Monday, October 16, 2006
After getting chomped on in their home opener by the Sharks, the Canucks returned to the ice three days later for their third division game of the year, this one against the Edmonton Oilers, whom they would host on the front end of a back-to-back home-and-home set. Oddly, the last power-play goal the Canucks had given up was one by Brian Rolston in the Minnesota game on Tuesday. Well, maybe it's not that long of a streak, but the Canucks held the high-powered San Jose Sharks scoreless on six power plays on Friday. Last season, the Oilers controlled the rivalry early in the year, seemingly having the Canucks' number (especially Jarret Stoll) until the Canucks got some points near the end of the year, though definitely not enough, as anyone who looked at the Canucks' division record last year could surmise.
On an early Vancouver power play just under eight minutes into the game, Daniel Sedin had the puck in the left-wing corner and dished to Henrik Sedin along the end boards, who centered quickly to Sami Salo in the right circle. Salo was then robbed by the glove of Dwayne Roloson. With five and a half minutes left in the period, the Canucks were nearing the end of another power play as Daniel Sedin chipped the puck from the left hash to Kevin Bieksa in the high slot, who gloved it out of the air, put it down, and ripped a shot that rang off the post on Roloson's stick side. Daniel Sedin was foiled by Roloson's glove on the rebound of Bieksa's shot. The Canucks badly outshot the Canucks 17-7 in the period. They were 0-for-3 on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-2.
Josh Green checked an Edmonton puck carrier into the boards and took himself out of the play as the puck trickled along to Petr Sykora. Sykora took the puck from the boards to the middle of the ice and walked it across the blue line. He skated toward the left-wing boards and dished off to Marc-Andre Bergeron, who snapped a quick shot from the left circle that was stopped by the pads of Roberto Luongo. As Sykora took the puck over the blue line, the Canuck defenders left Raffi Torres with a boatload of open ice, and he went toward the net as both Alexandre Burrows and Willie Mitchell were watching the puck. Torres snuck in behind Mitchell and Burrows and put the rebound through, top shelf behind Luongo.
»» 1, EDMONTON, Raffi Torres 1 (Marc-Andre Bergeron, Petr Sykora) 2:01
Trevor Linden at the right point dropped the puck back for Bieksa, who faked a shot along the boards, then let one loose that went off Roloson's stick. The rebound found Taylor Pyatt skating into the low slot, and he put it past Roloson.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Taylor Pyatt 2 (Kevin Bieksa, Trevor Linden) 8:13
On a truly beautiful goal, Salo took the puck from the right point, took it to the goal line, then skated along the end boards with it. He wasn't done, as he traipsed along the left-wing boards skating backward until he caught the back edge of the left circle and flung a wrister that found its way through traffic (Daniel Tjarnqvist and Burrows fighting in front of the net) and past Roloson.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Sami Salo 2 (Alexandre Burrows, Josh Green) 19:00
The Canucks outshot Edmonton 12-6 in the period (29-13 overall). They were 0-for-1 (0-for-4) on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-2 (0-for-4).
With just over three minutes left in the game, Sykora coughed up the puck in his own zone, and Josh Green passed back to Matt Cooke, who unleashed a hard shot that Roloson covered. The Canucks outshot Edmonton 8-5 in the period (37-18 total). Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play and were 0-for-6 for the game. Luongo stopped 17 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Pyatt, (2) Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson, (3) Salo
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 31 of 54 draws (57%). Brendan Morrison won eight of 12, Ryan Kesler won two of five, Josh Green won seven of 12, Marc Chouinard won four of six, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 17. Mattias Ohlund led the team with five shots, and Sami Salo, Willie Mitchell, Kesler, and Daniel Sedin had four shots apiece. Ohlund dealt three hits and Green two. Morrison notched two takeaways. Kevin Bieksa blocked two shots.
In plus-minus, the plus-skating Canucks (all plus-1) were Ohlund, Salo, Taylor Pyatt, Trevor Linden, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Green. The lone minus-skating Canuck was Lukas Krajicek. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The win elevated the Canucks to a 3-2-1 record (1-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for seven points and second place in the Northwest Division, three points behind the undefeated (5-0) Minnesota Wild. Every other team in the division has a game in hand, and the Oilers are a point back, the Flames two back, and the Avalanche three back (their only win was against Vancouver). The Wild lead the conference, the Stars are second (same points but one less goal than Minnesota), and Detroit leads their division with seven points. San Jose and Anaheim have a game in hand on Vancouver and both have eight points for fourth and fifth in the West, respectively. The Canucks finish out the home-and-home in Edmonton Tuesday night.