Thursday, November 09, 2006
The Canucks beat the Dallas Stars on Monday night, thanks to a good effort in terms of staying close, but largely thanks to the fact that (1) Marty Turco wasn't in goal for Dallas and (2) the late call on Brenden Morrow for elbowing (leading to the power play where Vancouver got the winning goal) was pretty questionable. Anaheim was lookng to set a new NHL record for most consecutive games with a point to start a season. It's a second straight year of massive defensive injuries for the Canucks, as the news came down today that Rory Fitzpatrick would be out four to six weeks with a hairline fracture in his left foot. Sami Salo is out with a knee sprain and Willie Mitchell is still out recovering from a concussion. Nathan McIver was called up in Fitzpatrick's place. In addition, Luc Bourdon was sent back to junior and Patrick Coulombe was called up in his place. This leaves Mattias Ohlund (Canuck veteran) and Lukas Krajicek (formidable defenseman acquired in the Roberto Luongo/Todd Bertuzzi trade last offseason) as the only Canuck defensemen without recent Manitoba Moose experience. In other Moose-related news, current Canuck coach Alain Vigneault coached the Canucks last season. Two years ago, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle coached the Moose to the Calder Cup semifinals, where they ultimately were swept by the Chicago Wolves, who had the stellar Kari Lehtonen in net. Compound the injury-riddled Canuck defensive situation with the fact that Anaheim was rolling into town with Norris Trophy winners Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on their blue line and well, it figured to be a rough night in Vancouver. Anaheim also had the fifth-best penalty kill unit in the league coming into the game. The Ducks decided to go with Jean-Sebastien Giguere in their goalie tandem.
Early on, Josh Green was fed by Patrick Coulombe and hit the post behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the stick side which probably was the best chance the Canucks had all night. Shane O'Brien from the left point flung the puck toward Corey Perry in front of the net to Roberto Luongo's left side, where he and Matt Cooke were battling for position. Instead of getting to Perry, the puck instead went off of one of Cooke's skates and past Luongo.
»» 1, ANAHEIM, Shane O'Brien 2 (Joe DiPenta, Shawn Thornton) 5:34
With six minutes and change to go, Taylor Pyatt tipped the puck ahead from his own blue line and got leveled by Samuel Pahlsson. A minute and change later, Chris Kunitz skating down the right side tried to center the puck but had it knocked down by Nathan McIver. McIver had the puck loose under himself and tried to clear it away, but McIver beat him to it and put it inside the far post on Luongo.
»» 2, ANAHEIM, Chris Kunitz 8 (Teemu Selanne) 15:26
About two and a half minutes later, McIver and Travis Moen exchanged fisticuffs in a fight where McIver seemed behind early but came back and held his own with a flurry of rights. Of course, McIver was hoping he'd be able to spark the team a bit. Anaheim outshot the Canucks 7-5 in the period. Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play.
Just after the puck was dumped into the right corner, Rob Niedermayer centered to Pahlsson skating to the high slot, who easily put it through Luongo on the glove side. This would be the final shot Luongo faced as he was given the hook by Alain Vigneault and backup Dany Sabourin was put into the Vancouver net.
»» 3, ANAHEIM, Samuel Pahlsson 3 (Rob Niedermayer, O'Brien) 5:33
At the 8:45 mark of the period, Anaheim was called for too many men, giving the Canucks a power play. A minute and 11 seconds later, Moen was called for tripping, giving Vancouver 49 seconds of a two-man advantage. In that span of 3:11 of either one- or two-man advantage, the Canucks failed to register as much as a shot as boos hailed down from the home crowd. Inside the final minute, a Teemu Selanne shot got through on Sabourin but it was cleared away in close by McIver. Seconds later, Sabourin stopped a Chris Pronger one-timer from the right point. Shots were eight apiece in the period (Anaheim led 15-13). Anaheim was 0-for-3 (0-for-4 overall) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2 (0-for-3).
