Thursday, November 6, 2008

Canucks Keep Coyotes At Bay Thursday

For the third time in a week, Roberto Luongo chalked up another NHL shut-out. This time, he denied all 28 shots that came his way in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.

It did turn out to be a goaltenders duel as Luongo and his counterpart Ilja Bryzgalov gave their teams every opportunity to collect points at GM Place. The Coyotes #1 netminder stopped 31 Vancouver shots while Luongo wound up collecting his NHL-leading 4th clean sheet on the season, now giving him 42 for his career.

The lone goal that came in this game occured with a little more than eight minutes to go in the first period. Darcy Hordichuk did a great job to get the puck up the left wing to Ryan Kesler. As soon has he crossed the line he fed a pass to Alex Burrows who went towards the net. Instead of shooting, he dropped a pass to a wide open Kevin Bieksa who had joined the rush. Bryzgalov had no chance as Bieksa snapped home his 3rd goal of the season. It also proved to be his first game-winner of the campaign at 11:56.

Bieksa was the best skater on the ice in this game. He racked up 25:16 minutes of ice time, including 7:06 on the power play. While only credited with two shots on net, he was also credited with four attempts that were blocked and three that missed the net. He now leads all Vancouver blue-liners in scoring with three goals and nine assists.

This game should have definitely been more than a 1-0 contest. The Canucks had numerous chances to build on their lead, especially in the middle frame when they didn't allow the Coyotes a shot on net for the first twelve minutes! Mason Raymond had the best chance of them all but Bryzgalov robbed him with a huge glove stop with about eight minutes to go. Raymond in the process saw his four-game point scoring streak come to an end.

The Canucks finished the game going 0-for-7 on the power play while Phoenix went 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Likely because the contest was so close, there wasn't a lot of heavy duty physical play in this game. The lone fight did occur early in the game as Mike Brown went at it with Coyotes sparkplug Daniel Carcillo.

This was not a night to remember for Kyle Turris. The New Westminster-born 19 year-old was a healthy scratch in a game many expected he would play. That's now two straight games Wayne Gretzky has elected to have Turris watch from the press box.

The Canucks (8-6-0) have won four of their last five and are currently 3-1-0 on their current six-game home stand. The club will skate at the Pacific Coliseum on Friday in preparation for their next action which will be Saturday November 8. That night, the Minnesota Wild will make their first appearance at GM Place.

No comments: