Saturday, November 04, 2006


AP photo

The Canucks strolled into Denver hoping to stop a two-game losing streak. A loss would mean their second three-game losing streak, which wouldn't be so good considering this game was only the fifteenth of the season. In addition, a Colorado regulation win would result in the Avalanche hopping over the Canucks in the Northwest Division standings with a game in hand. Also of concern was the Vancouver power play, which almost singlehandedly lost the game in Minnesota two nights earlier by going 0-for-6 and also giving up a shorthanded goal. Also, with Willie Mitchell already sitting out with a concussion, Sami Salo was sitting this one out with a knee injury he sustained in the Minnesota game. Thus, the Canucks called up Alexander Edler from Manitoba. Thus, the Canucks were short two men on defense, and if Mitchell and Salo are up for much longer, the Canucks will have their hand forced as to whether or not they send Luc Bourdon back to junior. They went into this game with Mattias Ohlund, Kevin Bieksa, Bourdon, Lukas Krajicek, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Edler on defense.

1st period
With just over a minute left, Paul Stastny put a move on Lukas Krajicek on the right side and skated the puck to the goal line on the right side. From there, Stastny centered the puck and it went off Rory Fitzpatrick's skate and into the blue paint, where Roberto Luongo kicked it away with the left pad. Seconds later, Wojtek Wolski was pokechecked in the neutral zone and Alexandre Burrows came off the bench and rushed the puck the other way on a two-on-one with Markus Naslund. He skated just inside the left hash and waited out a diving John-Michael Liles trying to block a shot before passing across the slot to Naslund, who put it past Jose Theodore on the short side.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 7 (Alexandre Burrows, Mattias Ohlund) 19:07
Vancouver badly outshot the Avalanche 15-6 in a period that the Canucks absolutely dominated, but they couldn't bury the pucks as often as they should have. Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play.

2nd period
Inside the first two minutes, a particular shift found the Sedins failing to clear the puck from their own zone. Furthermore, a delayed penalty was about to be called on Fitzpatrick. Joe Sakic bounced the puck from the left-wing boards to Brett Clark up high, who blasted a slapshot that deflected off Andrew Brunette and past Luongo, who he had chopped in the right leg and spun around right before he deflected the puck. No interference was called as a result. Luongo was infuriated.
»» 2, COLORADO, Andrew Brunette 6 (Brett Clark, Joe Sakic) 1:32
On a Vancouver power play about six and a half minutes in, Henrik Sedin from the goal line on the right side centered to Daniel Sedin in the slot, who was stopped by Theodore, but Theodore left a rebound, and Daniel followed his own shot and roofed it.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Daniel Sedin 6 (Henrik Sedin, Taylor Pyatt) 6:32
About nine minutes in, the Avalanche took a three-on-two rush into the Vancouver zone, Brad Richardson tried sneaking the puck through Luongo in close as he skated past, and Milan Hejduk gave chase on the rebound, but he was foiled by Luongo. Later in the period, Fitzpatrick lost the puck along the boards in the Vancouver zone, and Wolski got a hold of it. The puck got loose and went through some skates in the left circle before being found by Hejduk, who shot toward the net. The puck got caught in some other skates closer to the net before Stastny found it and put it past Luongo.
»» 4, COLORADO, Paul Stastny 3 (Milan Hejduk, Wojtek Wolski) 12:46
With just under four minutes to go, a delayed penalty was going to be called on Krajicek for hooking. Before Vancouver got a hold of the puck on the same shift, another official's arm went up, tagging Fitzpatrick for a slash. The result was two full minutes of a two-man advantage for Colorado, which somehow the Canucks miraculously killed even though both of the penalized players were defensemen. Shots were nine apiece in the period (Vancouver 24-15 overall). Vancouver was 1-for-1 (1-for-2) on the power play while Colorado was 0-for-2 (0-for-3).

3rd period
Early in the third period, the Canucks again failed to get the puck out of the zone, and Brett Clark from the right point caught the Canuck skaters cheating too far toward the puck, and he threaded it through to Brunette, who skated from the right faceoff dot through to Luongo, and he put it past Luongo's outstretched left arm.
»» 5, COLORADO, Brunette 7 (Clark, Sakic) 3:22
On the dying seconds of a Vancouver power play about six and a half minutes in, Henrik Sedin centered to Naslund, who was stopped in close by Theodore. Vancouver badly outshot Colorado 14-5 in the period (38-20 overall). Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play, so Vancouver finished 1-for-3 and Colorado finished 0-for-4. Luongo stopped 17 shots for the game.

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Andrew Brunette, (2) Colorado's Jose Theodore, (3) Colorado's Brett Clark

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

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 35 of 66 draws (53%). Brendan Morrison won seven of 16, Ryan Kesler won 12 of 22, Tommi Santala won three of four, and Henrik Sedin won 11 of 21. Morrison and Markus Naslund led the team with five shots apiece, and each of Taylor Pyatt, Alexandre Burrows, and Daniel Sedin had four shots. Mattias Ohlund, Burrows, and Rory Fitzpatrick dealt three hits apiece. Ohlund also notched three takeaways. Naslund coughed up the puck three times. Lukas Krajicek blocked three shots and Alexander Edler blocked two. Daniel Sedin missed the net three times.

In plus-minus, the Canucks had more range than usual, i.e., numbers other than one. Plus-skating Canucks were Kevin Bieksa, Burrows, and Kesler at plus-1. Minus skaters were Luc Bourdon, Morrison, and Matt Cooke at minus-1 and Krajicek, Pyatt, Fitzpatrick, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin were all minus-2. All remaining Canuck skaters were even.

The loss put the Canucks at 7-7-1 on the season (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 15 points. The bad news is that it was another division loss, and the two points Colorado got allowed them to leapfrog the Canucks in the Northwest Division. In addition, the Canucks' pathetic division record is 1-4-1, something that has to change fast if the Canucks hope to make the playoffs this season. Vancouver is five back of the division-leading Wild (who have two games in hand) and one back of Colorado (one game). Edmonton is a point back with two in hand and Calgary is five back with two in hand. Minnesota is second in the West with their 20 points. Anaheim leads the West with 24 points. Nashville is third with 19. Dallas and San Jose are fourth and fifth with 22 and 20 points but trail Anaheim in their division. Detroit is tied with Nashville in points but the Predators have a game in hand and Detroit is therefore sixth. Colorado and Vancouver are seventh and eighth in the West.

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