Just after Vancouver had another power play go for naught, Ryan Getzlaf and Shawn Thornton were off on a two-on-one which was perfectly executed as Thornton centered for Getzlaf, who put it past Sabourin.
»» 4, ANAHEIM, Ryan Getzlaf 6 (Thornton, Corey Perry) 3:21
With Vancouver getting the bad end of a delayed penalty and Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the bench for an extra skater, Tommi Santala smacked the stick of Scott Niedermayer in the Anaheim zone, and the puck drifted back and into the net, which would have made it 4-1. It was originally ruled that Santala touched the puck and therefore the play was over. Vigneault begged for a video review, but never got one. Later, a Pronger wrister from the right point was deflected in front and Sabourin stopped it, but he couldn't fall on it before Todd Marchant walked over and punched it into the net.
»» 5, ANAHEIM, Todd Marchant 3 (Chris Pronger, Travis Moen) 9:45
Shane O'Brien flung the puck toward the net from the left point and had it deflected into the net by Getzlaf. Hilariously, the Rogers SportsNet telecast (via the NHL.com highlight reel) showed Canuck mascot Fin immediately afterward with a sort of "what on earth is happening?!" sort of reaction.
»» 6, ANAHEIM, Getzlaf 7 (O'Brien) 11:40
With seven and a half minutes left, a Patrick Coulombe puck from the point was deflected onto the net by Tommi Santala and stopped by Giguere in a rare occurrence of actual work for him on a night where he could have pitched a tent in front of the net and slept and could have gotten the same result. Ryan Shannon had a one-timer from the blue line on the right side gloved nicely by Sabourin inside the final 30 seconds as the Ducks were on a two-man advantage after Alexandre Burrows had gotten called for a five-minute major boarding penalty for putting Moen into the boards in front of the penalty box and opening up a gash on his right eyebrow. Anaheim outshot Vancouver 12-7 in the period (27-20 total). The Ducks were 0-for-3 (0-for-7) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2 (0-for-5). Luongo stopped six of nine shots before he was pulled, and Sabourin stopped 15 of 18 to finish off the game.
Three stars -- (1) Anaheim's Samuel Pahlsson, (2) Anaheim's Shane O'Brien, (3) Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere
none for Vancouver
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 25 of 55 draws (45%). Brendan Morrison won seven of 16, Ryan Kesler won four of 14 (yikes), Tommi Santala won six of seven, and Henrik Sedin won six of 14. Markus Naslund led the team with three shots. Matt Cooke led the team in dishing out six hits while Alexandre Burrows had five. Kesler also blocked two shots. Josh Green missed the net with five shots.
In the world of plus-minus, it was a brutal night for the Canucks as their penalty kill was very good but all of Anaheim's goals were even-strength goals. Minus-1 Canucks were Green, Santala, and Jan Bulis. Minus-2 skaters were Lukas Krajicek, Taylor Pyatt, Burrows, Kesler, Naslund, Daniel Sedin, and Cooke. Minus-3 skaters were Morrison, Patrick Coulombe, and Nathan McIver. The lone minus-4 Canuck was Mattias Ohlund.
The loss dropped Vancouver to 8-8-1 (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 17 points. San Jose is the only other team in the Western Conference that has played the same amount of games as Vancouver, but they have seven more points. All other West teams have games in hand on Vancouver. The Canucks are second in the Northwest Division, three back of the Minnesota Wild, who are third in the West. Vancouver is one point ahead of Colorado, who is eighth in the conference. Anaheim is even more nuts, leading the conference with 28 points. Detroit leads their division and is therefore third with 21 points. Dallas and San Jose have 24 points each in fourth and fifth. Nashville is sixth with 19. Edmonton is fourth in the Northwest and ninth in the conference with 15. Calgary is last in the Northwest with 12 and 11th in the conference. Those Flames visit Vancouver on Saturday night.