was going for his own rebound. Park ran a couple plays the other way shorthanded, nearly breaking away once, then putting a shot on the let that was stopped by Joseph's left pad. Paul Mara was hauled down by Ryan Kesler, putting Phoenix on a two-man advantage for 76 seconds. Allen blocked a shot with his skate. Morris shot a one-timer that was blocked by Linden, but wasn't cleared. After the first penalty, Morrison was knocked to the ice on a shorthanded chance and lost the puck, but there was no call, though the second penalty was about to expire. After stopping a Mike Johnson shot, Cloutier lost his stick and played with Salo's stick for a short time before Salo waited for play to die down a bit before going to fetch Cloutier's stick. Both Daniel Sedin and Sanderson went off for diving and hooking, respectively, with just under three minutes left in the period. Ohlund held a shot back, then deked before putting up a shot that bounced up and hit the crossbar. Oleg Saprykin deked but got in too deep to make a shot. Allen was whistled for a hold with 1:27 left, which put the Canucks in a sticky situation and the Coyotes onto a power play. Nedved had a one-timer stopped, but it wasn't cleared. Morris shot a one-timer that was also held in the Vancouver zone, and at this point it was a 6-on-4 as Joseph was pulled from the net on the other end. Doan had a one-timer hit the bottom of the crossbar and never cross the goal line, though the puck again wasn't cleared past the zone. Morris put up an off-target shot that again was held in the zone. Finally, Ohlund battled two Coyotes for the puck and cleared it, sealing the game, and since Vancouver was shorthanded, there would be no icing as the clock ran down. Vancouver outshot Phoenix 8-6 in the final period and the total was 38-24 for the game. Cloutier stopped 22 shots.

Three stars -- (1) Jovanovski, (2) Phoenix's Curtis Joseph, (3) Baumgartner

skater, goals-assists-points
Jovanovski 1-1-2
Baumgartner 1-0-1
Cooke 1-0-1
Naslund 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

There were a combined 26 penalties, 18 power plays and 58 penalty minutes in this staccato-paced game. The teams spent a combined 25:24 on the power play. Someday the players will get used to all these rules. Or someday the refs will lay back just a bit without totally backing down on the enforcement of the new rules. I think the former will be more likely. By the way, Vancouver was 2-for-10 on the power play and they held Phoenix to an 0-for-8 night on the man-advantage.

That winning goal was a video-judge goal that went upstairs and to Toronto for review. The rule in the rule book that applied to the situation was Rule 57a, which was read during the Canuck radio broadcast. Basically, it says that the goal frame has to have either or both pegs out of their holes or the net has to come completely off for a goal to be disallowed. The way I interpret this is that no defenseman or goalie can kick the net off its moorings when it looks like a puck might find itself into the net; such a play could have resulted in a disallowed goal in the past. The radio crew thought the initial disallowance of the goal was correct until they read Rule 57a, and apparently with the aid of multi-angle replay (all I have is the goal reel from NHL.com), the puck went in with the net having come up an inch or an inch and a half, but not completely off the peg, which was rumored to be 3-4 inches tall. It's surprising for me to see a disallowed goal later allowed on replay (usually it's the other way around), but it counted, and Vancouver ran with it. Of course, Ohlund and Doan had chances earlier in the period that were very close to being goals as well.

Other than the ruckus over the winning goal, the Canucks got more scoring from their defensemen, totaling four points in this game. Things like blueline scoring and a goal that bounces your way are the kinds of things a team needs to beat a spectacular Curtis Joseph, who came in with a 1.80 goals-against average and was on fire in the first period. Joseph was the default starter after Brian Boucher went on the shelf, but I think that was an eventuality. Cujo's still got something left.

Here's the superstats bonanza. Matt Cooke and Ed Jovanovski were the only plus skaters (plus-1) for the Canucks. Mattias Ohlund was the lone minus-2 Canuck. Nolan Baumgartner, Trevor Linden, Daniel Sedin, Lee Goren, and Jarkko Ruutu were all minus-one. All other skaters were even. Vancouver was 30-for-62 (48%) on faceoffs. Brendan Morrison was 9-for-22, Trevor Linden was 4-for-9, Ryan Kesler was 3-for-7, and Henrik Sedin was 10-for-17. Bryan Allen, Sami Salo, and Matt Cooke doled out three hits apiece. Salo led the team with six shots. Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi had four shots apiece.

