Saturday, November 1, 2008

Canucks Edge Out Ducks In Shoot Out

This game should have been played on Friday the 13th rather than Halloween. Exciting, sloppy, entertaining, draining: all appropriate words to describe a 7-6 Canucks shoot-out win over the Ducks in Anahiem Friday evening. What was most important for Vancouver was that they earned two points and return home with back-to-back wins from their California road trip.

Anaheim built up a 2-0 lead in the first period with power play goals courtesy of Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne. However, Steve Bernier responded quickly for the Canucks by burying a rebound past J.S. Giguere. Bernier’s 3rd of the season came 19 seconds after Selanne tallied his 7th of the campaign.

After killing off a couple of penalties early in the middle period, the Canucks pulled level. Ryan Kesler rushing to the puck was able to chip it over the netminder from high in the slot. Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen helped Kesler notch his 4th of the year at 7:57.

Vancouver took the lead while having to kill off a double minor high sticking penalty to Sami Salo. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Kevin Bieksa poked the puck up the right side for Burrows who wasted no time blasting a shot behind Giguere. For Burrows, it was his first short-handed goal of the season and 4th overall at 11:23.

The Canucks really took control of the game on back-to-back shifts. First it was Mattias Ohlund snapping home a shot from the right face off circle while on the power play. Salo and Mason Raymond get the helpers on Ohlund’s 2nd of the year at 14:38. That would be the last goal given up by Giguere who wound up being replaced by Jonas Hiller.

The first shot Hiller faced found the back of the net. With Burrows setting a screen in front, Bieksa’s shot from the right point found the top left corner. Hansen picks up the lone assist on Bieksa’s 2nd at 15:19.

Just when it looked like the Canucks had the game in total control, the Ducks were able to rally in a big way. Steve Montador started the comeback by converting a rebound chance given up by Roberto Luongo for his 1st of the year at 15:37. 23 seconds later, Ryan Getzlaf deflected home a shot off the stick of Chris Pronger for his 4th of the season. Then a short time later on the power play, Selanne jumped on a rebound to tie the game up 5-5 with his team-leading 8th of the year, seven of which have come of the man advantage.

The scored stayed the same until the 8:34 mark of the third period when the Canucks cashed in on another power play. Luongo moved the puck to Bieksa in the Vancouver zone, who immediately drilled it up the middle of the ice. His pass missed Bernier, but the Canucks forward caught up to it as it bounced off the end boards and immediately snapped it by Hiller. For Bernier it was his second of the game and 4th of the year.

Anaheim was able to press and force the game to overtime with under a minute to go in the period. With Hiller to the bench for the extra attacker, Corey Perry was able to jab in a shot on the short side of Luongo. Perry, who had already collected four assists on the night, tallied his 3rd goal of the year with 57 seconds left on the clock.

Neither team was able to score in overtime, despite some good back-and-forth end-to-end action in both ends of the rink. What was in store to come was something nobody thought would occur.

The Canucks and Ducks needed 13 shooters each to find a winner. Kyle Wellwood made a beautiful move to open the scoring for the Canucks. Getzlaf who was the second Anaheim shooter beat Luongo. After that, the goaltenders put on a clinic by denying everybody that came their way. Burrows, Raymond, Kesler, Bernier, Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler, Taylor Pyatt, Bieksa, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Johnson, and Salo all failed to beat Hiller. At the other end of the rink, Luongo came up with some huge saves, including big time stops off the likes of Brendan Morrison and Scott Niedermayer.

Eventually Ohlund wound up ripping a snap shot high to the top corner to seal the win for Vancouver. It wasn’t a pretty win, but the Canucks will take it as they collected their first win of the season after allowing the first goal of a game.

The Canucks wound up being out-shot 37-29 through 65 minutes at the Honda Center. Vancouver finished the night going 2-for-5 on the power play while Anaheim went 3-for-9. This was the longest shoot-out in Canucks history

Now with an overall record of 6-5-0, the Canucks will have the day off on Saturday to prepare to host the defending Stanley Cup champions Detroit Red Wings. Sunday evening the Canucks will host the Wings for the first time since pulling out a 4-3 win in overtime at Joe Louis Arena. Game time is 7:00pm PST.

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