Monday, November 24, 2008

Canucks Upend Wings In Overtime

In a tight-checking and disciplined effort on their return to GM Place, the Vancouver Canucks used a power play to their advantage in overtime to post a 3-2 come-from-behind victory against the Detroit Red Wings. This win came in a similar fashion as their road win last week against the Minnesota Wild as goalie Curtis Sanford did his part to collect his 3rd straight victory.

The Canucks did a great job in the early going forechecking the Wings in their own zone and not allowing Detroit much in the way of good scoring chances. However the visitors did get on the score board first as Mikael Samuelsson beat Sanford with a back hand shot high on the short side. Andreas Lilja and Henrik Zetterberg help Samuelsson collect his 5th of the season at 9:22.

With about two minutes remaining in the opening period, Sami Salo had a shot ring off the post and then Jannik Hansen was robbed by a sprawling save made by Red Wings netminder Chris Osgood.

Vancouver used that momentum to carry on into the early part of the middle frame and were rewarded for their efforts. Taylor Pyatt was able to force Jiri Hudler to turn the puck over in the Wings face off circle and wasted no time drilling a wrist shot over the glove side of Osgood. Pyatt's 3rd of the season came unassisted at 2:27.

After that goal, Detroit really dominated play in the Canucks end. Marian Hossa had a couple of great chances in close, but Sanford was equal to the task. Sanford's biggest stop of the period may have came with his team short-handed. A pass out of the corner was deflected off the skate of Willie Mitchell and destined to find the back of the net. However Sanford's quick glove hand grab kept the game tied going into the 3rd period.

The first half of the final stanza was tight-checking and neither team was willing to give up much in the way of great scoring chances. With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, Alex Burrows was put in the penalty box for a hooking call and the Wings made him pay. Pavel Datsyuk let a bullet of a shot go from the right face off circle that went through Mitchell's legs and off the far post and in. Samuellson and Niklas Kronwall get the helpers on the 8th of the season for Datsyuk at 16:25.

Just when it looked like the Canucks were done for the night, Daniel Sedin had other ideas. Salo's drive from the right point would be deflected out of mid-air by Daniel's stick and past Osgood. Mason Raymond chips in the other assist on Daniel's 10th goal of the year. It was also his 400th career NHL point and it occured at 17:35.

Once the game got into OT, the Canucks applied plenty of pressure on the Wings defence. On the opening shift of the extra period, Ryan Kesler had a close goal-mouth chance hit the post while Mattias Ohlund was stoned in close quarters by Osgood.

The Canucks were given a gift a short time later as Johan Franzen was put in the penalty box for an interference call. Daniel worked the puck to the right side of the zone for Pavol Demitra who looked like he might shoot. Instead he fed a cross zone pass for Salo, who whistled home a one-time behind Osgood. The Canucks poured off the bench to celebrate Salo's 2nd of the year at 2:33 and it improved their overtime record to 3-0 on the season. The goal also extended Demitra's point-scoring streak to six straight games (5g,6a).

Vancouver was out-shot in this game 34-24, but they did out-shoot Detroit 8-0 in overtime. Both clubs finished the night going 1-for-3 with the power play.

Mitchell went +2 for the contest, upping his plus-minus rating to +16. He's one plus behind Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL lead in that department. Meantime, Henrik Sedin saw his point scoring streak snap at five straight games (7a).

Now having won four straight, the Canucks record improves to 14-6-2. The club will have a couple of days off for practice in preparation for the next home game which will be Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

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