In the third period, Canuck radio play-by-play man John Shorthouse won the 50/50 draw at GM Place. Apparently, color man Tom Larscheid and Shorthouse have been playing the 50/50 draw for seven years at Canuck home games, and they finally won. Larscheid said that Shorthouse usually sits there with the ticket as the numbers are read off saying "yes..." with every progressive number until it ends up being the wrong ticket. This time, it was "yes...yes...yes...yes...yes...Tommy, I think we've done it!!" Shorthouse later declared it "the greatest night of hockey ever in GM Place," which obviously wasn't the case given the horrible flow of the game.

The Canucks, winners of four straight, are now 6-1-1 on the season. They hold a four-point Northwest Division lead over the Minnesota Wild and hold a eight-point lead over last-place Colorado, who the Canucks host on Saturday. The Canucks' next five games are all against Colorado or Minnesota, two key division rivals.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Canucks 6, Blackhawks 2
AP/CP photo -- Richard Lam

[posted in full Wed ~3:36p]

The Chicago Blackhawks came in with some injuries, not the least of which was Tuomo Ruutu, who was scratched with a bad back, but there would be no Ruutu/Ruutu (Jarkko) confusion on this night. Inter-Ruutu confusion was the least of Chicago's problems, as they were among the league leaders in allowing 5-on-3 power plays. To add to this, they came in as the fifth-most penalized team in the league. To make matters even worse, their power play was 1-for-20 on the road for the season.

In short, the Canucks' best course of action was to take care of business. The Blackhawks were 2-4-0 coming into the game for a reason, and I listed a couple of them above.

1st period
Though it was a scoreless period, it featured many chances back and forth. Though it was a little harrowing that the Blackhawks were hanging around, the period was pretty even and it made for some fairly entertaining hockey. Matt Ellison put a puck through the crease and off a skate not long after the opening faceoff, and was hit near center by Bryan Allen not too long after the shot. True to form, Chicago took a penalty as Pavel Vorobiev went to the box for a hook just 61 seconds into the game. However, Vancouver went scoreless on the ensuing power play. Dan Cloutier got action, coming up with big saves on Tyler Arnason in close and Kyle Calder. Brendan Morrison had a slapshot stopped by Nikolai Khabibulin's pad, but beat Khabibulin on another try, but the puck hit the post. Markus Naslund went off the base of the post in the same shift, marking some good activity for the big line. Naslund and Bertuzzi had consecutive 2-on-1 chances, but couldn't bury the puck. Curtis Brown had open ice in the slot and hit the post, but Cloutier made a stop on the rebound, closing up the short side. Rene Bourque was called for interference, and Jim Vandermeer went to the box for holding a stick, giving the Canucks 38 seconds of two-man advantage time with which they were unable to convert. Naslund went to the box for holding to nullify part of the power play. Cloutier made a nice glove save on Adrian Aucoin. Chicago held a 9-7 first-period lead in shots. Vancouver was 0-for-3 on the power play, and Chicago was 0-for-1.

