Friday, October 17, 2008

Canucks Fall To Sabres Friday

Penalty trouble and missed opportunities haunted the Canucks Friday night in Buffalo. The Sabres jumped out to a 3-0 lead after twenty minutes which spring-boarded them to a 5-2 win at the HSBC Arena.

The Canucks found themselves down 2-0 on back-to-back power play tallies by Jaroslav Spacek and Clarke MacArthur in the opening 8:30 of the game. Ales Kotalik scored on a long range shot with less than seven minutes to go in the period as his attempt squeeked through the pads of Curtis Sanford.

Ryan Kesler got the Canucks on the board with an ideal start early in the second period as his shot from the right wing beat goalie Ryan Miller high on the short side. A real back-breaking goal for the visitors came just past the midway point of the middle period. Spacek blocked a clearing attempt at the Canucks blue line and his shot towards the goal came to the stick of Thomas Vanek. While at the top of the crease, he was able to get the puck to his back-hand and roof a shot under the cross bar. Vanek, who was the best player on the ice, netted his league-leading 5th of the season.

Vancouver had a couple of great chances to make a game of it before the period was over. While on a power play, Pavol Demitra had a close chance beside the net ring off the cross bar. Then with time winding down, Jannik Hansen missed a glorious chance on a one-timer after taking a great pass on a 2-on-1 rush with Alex Burrows.

The Canucks did get to within two after Daniel and Henrik Sedin were put on different lines to start the third period. Daniel was replaced by Mason Raymond, and he wound up playing on a line with Henrik and Steve Bernier. After good work on the end boards by Raymond and Sedin, Bernier one-timed a shot from the top of the crease behind Miller.

Eventually the home club got their three-goal lead back as Kotalik wired home a drive from the hash marks past Sanford. Vanek got the lone assist, which proved to be his third point of the game.

Final shots did favour the Sabres by a margin of 31-25. Vancouver went 0-for-3 on the power play while the Sabres went 2-for-5. The Canucks are now a combined 2-for-25 on the power play through their first five games this season. Meantime the Sabres continued their read-hot penalty killing, now going a perfect 18-for-18 through their first four straight victories.

The Canucks will have Saturday off as they prepare to carry on their road trip into Chicago where they’ll play the Blackhawks on Sunday. Game time is 4:00pm PST.

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