Monday, December 04, 2006
Fresh off a tough November, the Canucks hoped to right the ship and get things going in December. Two nights earlier, they started off the month with a badly-needed win against Colorado, a division win at that. Roberto Luongo was very good and had to be since he stopped 40 pucks. Matt Cooke would return for this game after sitting one out with an upper body injury (revealed to be a rib injury). Though not on the ice, Canuck radio analyst Tom Larscheid returned to the booth after a bout of laryngitis. The Canucks would face the Oilers, who had lost three straight, all at home. They had also just lost leading scorer Ryan Smyth to a broken thumb. Oiler goalie Dwayne Roloson came into the game with a 10-7-6 career record against the Canucks, whereas Luongo was 2-3-1 coming in against Edmonton. In other news, this was Jan Bulis' 500th career NHL game. In a possibly bad note, one of the guys in stripes on the ice for this one was Mick McGeough.
With the Oilers on the power play, Petr Sykora took the puck across the blue line and passed to Shawn Horcoff on his left, who unleashed a drive from behind the left circle toward the net that deflected off both Kevin Bieksa's stick and Willie Mitchell's arm and into the net to Roberto Luongo's left side. In a trend that had almost disappeared from earlier in the season, the Canucks' opposition scored on their first shot of the game.
»» 1, EDMONTON, powerplay, Shawn Horcoff 3 (Petr Sykora, Steve Staios) 8:13
With just under two minutes remaining, the Canucks had a golden chance to score. Henrik Sedin on the left wing centered to Matt Cooke in front, who was stopped, and both Bieksa and Henrik Sedin couldn't put the rebound past a prone Dwayne Roloson. With a few ticks left, the Oilers exhibited some checking prowess with Bieksa getting nailed behind his own net and Taylor Pyatt getting nailed along the side boards and never returning to the game (Jarret Stoll hit him). As a matter of fact, the Canucks were down to 11 skaters with Rick Rypien, Pyatt, and Sami Salo getting injured in the period. The Canucks outshot the Oilers 11-7 in the period. They were 0-for-2 on the power play while the Oilers cashed in on their only man advantage.
Early on, the Canucks lost a battle in the corner in their own zone. Raffi Torres came out of the left-wing corner with the puck and passed to Fernando Pisani, who dished off to Daniel Tjarnqvist at the left point. He flung the puck toward the net and through some legs and it was deflected in past Luongo.
»» 2, EDMONTON, Daniel Tjarnqvist 2 (Fernando Pisani, Raffi Torres) 0:58
The Oilers buried the Canucks a mere 34 seconds later. Once again, the Canucks lost a battle on the boards, this time behind their own net as a loose puck leaked toward the left-wing boards. Sykora got to it first and left it for Joffrey Lupul, who skated along the back side of the left circle and unleashed a hard wrister from midslot that beat Luongo, who had to deal with Horcoff pestering him in front of the net. Lukas Krajicek was defending Lupul on the play but had fallen down as Lupul was skating to set up his shot. This was the Oilers' third goal in their last five shots.
»» 3, EDMONTON, Joffrey Lupul 9 (Sykora) 1:32
Just short of three minutes in, Luongo made a nice stop with the right leg or stick as Stoll centered to Torres down low, who was stopped. About 11 minutes in, Bieksa ripped a straightaway slapshot from the blue line that went off the post, and Daniel Sedin scored on the rebound, but the goal was immediately waved off as Henrik Sedin was sent to the box for interfering with Roloson on the play. The Canucks badly outshot the Oilers in the period by a margin of 19-9 (30-16 overall). They were 0-for-2 (0-for-4) on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-1 (1-for-2).
Another bad clearing attempt resulted in badness for the Canucks, though this time with an unlikely culprit. Daniel Sedin on the side boards in his own zone had a clearing attempt that was easily picked off by Stoll, who quickly dished off to Torres. Torres fired it from midslot past Luongo's left side.
»» 4, EDMONTON, Torres 5 (Jarret Stoll) 3:54
Vancouver outshot the Oilers 6-2 in the period (36-18 total). They were 0-for-1 (0-for-5) on the power play while Edmonton had no power plays (1-for-2). Luongo stopped 14 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson, (2) Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff, (3) Edmonton's Raffi Torres
none for Vancouver
In the faceoff circle, Vancouver won 28 of 59 (47%) draws. Brendan Morrison won five of 15, Rick Rypien lost both of his, Trevor Linden won all four of his, Ryan Kesler won three of 11, Henrik Sedin won 14 of 21, and Jan Bulis won two of six. Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin led the team with five shots apiece. Matt Cooke dished out five hits while Alexandre Burrows dealt out four. Daniel Sedin and Alexander Edler missed the net three times each.
There would be no plusness for the Canucks in this game. At minus-1 were Mattias Ohlund, Morrison, Willie Mitchell, and Kesler. At minus-2 were Bieksa, Lukas Krajicek, Naslund, and Henrik Sedin. The lone minus-3 was Daniel Sedin. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The loss, also doubling as Roloson's fourth career shutout against Vancouver, put the Canucks at 13-14-1 (4-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 28 points. In the Northwest Division, they lie in third place, three points behind first-place Edmonton and one point behind second-place Minnesota. They are one point ahead of fourth-place Calgary and fifth-place Colorado. Anaheim is running away with the Western Conference with 46 points. Nashville is second with 37 points, and Edmonton is third. Trailing in their respective divisions but having more points than Edmonton are fourth-place San Jose with 40, fifth-place Dallas with 36, and sixth-place Detroit with 32. Minnesota is seventh, Vancouver is eighth, Calgary is ninth, and Colorado is tenth.