2nd period
Then the Blackhawks realized they were the Blackhawks. Henrik Sedin drop-passed to brother Daniel on a bit of a rush, and Daniel Sedin wristed the puck through a checker, off of Khabibulin's shoulder, and into the net.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Daniel Sedin 2 (Henrik Sedin, Sami Salo) 2:01
Mattias Ohlund got a big hit on Jim Vandermeer, and the latter challenged the former, though no fight happened. Bertuzzi broke in on the net and deked, but had the puck fall off his stick partially because Aucoin hooked him. Bertuzzi was stopped twice on the resulting power play, but the Canucks took advantage. Anson Carter feathered a pass over to Ohlund, who ripped a one-timer from the top of the left circle.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Mattias Ohlund 2 (Anson Carter, Nolan Baumgartner) 4:23
Mark Bell blocked an Ohlund shot and regretted it after the subsequent pain. Daniel Sedin stole the puck and passed to Carter, who was robbed by Khabibulin's glove. Ohlund was rocked by Martin Lapointe's shoulder on a forecheck. Bourque went to the box once again, and the hooking penalty put the Canucks on the power play once again. Once again, the Canucks made good on the man-advantage. With Ed Jovanovski screening, Sami Salo wired a long shot that hit a Blackhawk skater up high. Khabibulin lost sight of the puck after the deflection, and it went in over his shoulder.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Salo 3 (Brendan Morrison, Todd Bertuzzi) 6:03
Ryan Kesler lost a stick then tried to hold a player in front of the net, which was a penalty. Ohlund got a big hit on Calder, but he was called for a hook right after the hit. This was right after the Kesler penalty too, and it left Chicago with 1:49 of a two-man advantage. After Cloutier stopped a Jaroslav Spacek shot off the draw, he was knocked down by Lapointe, who was skated backward into him. No more two-man advantage. Trevor Linden had his stick lifted by Aucoin on a shorthanded rush. Vorobiev let fly on a slapshot and beat Cloutier high glove.
»» 4, CHICAGO, powerplay, Pavel Vorobiev 5 (Jaroslav Spacek, Adrian Aucoin) 9:30
Steve McCarthy was pulled down, but there was no call and no Vancouver power play. Bertuzzi and Lee Goren managed a couple of successive shots. Salo passed to Daniel Sedin, who went stick side and missed. Bertuzzi passed to Morrison in front, who passed to Ohlund in the high slot, who beat Khabibulin.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Ohlund 3 (Morrison, Bertuzzi) 12:54
Bourque missed short side on a 2-on-1. Kesler was called for goaltender interference. Cloutier came up with a toe save on Aucoin and a pad stack on Vorobiev. Before the second period was done, Matthew Barnaby tried to bat a puck out of the air and nailed Jovanovski hard in the face, opening a gash near his mouth. Jovanovski clutched his face and kicked his feet in agony on the ice as he bled profusely. He skated off and as hockey players do, he returned in the third period. Vancouver outshot Chicago 11-10 in the period, and Chicago led 19-18 on shots after 40 minutes.

3rd period
Linden took a nice early pass from Jarkko Ruutu and broke to the net, but was stopped by Khabibulin's stick. Since the target was firmly placed onto his back, Barnaby was shoved by Matt Cooke as he was heading off for a change. Cooke went to the box for roughing, and Chicago showed some life. Cloutier made a great save on Lapointe, but as has happened a couple times this season, there was a rebound. Lapointe came through on his own rebound. The radio crew thought Jovanovski and Allen might have overskated the rebound.
»» 6, CHICAGO, powerplay, Martin Lapointe 1 (Matt Ellison, Vorobiev) 3:23
The Canucks soon after brought a four-man rush to center, but Bertuzzi's pass to Morrison was knocked away. Henrik Sedin was hooked by Brent Seabrook, and the latter went to the box. Naslund was stripped of the puck by Calder, whose shorthanded shot was stopped. Naslund and Bertuzzi were stopped a couple of times, and the puck was nearly cleared, but Jovanovski held it in, faked a slapshot, and fed a nice pass to Morrison, who found the back of the net with a backhand.
»» 7, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Morrison 1 (Ed Jovanovski) 8:15
The Canucks got a bounce when the puck took an odd bounce with Cloutier out of the net, but Allen was able to block a backhand shot by Ellison. Vandermeer was plowed in front of the bench by Goren. With just under three minutes to play, Vandermeer pulled up a seat in the penalty box again, for interference. Daniel Sedin was stopped on a one-timer set up by Carter. Bertuzzi centered to Naslund, who beat Khabibulin high to the stick side.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 6 (Bertuzzi, Steve McCarthy) 19:30
Shots were seven apiece in the third period. Chicago outshot Vancouver 26-24 for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Ohlund, (2) Morrison, (3) Bertuzzi

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

Mattias Ohlund's second goal of the game put him all alone in third place on the Canucks' all-time goal-scoring list for defensemen. He now has 57, and he passed Rick Lanz at 56 goals. Ahead of Ohlund on the list are Doug Lidster with 65 and Jyrki Lumme with 83.

The final goal of the game included an assist to Steve McCarthy, who is a former Blackhawk. That assist was good for his first point of the season.

Vancouver scored three times in the first six minutes of the second period, giving them a huge cushion. From there, it was just about smooth sailing given the way Chicago was blazing a trail to the penalty box. In addition to being 4-0 when they score first, the Canucks have had more power plays in every game this season except for one, and that was the game in Detroit, which they won nonetheless. They have had 21 more powerplays than their opponents.

