Saturday, November 22, 2008

Canucks End Trip With Character Win Over Pens

The Vancouver Canucks capped off a fantastic road trip Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Despite the loss of team captain Roberto Luongo in the early part of the first period, the Canucks managed to keep their focus and skate away with a 3-1 win over the Penguins, extending their winning streak to three straight games.

The game started off with some fireworks as former Canuck Matt Cooke wound up taking out Alexander Edler at the knees with a low hip check. Cooke was then challenged by Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows to fight but he wanted no part of it. Eventually Burrows took on Brooks Orpik and then Cooke and Hansen went at it. With their scrap being the second of a multiple-fight situation, Cooke and Hansen were each given game misconducts 25 seconds into the contest.

The scariest moments for the Canucks came just prior to the five-minute mark of the period. A shot coming from the point seemed to be going to the left of Luongo. However it took a deflection in the slot and went the opposite direction. Luongo, attempting to go from his left to his right, strained his groin in the process. He needed to be helped off the ice and wound up being replaced for the remainder of the game by Curtis Sanford.

The opening goal of the game came late in the period. After Daniel and Henrik Sedin worked the puck down low to the left corner, Pavol Demitra skated towards the crease. After getting the puck over netminder Dany Sabourin in the crease, he was able to bank it off the goalie’s pads and across the line. For Demitra, it was his 6th goal of the year. It also extends his point-scoring streak to six straight games and it came at 18:05.

Early on in the middle frame, the Canucks built on their lead. Henrik won a face off to his brother Daniel. He wound up driving the net and jabbed it past Sabourin just inside the post. Daniel’s team-leading 9th of the year proved to be his 3rd game-winner of the season as well and it occurred at 6:40.

The Penguins attempt at mounting a comeback came in the opening seconds of the third period. Just as a power play had expired, Mike Zigomanis let a shot go from low in the left face off circle. The puck made its way underneath Sanford and into the Canucks net. Tyler Kennedy and Alex Goligoski get credit for the helpers on the 2nd of the season for Gigomanis just 22 seconds into the frame.

Pittsburgh’s top guns like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora, and Jordan Staal attempted to step up the offence for the remainder of the game, but the Canucks defence did a great job in limiting their chances. Eventually Sabourin wound up being pulled to the bench for the extra attacker and the Pens got the puck in deep. However, Mattias Ohlund threw a crunching body check on Maxime Talbot on the end wall to force a turnover. Henrik wound up chipping the puck up ice for Daniel who broke free on a 2-on-1 rush. He had little trouble dropping a pass to Demitra who slid home the insurance marker Vancouver needed. Demitra’s 2nd of the game and 7th of the season came with 11 seconds to go on the clock.

Final shots on net were tied 19-19. Power plays in the game were not a factor as the Canucks went 0-for-2 and the Pens went 0-for-4.

Now with an overall record of 13-6-2, the Canucks cap off their road trip with a 3-0-1 record. Having not lost a game in regulation since November 2, the Canucks have returned home to prepare to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champs. The Canucks will host the Detroit Red Wings Monday evening, with the face off going at 7:00pm.

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