Friday, October 20, 2006


AP photo -- Kyle Ericson

The first game of the road trip was the back end of a home-and-home with Edmonton, which the Canucks lost as Dany Sabourin gave up a couple of early goals before he settled down. The Canucks had two nights off before this game in Saint Louis against the Blues, a team that was the worst in the NHL last season. However, this was also a team the Canucks failed to beat in four games last season, something that one could easily look at as a reason the Canucks missed the playoffs in 2005-06. A lot of reasons the Canucks failed to make the postseason last year had to do with underperformance by their own players, and that definitely happened against the Blues, but the Bluenotes also had a couple of players that were doing in the Canucks, namely Mike Sillinger and Curtis Sanford. Sillinger was traded to Nashville late last season (and faced the Canucks again as a Predator) before landing on Long Island for this season. Sanford stayed with the Blues and started in net against the Canucks in this very game. The Canucks also looked to extend their streak of 20 straight successful penalty kills.

1st period
With Taylor Pyatt having just been sent to the box for holding, the Canucks won a draw in their own zone and the puck went into the right-wing corner. Alexandre Burrows gave chase and tried to clear it away, but Keith Tkachuk held it in at the blue line and passed to Petr Cajanek at the right hash. Cajanek skated a few feet toward the net and stuffed it in on the short side past Roberto Luongo. Away went the Canucks' streak of 20 straight penalty kills, but it was a good one.
»» 1, SAINT LOUIS, powerplay, Petr Cajanek 1 (Keith Tkachuk) 6:41
The Canucks outshot Saint Louis 9-7 in the period. They were 0-for-2 on the power play while the Blues were 1-for-6.

2nd period
About five minutes in, Henrik Sedin centered the puck from the right-wing boards to Mattias Ohlund skating down the slot, who was foiled by Curtis Sanford on an initial shot, and he covered up his stick side on Ohlund's hack at the rebound as well. At the midway point, Henrik Sedin from the right-wing boards centered the puck, and Daniel Sedin deflected in onto Sanford, and the puck was cleared away. Vancouver badly outshot the Blues 16-4 in the period (25-11 overall). They were 0-for-5 on the power play (0-for-7) and weren't whistled for any penalties in the period.

3rd period
On a Saint Louis power play, the puck went to Bill Guerin behind the net, and Lee Stempniak came to get it, and he passed to Tkachuk on the left side, who shot to the net and had it stopped. The rebound went off of Bill Guerin's skate in front and through him, and Stempniak skated back to the slot and snapped it through the glove side past Luongo.
»» 2, SAINT LOUIS, powerplay, Lee Stempniak 3 (Bill Guerin, Tkachuk) 5:41
Not long after, Markus Naslund on the left-wing boards passed to Sami Salo along the blue line. Salo faked a shot and passed to Henrik Sedin on the right-wing boards. Henrik passed to brother Daniel past the goal line on the right side. Daniel then centered to Pyatt on the doorstep, who put it through as the Canucks had finally solved Sanford. Pyatt was basically unmoved in front of the net for the Canucks' entire possession in the Saint Louis zone before the goal.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Taylor Pyatt 3 (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin) 7:30
Not even a minute after Vancouver had scored, Dennis Wideman was trying to get the puck out of the corner in his own end and Matt Cooke threw a hit on him. In the final minutes, Jay McClement and Ryan Johnson (who pounded Ohlund into the boards on a chase for the puck in the Vancouver end with the empty net) took penalties for the Blues, putting the Canucks up two men for twenty seconds with fifty seconds to left to play. Alain Vigneault and the Canucks went for broke, sending Luongo to the bench (6-on-3) after the puck got deep into the Blues' end after they had won the faceoff with 40.4 seconds left. Daniel Sedin and Pyatt sandwiched Eric Brewer along the end boards in the Blues' zone and got the puck from him. Henrik Sedin got the puck in the right-wing corner and passed to Naslund near the right point. Naslund passed to Salo at the back of the left circle, and he tapped it back to Naslund now up high, dead center. Naslund decided to forego his wrister and went for the slap shot, rattling it off the inside of the left post, then the right post, off Sanford's blocker, and into the net to finally tie the game with 25.9 seconds left.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 5 (Sami Salo, H Sedin) 19:34
Vancouver outshot the Blues 8-5 in the period (33-16 overall). Vancouver was 2-for-4 (2-for-11) on the power play while Saint Louis was 1-for-3 (2-for-9).

About a minute in, Jamie Rivers got the puck at the right hash and put up a shot that was blocked, and Doug Weight was robbed by the left pad of Luongo. Half a minute later, Henrik Sedin stood behind the Saint Louis net and found brother Daniel at the left hash, who wristed the puck toward the net and hit the post above Sanford's right shoulder. In the final minute, Daniel Sedin from the right hash passed to Salo mid-slot, whose monster wrister was stopped by Sanford, who held on for the whistle. The Canucks won a final faceoff in the Blues' zone inside the final ten seconds of play. The puck went to Naslund behind the right circle, who passed to Salo at the blue line. Salo faked a shot and drew Dallas Drake to the ground to try to block it. Salo stepped around him and wristed the puck past Sanford on the final horn. The puck went through the net with 0.9 seconds left. The Blues first tried arguing that time had expired before the puck went through, then tried arguing that maybe Bulis tipped it through in front with a high stick. Replay footage went to league headquarters in Toronto and everything stayed the same. Though the puck went through with more than zeroes remaining on the clock, no faceoff took place after the goal, and it would have been moot anyway because I've never seen a puck go from center ice through the net in 0.9 seconds.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Salo 3 (Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 4:59
Vancouver outshot the Blues 6-3 in the overtime (39-19 total). Neither team had a power play chance, so the Canucks finished 2-for-11 and Saint Louis was 2-for-9. Luongo stopped 17 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Salo, (2) Saint Louis' Lee Stempniak, (3) Saint Louis' Bryce Salvador

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 1-1-2
Salo 1-1-2
H Sedin 0-2-2
Pyatt 1-0-1
D Sedin 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 29 of 62 draws (47%). Brendan Morrison won seven of 15, Ryan Kesler won four of nine, Josh Green won four of eight, Marc Chouinard won five of seven, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 21. Henrik Sedin led the team with seven shots, Daniel Sedin had six shots, and five shots apiece went to Mattias Ohlund and Lukas Krajicek. Matt Cooke dealt four hits, and Kevin Bieksa dished out three. Alexandre Burrows and Jan Bulis recorded two takeaways each. Green coughed up the puck three times. Bulis missed the net four times with shots, and Sami Salo, Morrison, and Markus Naslund all missed it thrice.

The only even-strength goal of the game was scored in the final second of overtime, so the plus-minus isn't very eventful for this game. Salo, Morrison, Naslund, and Bulis were on the ice for the goal, so they were all plus-1 while all the other Canucks got the even rating.

The win pushes the Canucks to 4-3-1 (2-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for nine points. This puts them in second place in the Northwest Division, three points back of Minnesota, who has a game in hand. Edmonton lies a point back of Vancouver in the division with two games in hand, and Colorado has a single game in hand with the same number of points. Calgary is holding up the cellar with five points and one less game played than Vancouver. Vancouver is three back of San Jose and Anaheim (both one less game played). The Canucks have one more point than Chicago, who leads the Central Division and is third in the conference as a result. Dallas leads the conference with 12 points to lead the Pacific Division with the same number of points as Minnesota, San Jose, and Anaheim. Vancouver wouldn't have any rest after this game, as they had a date in Nashville the next night.

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