The big line got a good deal of ice time, all playing at or near twenty minutes. Todd Bertuzzi was a plus-3 with his three assists. Markus Naslund was a plus-2 with his assist. Brendan Morrison was a plus-2 with his goal and two assists for his best offensive output of the year. Elsewhere on the plus-minus column, plus-2 skaters included Mattias Ohlund, Nolan Baumgartner, and Steve McCarthy. The Sedins were both plus-1. All other skaters were even.

In the superstats bonanza, Steve McCarthy landed four hits, and Bertuzzi and Ohlund landed a trio of hits apiece. Naslund led the team with five shots. Daniel Sedin registered four shots. In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 48% of their draws. Morrison was 9-for-22, Ryan Kesler was 5-for-11, Henrik Sedin was 6-for-13, Bertuzzi was 2-for-4, and Trevor Linden was better than half with his 7-for-13 night.

The Canucks did what they were supposed to do, taking care of business against a less talented team that also takes a ton of penalties. What comes next? Why, a Thursday night date with Team Gretzky, of course. Then Saturday against Colorado. There's some anticipation for that one.

The Canucks are 5-1-1 (shootout loss in the third column), good for 11 points in the standings and a four-point Northwest Division lead over the Minnesota Wild and the Edmonton Oilers.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005


AP photo -- Ted S. Warren

[partial post Tue ~2:46p...more later tonight...or Wednesday]

-- took care of business
-- pass distribution quite good considering injuries
-- Shaun Alexander fed, and quite a lot
-- Mo Morris?
-- do you think you'll see a pair of Seahawks rush for over 100 yards in the same game again?
-- Alexander able to run right side a lot more than usual

-- pass defense a bit shoddy
-- third-down defense still shaky at times
-- yellow laundry party to start game
-- waited long enough to start sacking David Carr
-- Hasselbeck has a couple of iffy incomplete passes a game that don't get intercepted, and he'd gone a few games without a pick, but it caught up to him once in the game
-- the Texans are terrible...wow


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Canucks 5, Stars 2
Reuters photo -- Andy Clark

[posted in full Mon ~3:19p]

Would the Canucks come back from four-game road trip and be sluggish for the first game of the homestand? Would the Canucks succumb to Marty Turco's crazy-good record against Canadian teams?

1st period
It was a pretty good start. Anson Carter was called for a hook just 32 seconds into the game, though Stephane Robidas dove to sell it, which wasn't called. However, the Canucks would later be the beneficiary of two quick Dallas penalties -- one on Robidas for hooking to pull down Brendan Morrison, and one on Mike Modano for hooking Markus Naslund, who had just put a shot off Todd Bertuzzi's skate in the crease. On the two-man advantage, Henrik Sedin was stopped, but Daniel Sedin pounced on the rebound.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Daniel Sedin 1 (Henrik Sedin, Ed Jovanovski) 5:47
Before you knew it, Sami Salo was letting fly with a slapshot. Money.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Sami Salo 2 (unassisted) 6:16
Lee Goren knocked down Dallas goalie Marty Turco, except Turco completely sold it. Nonetheless, Goren went to the box. Vancouver killed the penalty, and as soon as Goren left the box, Philippe Boucher wanted a piece of him. Boucher paid the price, losing the fight and getting penalized for 19 minutes in one shot (2 for instigating, 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct, 5 for fighting, 10 for game misconduct). Goren simply took the five. Turco kicked out his right leg to trip Bertuzzi, but Dallas was able to kill the subsequent two-man advantage. Alex Auld made a splendid stop on a shot by Bill Guerin, set up by Brenden Morrow. Carter was called once again in the period, this time for holding the stick, though the Canucks killed that penalty as well. Vancouver outshot Dallas 13-6 in the period.

2nd period
The middle frame was less kind. Ryan Kesler was stopped on a 2-on-1, and Matt Cooke's attempt on the rebound was foiled as well. Auld made a good glove save on a backhand by Jason Arnott. However, it wasn't so good for Vancouver when Mike Modano had the puck behind the net, moved Auld the wrong way, and passed to Jere Lehtinen out front, who beat Auld.
»» 3, DALLAS, Jere Lehtinen 3 (Mike Modano, Jussi Jokinen) 5:00
The Finn struck again, though this time Auld wasn't fully set for the shot. Lehtinen scooted the puck through Auld's five-hole to tie the game. That was quick.
»» 4, DALLAS, Lehtinen 4 (Brenden Morrow, Trevor Daley) 8:35
Jon Klemm was called for interference shortly after the goal, putting the Canucks on the power play, which was killed. Of course, this helped the Canucks not let the momentum completely go the Stars' way. Shortly after the scoreless power play, Richard Park put up a shot that was stopped, and Turco robbed Cooke on the rebound. The Sedins and Carter had a good shift, maintaining pressure in the Dallas zone, but the shift lasted nearly two minutes, so they were pretty gassed afterward. Goren was stopped by Turco's blocker on a give-and-go from Trevor Linden. Vancouver outshot Dallas 10-7 in the period and led 23-13 on shots after 40 minutes.

