Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kings Blanked @ Home By Canucks Thursday

Solid special teams and great goaltending helped the Vancouver Canucks get back to the 500-mark Thursday night as they posted a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.

Vancouver had pretty good control of this game after the opening 20 minutes. The Canucks were able to convert on one of their opening three power plays in the first six minutes of the contest. Daniel Sedin was able to jab in a loose rebound in the crease that had been given up by goalie Jason LaBarbera. Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa get credit for the other assists on Daniel's 3rd of the season at 5:09.

For about a good 8-10 minute stretch the Kings dominated play and were a bit unlucky to have not scored. While on the man advantage, Peter Harrold had a shot through traffic hit the post. Then after being awarded a penalty shot, Alexander Frolov failed to beat netminder Roberto Luongo.

With just over a minute remaining in the frame, the Canucks built on their lead and it came as the two teams skated 4-on-4. Mason Raymond was able to dance around Kings rookie forward Oscar Moller and wound up snapping a shot past LaBarbera. Alexander Edler and Jannik Hansen helped Raymond tally his 4th of the season at 18:53.

Luongo did his part to keep the Canucks in the lead in the middle stanza as Vancouver was short-handed three times in the period. His best stop came off of Dustin Brown in close quarters just past the midway point of the frame.

Shortly after, the Canucks were able to work a power play of their own and wasted little time converting. Good work by the Sedins to corral the puck from behind the net into the slot. Eventually left all alone beside the net was Kyle Wellwood, who had little trouble snapping home his 3rd power play goal of the campaign at 12:20.

Steve Bernier was a bit unlucky not to have given the Canucks a four-goal lead heading into the intermission break but his shot that beat LaBarbera didn't beat the clock in time before the final buzzer went.

Vancouver eventually made it a 4-0 contest in the third period. Sami Salo moved the puck to the left point for Willie Mitchell who took a shot towards the net. The puck would be deflected out of the air by the stick of Taylor Pyatt and it wound up bouncing underneath LaBarbera. Pyatt's first goal of the season came at 6:13.

Luongo had to do his part down the stretch to preserve his shut-out. He best save came with Moller free at the top of the crease on the power play as he robbed the former Chilliwack Bruins sniper of a sure goal in close.

The Canucks wound up getting out-shot 28-18 on the night in a game which saw Vancouver go 2-for-6 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Edler and Bieksa were far and away the most productive defensemen in this game for the Canucks. Each player was one the ice for three of the four goals and the two combined for 49:32 of ice time.

The new-look #1 power play unit wasn't too shabby for the Canucks in this game. The line of Wellwood working along-side the Sedins caused some fits for the Kings penalty killers and could have easily scored more than just twice with the extra skater.

Luongo as mentioned off the top was very strong to earn his second clean-sheet of the year. In his last three starts, he's allowed three goals on 82 shots.

Vancouver (5-5-0) will wrap up their first back-to-back games stretch of the year Friday night with a Halloween match-up against the Ducks in Anaheim. The Ducks (6-5) are the NHL's hottest team right now, having won their last five straight. They're also the most penalized team in the league, having been short-handed an average of six times per game this season. Their most recent effort was a 5-4 win in overtime at home Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings. The top guns of the Ducks were rolling that night as Teemu Selanne had a hat-trick (all on the power play) while Ryan Getzlaf chipped in with a franchise-record five assists.

Game time between the Canucks and the Ducks is 7:00pm PST.

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