Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Reuters photo -- Dan Riedlhuber

Coming off their best win of the season against Edmonton the night before, both teams had to hop into the plane and head for Edmonton for this game taking place the very next night. The odds were stacked against Vancouver, having to fly to start a five-game road trip and finding a start for backup goaltender Dany Sabourin. If it was any consolation, the Oilers were starting Jussi Markkanen in net instead of Dwayne Roloson. Still, the Canucks would have to find their legs against the Oilers, who throughout their franchise has had teams that could skate, skate, and skate. Amazingly, the Canucks came into this game having killed off their last twelve penalties, an about-face from their shakiness from earlier in the season on the man-disadvantage. Now if they could just get their power-play unit together, the Canucks might get warm or something.

1st period
Ethan Moreau had received a pass that deflected high into the air after hitting his stick, and he put it back on the ice and from the back of the left circle fired a slapshot that beat Dany Sabourin over the right shoulder. Continuing a slightly disturbing trend carrying over from the preseason, the Canucks had surrendered a goal on the first opposing shot of the game.
»» 1, EDMONTON, Ethan Moreau 1 (Jarret Stoll, Steve Staios) 0:51
Marty Reasoner along the end boards on the left side centered the puck to Patrick Thoresen in the slot, who wristed it past Sabourin on the glove side.
»» 2, EDMONTON, Patrick Thoresen 2 (Marty Reasoner, Staios) 3:01
In the dying seconds of the period, Joffrey Lupul walked from the right point and wristed a fake shot that went to Ales Hemsky beside the net to the left. Hemsky had a wide-open net with which to pot the goal, but Sabourin dove back in time and stopped the puck with an arm. Edmonton outshot Vancouver 7-5 in the period. Edmonton was 0-for-3 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2.

2nd period
On an early Edmonton power play, the Canucks' penalty kill dumped the puck into the Oiler zone. Jussi Markkanen played the puck behind the net and left it for Fernando Pisani, but Pisani didn't put a body on Matt Cooke, who beat him to the puck and fed Josh Green at the right hash. Green quickly shot to the net and Markkanen dove back in time to slow down the puck, and Marc-Andre Bergeron was alert enough to race to the net as he saw the play unfold, and he cleared the puck out of the blue paint after it had leaked through Markkanen. Just over four minutes in, Steve Staios inflicted a hit along the boards in front of the penalty box on Daniel Sedin. Just past the midway mark of the period, Petr Sykora centered the puck from the right-wing corner to Shawn Horcoff and Thoresen, the former of which directed the puck toward the net and was stopped by Sabourin, and the latter of which was foiled by Sabourin on the rebound. With just under two minutes left in the period on an Edmonton power play, Ryan Smyth had the puck along the end boards on the right side and looked to pass, then drove to the net looking like he was going to try and jam it into the net. However, he drove, dropped a pass back to Lupul, and tried screening Sabourin on the play. Sabourin got his left pad on the Lupul shot.
Edmonton outshot Vancouver 8-4 in the period (15-9 overall). Edmonton was 0-for-4 (0-for-7) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-1 (0-for-3).

3rd period
Raffi Torres delivered a hit on Josh Green in front of the benches just past the seven-minute mark. With the Canucks on a two-man advantage and down two goals (jsut past the eight-minute mark), Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo tried setting each other up for slapshots, but Ohlund got the actual chance, booming one that brought Markkanen to the seat of his pants, and Daniel Sedin's stick snapped while he was trying to put home the rebound. With about two and a half minutes left, Daniel Tjarnqvist landed in the box for interference, giving the Canucks a power play opportunity. With the desperation setting in, coach Alain Vigneault pulled Sabourin from the net for an extra attacker to make it 6-on-4. It didn't take long as Henrik Sedin on the left-wing boards fed to Daniel Sedin behind the net. Daniel waited a few seconds and passed to Markus Naslund in the low slot, who buried it to the glove side.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 4 (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin) 17:31
Vancouver outshot Edmonton 13-5 (22-20 total). Vancouver was 1-for-3 (1-for-6) on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-1 (0-for-8). Sabourin stopped 18 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Edmonton's Steve Staios, (2) Edmonton's Ethan Moreau, (3) Naslund

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 1-0-1
D Sedin 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 22 of 52 draws (42%). Brendan Morrison won five of 11, Ryan Kesler won all five of his faceoffs, Josh Green won three of ten, Marc Chouinard lost nine of ten, and Henrik Sedin won seven of 14. Mattias Ohlund led the team with six shots, and Markus Naslund had four. Matt Cooke led the team with three hits, and Sami Salo and Taylor Pyatt threw two hits as well. Morrison notched a couple of takeaways. Kevin Bieksa coughed up the puck twice. Alexandre Burrows and Chouinard blocked two shots apiece. Jan Bulis missed the net four times and failed to record a shot.

The Canucks' only goal was on the power play, so no Canuck recorded a plus rating. The minus skaters were all minus-1 and they were Ohlund, Bieksa, Salo, Pyatt, Rory Fitzpatrick, Naslund, Daniel Sedin, Tommi Santala, Chouinard, and Henrik Sedin. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The loss dropped the Canucks to 3-3-1 (1-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout) and third place in the Northwest Division as Edmonton leapfrogged them in the standings. With seven points, the Canucks are one back of the Oilers, who have played one less game. Undefeated (5-0) Minnesota is three points ahead and have played two less games than Vancouver. Calgary is two points back with a game in hand, while Colorado is three back with two games in hand. Vancouver is seventh in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Chicago, who has two games in hand. Vancouver is one point back of fifth-place Anaheim and three back of Minnesota, San Jose, and Dallas, who are first, second (one game in hand), and fourth (two in hand), respectively. Vancouver has the same amount of points as Central Division-leading Detroit, but the Red Wings have played two less games. The Canucks head further out on the road starting with Saint Louis on Friday, a team that was the worst team in the NHL last season, but was a team that beat was undefeated against Vancouver last season. Take two of those games, and the Canucks leap into the playoffs instead of...Edmonton, who went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals as the eighth seed. Go figure.

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