Saturday, December 09, 2006


Reuters photo -- Patrick Price

One night earlier, the Canuck power play saw the addition of Yannick Tremblay, recently called up from Manitoba. The Canucks ended up beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime, scoring all four goals on the power play. The Canucks' hoped to carry the momentum into Cowtown, where the Calgary Flames were looking to extend their home win streak to nine games. A Calgary win would also extend their tear to 11 wins in 14 games. All in all, the Canucks and Flames were about to get really familiar with each other as the December schedule had them cross paths four times. One more matchup would occur on January 2 in Calgary. Vancouver was looking for its first win streak since a three-gamer, the third win of which was in Detroit. The streak was snapped the next night when Dany Sabourin got a rare start and was eviscerated in Nashville. As always, the level of concern goes up with a matchup against a Northwest Division team since every point is crucial. Every point is even more crucial since all the other teams in the division have games in hand on the Canucks.

1st period
Early in the period after two blown Vancouver clearing attempts, Kristian Huselius had the puck near the left hash and spotted Chuck Kobasew at the side of the net, who put a shot onto Roberto Luongo that was stopped. The rebound went to the slot, where Huselius skated to it, took it toward the goal line on Luongo's left, waited, then flipped a backhand through.
»» 1, CALGARY, powerplay, Kristian Huselius 10 (Chuck Kobasew, Robyn Regehr) 4:59
On a Vancouver power play, Henrik Sedin bided his time on the right-wing boards before slipping a cross-ice pass to Kevin Bieksa, who one-timed a sharp-angle shot that hit the post instead of the net or Miikka Kiprusoff. The rebound, however, was easy pickings for Daniel Sedin, who put it into the net.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Daniel Sedin 9 (Kevin Bieksa, Henrik Sedin) 15:00
Even later in the period, Roman Hamrlik faked a shot that Kevin Bieksa dove down to block, but then Hamrlik shot over it. The puck went off the shaft of Dion Phaneuf's stick and into the net behind Luongo.
»» 3, CALGARY, powerplay, Dion Phaneuf 6 (Roman Hamrlik, Jarome Iginla) 18:03
Calgary badly outshot the Canucks 17-6 in the period. They were 2-for-6 on the power play while Vancouver was 1-for-2.

2nd period
Jarome Iginla took the puck along the end boards on the left side and drove to the net untouched, getting more than enough chances to jam the puck through Luongo.
»» 4, CALGARY, Iginla 16 (Alex Tanguay, Daymond Langkow) 6:06
With about 13 minutes left, Bieksa managed a decent rush with Jan Bulis and Henrik Sedin, but his shot was stopped. Near the halfway point, Byron Ritchie took the puck from the right-wing boards to the end boards, skating toward the net. He then made the quick pass to Matthew Lombardi on the goal line, who skated the short distance to the net and put it through Luongo as the Canucks defensively were discombobulated. Luongo was pulled from the net and spared further carnage as backup Dany Sabourin replaced him in the net.
»» 5, CALGARY, Matthew Lombardi 9 (Byron Ritchie, Huselius) 9:43
On the ensuing faceoff after the Lombardi goal, Tyler Bouck tried to get the Canucks going by engaging in a fight with Brandon Prust. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Bouck was pounded pretty well by Prust, possibly magnifying how badly the Canucks were being outplayed at the time. With just short of nine minutes left, a Calgary clearing attempt was picked off, resulting in a decent high-slot chance for Alexandre Burrows. Burrows' shot was deflected over the glass by Kiprusoff. Not long after, Matt Cooke lined up Phaneuf for a hit along the end boards in the Calgary zone. On a late Calgary power play, Huselius centered across to Kobasew down low, but Sabourin made the very nice save.
Calgary outshot the Canucks 14-11 in the period (31-17 overall). They were 0-for-1 (2-for-7) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2 (1-for-4).

3rd period
Bulis was near the end boards in the Calgary zone when he was hit from behind by Andrew Ference with no resulting whistle. The puck found its way to Henrik Sedin in the corner, who dished to brother Daniel Sedin on the left wing. Daniel passed back to Henrik as Bulis in the meantime had moved in front of Kiprusoff. Henrik centered to Bulis, who snapped it past Kiprusoff, then had words with the officials for the no-call on the hit from behind.
»» 6, VANCOUVER, Jan Bulis 5 (H Sedin, D Sedin) 5:45
On a Vancouver power play, Kiprusoff had just made a shaky save, and the puck stayed in the Vancouver zone. Brendan Morrison at the left point passed to Bieksa at the right point. Bieksa flung the puck to the net with a screen about to materialize, and it went in off of Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr.
»» 7, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Bieksa 5 (Brendan Morrison) 10:41
The Canucks had run out of life, however. With Sabourin pulled, they got the puck into the Calgary zone but lost control of it as Iginla cleared it to center, then Tanguay shot from just beyond the Vancouver blue line on the left side and found the empty net.
»» 8, CALGARY, emptynet, Tanguay 6 (Iginla) 19:24
Vancouver outshot the Flames 12-7 in the period but were outshot 38-29 for the game. They were 1-for-1 (2-for-5) on the power play while the Flames didn't get a power play in the period and finished 2-for-7 on the man advantage. Luongo stopped 20 of 24 before being pulled in the second period, and Sabourin stopped all 13 shots he faced thereafter.

Three stars -- (1) Calgary's Jarome Iginla, (2) Bieksa, (3) Calgary's Matthew Lombardi

skater, goals-assists-points
Bieksa 1-1-2
D Sedin 1-1-2
H Sedin 0-2-2
Bulis 1-0-1
Morrison 0-1-1

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 38 of 72 draws (53%). Brendan Morrison won eight of 17, Trevor Linden won two of four, Ryan Kesler won seven of 14, Marc Chouinard won 13 of 19, and Henrik Sedin won seven of 16. Kevin Bieksa led the team with five shots while Yannick Tremblay and Henrik Sedin had three each. Bieksa delivered three hits and Alexander Edler dished out two. Markus Naslund coughed up the puck twice. Willie Mitchell blocked three shots. Lukas Krajicek and Edler missed the net with three shots apiece.

In plus-minus, there wasn't a lot of plus for Vancouver. Edler was the only plus-skating Canuck, getting a plus-1 rating for the night. At minus-1 were Mattias Ohlund, Morrison, Linden, Daniel Sedin, Matt Cooke, and Lee Goren. At minus-2 were Krajicek, Naslund, and Tremblay. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The loss dropped the Canucks' division record to 2-8-1 and their overall to 14-15-1 (5-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 29 points. In the Northwest Division, they are in fourth place, trailing first-place Edmonton and second-place Minnesota by five points (Edmonton has the edge on games remaining) and third-place Calgary by two points. They lead last-place Colorado by a single point. In the Western Conference, the only teams to have played the same number of games or more games than Vancouver are the four teams in the Pacific Division not named Phoenix. All other teams in the West have games in hand on Vancouver. Anaheim is still running away with the conference with 52 points. Nashville is second with 39 and Edmonton is third with their 34. Trailing their divisions but having more points than Nashville and/or Edmonton are fourth-place San Jose with 42, fifth-place Dallas with 40, and sixth-place Detroit with 38. Minnesota is seventh, Calgary is eighth, Vancouver is ninth, and Colorado is tenth.

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