3rd period
It didn't take long. Goren broke for the net but shot wide. The puck went out to Jarkko Ruutu, who held it at the blueline and simply threw it toward the net, where Goren redirected the puck into the net. Good timing, and a Vancouver lead. This obtained by the fourth line, no less.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Lee Goren 1 (Jarkko Ruutu, Bryan Allen) 3:47
Ed Jovanovski went to the box for holding a stick, and Auld had to make a couple stops on Boucher, and watched a Robidas one-timer go over the goal. Mattias Ohlund had a puck go under his stick to thwart a promising four-man rush for Vancouver. With the Canucks slow on a backcheck, Auld had to make a huge post-to-post save on Morrow in close. Antti Miettinen went to the box for Dallas after hooking Park from behind. Carter was tripped up soon after to give Vancouver a short two-man advantage. Goren nearly put a rebound into the net, but definitely was in the mix for Bertuzzi putting the puck in from the right circle. There had to be a deflection off of a Dallas stick or something, because Goren somehow didn't get an assist on the play despite being right in front of the net.
»» 6, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Todd Bertuzzi 2 (Markus Naslund, Jovanovski) 14:31
Cooke hit Arnott while he was getting the puck, then Arnott retaliated by cross-checking Cooke, which put Vancouver on the power play once again. The power play expired without a Vancouver goal, but the Canucks didn't have to wait long for Park to take a nice feed from Jovanovski and fire a wrister from the left circle to beat Turco up high.
»» 7, VANCOUVER, Richard Park 3 (Jovanovski) 17:40
Vancouver outshot Dallas 12-7 in the final period and 35-20 for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Goren, (2) Dallas' Jere Lehtinen, (3) Morrison

skater, goals-assists-points
Jovanovski 0-3-3
Bertuzzi 1-0-1
Goren 1-0-1
Park 1-0-1
Salo 1-0-1
D Sedin 1-0-1
Allen 0-1-1
Naslund 0-1-1
Ruutu 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

The Canucks got early powerplays and took full advantage of them. They nearly let the game get away from them, but they mounted some good pressure after Jere Lehtinen's second goal. Alex Auld let in another soft goal for his second straight game, but the good thing is that he's not collapsing after letting in the fluky goals. Auld stopped 18 of 20 for the game.

The fourth Vancouver goal, originally given to Ed Jovanovski, was given to Todd Bertuzzi after the game. Though none of the in-game announcements reflected it, that was Bertuzzi's 200th career goal.

Vancouver improved on faceoffs to the point where they won a majority of them, winning 31 of 61. Brendan Morrison, who had his best game of the year [this part used to say he was the only scoreless Canuck left this season, which is untrue; he is one of three without a goal along with seven other Canucks. He has only two assists on the season], was 10-for-22. Trevor Linden was 4-for-8. Ryan Kesler was 4-for-12. Henrik Sedin was 7-for-12. Todd Bertuzzi won all three of his faceoffs.

You won't see it in the point list above, but Jarkko Ruutu was a plus-2 to go along with his assist. Plus-1 skaters included Bryan Allen, Trevor Linden, Richard Park, and Lee Goren. Oddly, Matt Cooke was a minus-2. Sami Salo got a boatload of ice-time once again, getting 26:52, with Mattias Ohlund (21:43) and Ed Jovanovski (21:16) being the nearest competitors. A five-minute gap is big, and I guess I just hope Salo isn't spent in March and April.

Next for Vancouver are the three remaining games left on the homestand -- Tuesday against Chicago, Thursday against Phoenix, and Saturday against Colorado (big game).

The Canucks are 4-1-1 (shootout loss in the third column), good for nine points in the standings and a three-point Northwest Division lead over the Edmonton Oilers.

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