Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This was the Canucks 11th game of the season. Nine of their 11 games were road games, giving the fans and coaching staff some measure of how the team might jell together and how they would play on the road. Coming into the game, the Canucks were 5-4-1 anyway, and considering not everything has fallen into place for the Canucks as to line combinations and whether Luc Bourdon sticks with the club or gets sent back to junior (how well Willie Mitchell recovers from his concussion might have a say in that), even if they lost this game and finished the stretch 5-5-1, it'd still be pretty good. However, the Chicago Blackhawks were hitting the ice without Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin for a couple weeks, and Michal Handzus is out for the season with a knee injury.
Also, the Canucks didn't shut out a single team last season. Theit last shutout was March 24th of 2004, a 1-0 win in Los Angeles in which Dan Cloutier stopped 15 shots in his first game coming off of a hip injury that sidelined him for two games. That win was the Canucks' second in eight games after the Todd Bertuzzi incident. The Canucks hadn't shut out a team in 97 games. Roberto Luongo came into the game with 27 career shutouts.
Near the five-minute mark, Brian Boucher left the net to play a Vancouver dump-in. Jim Vandermeer shoveled the puck toward the right-wing corner, where it was blocked and Josh Green chased it down along the right-wing boards. Green dished to Mattias Ohlund in the high slot, who shot toward the net, but it looked to have deflected off of Vandermeer's skate or stick in front. The puck banked to Matt Cooke to the right side, and he took the puck from behind him and roofed a backhander over Boucher on the short side.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Matt Cooke 1 (Mattias Ohlund, Josh Green) 4:54
On a late power play, Kevin Bieksa near the blue line passed to Markus Naslund near the right hash. Naslund scanned the scene for a few seconds before passing across to Ohlund near the left hash. Ohlund put a wrister toward the net that was deflected through by Brendan Morrison's stick.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Brendan Morrison 3 (Ohlund, Markus Naslund) 16:58
Vancouver outshot Chicago 8-3 in the period. They were 1-for-4 on the power play while Chicago was 0-for-1.
Ealy in the period, Henrik Sedin and Taylor Pyatt skated across the blue line on somewhat of a 2-on-2 rush, though the speed slowed down a bit. Having just crossed the blue line, Henrik appeared to be doing a basic shoot-in, but the bouncing puck found its way past Boucher for a cheapie. It looked like it may have gone off a skate or stick of defenseman Duncan Keefe, who was covering Henrik as he crossed into the Chicago zone.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 1 (Daniel Sedin, Sami Salo) 3:41
On the dying seconds of a Chicago powerplay about six minutes in, Tony Salmelainen rushed up the left side, skated around Lukas Krajicek, and put a shot in close on Roberto Luongo that was stopped by Luongo. Martin Lapointe put the rebound wide to Luongo's glove side on a golden chance. Just past the halfway mark of the period. Henrik Sedin at the right hash struggled for the puck and eventually found Daniel Sedin, who moved toward the net before passing across the slot to Taylor Pyatt, who shot to a seemingly open net, but Boucher had a moment of brilliance, putting down the paddle to make the save. Less than a minute later, the Canucks won a faceoff in their own zone, but Krajicek had his outlet pass intercepted. The puck stayed in the zone, and a pass fed Lapointe near the right hash, who unleashed a slap shot that was nicely gloved by Luongo. About a minute and a half later, the Canucks won a faceoff outside the Chicago blue line. Daniel Sedin chased the dump-in along the end boards and passed to brother Henrik along the goal line left of the net. Henrik shot from a very sharp angle and was stopped, but Pyatt had skated into the slot from the right side and put the rebound through.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Taylor Pyatt 5 (H Sedin, D Sedin) 11:45
Vancouver was outshot 18-11 in the period (21-19 overall). They didn't get a power play chance while Chicago was 0-for-4 (0-for-5).
Pyatt took the puck over the blue line at the right point and dropped it for Daniel Sedin. Daniel left the puck in the right-wing corner for brother Henrik, whose centering pass was knocked away by Boucher and a defender in front. Henrik followed his own shot and snapped it through on the glove side.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, H Sedin 2 (D Sedin, Pyatt) 16:24
Vancouver outshot Chicago 12-11 (but were outshot 32-31 total). They were 0-for-1 (1-for-5) on the power play while Chicago didn't get a power play chance and finished 0-for-5. Luongo stopped all 32 shots he faced.
Three stars -- (1) H Sedin, (2) D Sedin, (3) Ohlund
H Sedin 2-1-3
D Sedin 0-3-3
In the faceoff circle, Vancouver won 33 of 63 draws (52%). Brendan Morrison won five of 11, Ryan Kesler won ten of 17, Matt Cooke won one of three, Josh Green won nine of 15, and Marc Chouinard won seven of 14. Henrik Sedin led the team with five shots, and each of Lukas Krajicek, Morrison, Taylor Pyatt, and Cooke had three shots. Kevin Bieksa and Cooke dished out three hits apiece. Mattias Ohlund blocked two shots to lead the team.
In plus-minus, the Canucks gave up zero goals, so no one's a minus. Plus-1 Canucks included Luc Bourdon, Krajicek, Sami Salo, Kesler, Rory Fitzpatrick, Cooke, and Green. Plus-2 skaters were Mattias Ohlund and Bieksa. Better still were the plus-3 guys, the red-hot line of Pyatt, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The win propelled the Canucks to 6-4-1 (3-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for 13 points. As a result, they sit at sixth in the Western Conference and second in the Northwest Division. Both teams sandwiching them in the division have two games in hand, with Minnesota up three points and Edmonton a point back. Colorado has a single game in hand and lies three points back. Calgary is six back with three in hand. Anaheim and Dallas also have 16 points like Minnesota, and the Ducks lead the Pacific Division and are second in the conference. Dallas is fourth trailing Anaheim by one goal scored. San Jose has a game in hand on the Canucks and leads by a point in fifth. The Oilers and Colorado are seventh and eighth in the West.