Thursday, December 21, 2006
Two nights earlier, the Canucks lost their fourth consecutive road game, dropping a 5-2 decision to the division rival Minnesota Wild. They had scored a combined six goals over the four losses while giving up 20 goals. In their franchise history, the Canucks had won seven road games against Boston, but had dropped another 38 and tied seven. Roberto Luongo was given some rest from the Vancouver net by coach Alain Vigneault, so Dany Sabourin got the start, further befuddling the Canucks' possible chances at a victory in Beantown. Could the Canucks keep their season record above the .500 mark? On the Canuck radio side, it was CHUM Radio's Day of Giving to support Canuck Place.
Rory Fitzpatrick went to the box just 2:05 into the game for a hook. On the ensuing Boston power play, Glen Murray in the high slot one-timed a shot off Dany Sabourin's left shoulder and it went wide. The puck went behind the net and found its way to Marc Savard along the right-wing boards, who faked a slap shot and passed to Marco Sturm on the goal line to the right of the net. Sturm quickly passed across the ice down low to Patrice Bergeron, who snapped the puck through a fairly open stick side on Sabourin.
»» 1, BOSTON, powerplay, Patrice Bergeron 11 (Marco Sturm, Marc Savard) 3:14
A little over three minutes later, Brendan Morrison on the right wing fed Matt Cooke skating down the slot, who went to the backhand but was absolutely robbed by the glove of Tim Thomas moving back into the net. With eight minutes left in the period, Jan Bulis took a hooking penalty, but Trevor Linden went off for two (unsportsmanlike) and ten (misconduct), giving Boston a full two minutes of five-on-three. Savard had a pass across to Bergeron tipped away, but Zdeno Chara and Glen Murray played some catch up high before Murray ripped a slap shot from the left side that beat Sabourin.
»» 2, BOSTON, powerplay, Glen Murray 18 (Zdeno Chara, Savard) 12:20
On yet another Boston power play late in the period, Sabourin made saves on a tipped slap shot from up high by Chara as well as a one-timer from the back of the left circle off the stick of Bergeron. Boston outshot the Canucks 13-12 in the period. They were 2-for-5 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2.
Early in the period, Lukas Krajicek had a shot from the left point fail to get through, and Ryan Kesler got the puck down low and backhanded it toward the goal, but Thomas stopped it. Late in the period, Jeff Hoggan got the puck after Trevor Linden turned it over, and he took it down the ice. Hoggan got past Kevin Bieksa before trying to go short (stick) side on Sabourin, who closed up to deny Hoggan. With two minutes left in the period, Jan Bulis shot from the high slot and rang a puck off the post. On the same possession, Alexandre Burrows shot from the back of the left circle and had it stopped by Thomas, who gave up a rebound at which Canuck players in front took many hacks. This ticked off Thomas, who wanted a piece of Burrows and Josh Green immediately after the play. Vancouver outshot the Bruins 13-6 in the period (25-19 overall). They were 0-for-1 (0-for-3) on the power play while Boston also was 0-for-1 (2-for-6).
On a Vancouver power play about seven minutes into the period, Mattias Ohlund in the high slot quickly fed Linden down low to Thomas' immediate right, but Thomas moved from left to right and completely closed off that part of the net, so Linden suddenly had nowhere to shoot and was easily stopped. In the dying seconds of the same power play, Markus Naslund on the goal line on the right side centered to Taylor Pyatt down low, whose shot was stopped. Krajicek jumped up into the play and was stopped on the rebound, and Ohlund up high got a loose puck on the same possession and had a shot stopped. Krajicek had a shot from the left wing stopped seconds later. In effect, Tim Thomas stood on his head for the entire game. Vancouver whitewashed Boston 14-0 on shots to no avail (39-19 total). They were 0-for-3 (0-for-6) on the power play and Boston didn't get a power play, finishing 2-for-6. Sabourin stopped 17 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Boston's Tim Thomas, (2) Boston's Zdeno Chara, (3) Bieksa
none for Vancouver
In the faceoff circle, Vancouver won 24 of 52 draws (46%). Brendan Morrison won five of 11, Trevor Linden split four, Ryan Kesler won five of 15, Marc Chouinard won three of seven, and Henrik Sedin won nine of 14. Kevin Bieksa led the team with six shots and Sami Salo had five. Kesler delivered three hits. Rory Fitzpatrick blocked a pair of shots. Linden missed the net twice with shots.
This shaped out to be the most boring game of the year in terms of plus-minus for the Canucks since they didn't score any goals and the only goals they gave up were both on the power play. Thus, all Canuck skaters had an even rating on the night.
The loss dropped Vancouver to a record of 17-17-1 (5-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 35 points. This leaves them still last in the Northwest Division, three points back of division-leading Edmonton, two back of Calgary, and one behind both Minnesota and Colorado (the Wild have a game in hand on Colorado). In the West, only the Pacific Division teams and Nashville have played as many or more games than Vancouver. Anaheim has a vast lead with their 60 points, Nashville is second with 49, and Edmonton is third. San Jose is fourth with 48 (second in the Pacific), Detroit is fifth with 44 (second in the Central), Dallas is sixth with 44 (third in the Pacific), Calgary is seventh, Minnesota is eighth, Colorado is ninth, and Vancouver is tenth. Vancouver has a one-point lead on Chicago, who has two games in hand.