Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shut Out Streak Snaps Against Avs

Despite a new franchise record being set for most consecutive minutes without allowing a goal against, the Vancouver Canucks wound up falling 2-1 in a shoot-out Wednesday night against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

Much like the past couple of games at GM Place, this contest was a goaltenders duel. Roberto Luongo and Peter Budaj were both outstanding through 65 minutes of action and certainly gave their respective teams every opportunity to get a maximum two points for their efforts.

The lone goal to beat Luongo in regulation came on a goal mouth scramble during a Colorado power play. Paul Stastny gets credit for the tally at 1:28 of the third period. That officially saw Luongo's club-record shut-out streak come to a hault at a total of 242 minutes and 36 seconds.

Vancouver's lone marker on the night came early in the second period on a penalty shot. After having his stick broken out of his hands while on a clear scoring opportunity, Taylor Pyatt stepped up and whistled one high past Budaj. For Pyatt, it was his first ever penalty shot goal in the NHL and also his 2nd of the season at 2:43.

Luongo was at his busiest at the early and late stages of the game. The Canucks captain stopped every shot he faced in the opening frame, one that saw the Avs lead the shot clock 16-8. However his best efforts came in the third period as he stopped Tyler Arnason from the slot and Wojtek Wolski from the right face off cirlce with 0.7 seconds left on the clock.

At the other end of the rink, Budaj was equally if not better than his counterpart. His best saves came when Vancouver worked a power play around the middle of the third period. Mason Raymond was stoned in close at the beginning of the man advantage before Budaj made a huge cross crease save on Henrik Sedin with 9:30 remaining.

Neither club generated much in the overtime period so the game would be decided in the shoot-out. Kyle Wellwood and Pyatt both missed their opportunities but Alex Burrows kept Vancouver's hopes alive. However Wolski and Marek Svatos were able to get their shots past Luongo and lifted the Avalanche to the extra point.

Final shots on net favoured the visitors by a margin of 34-32. The Canucks, despite generating some great opportunities on the power play, finished the night 0-for-4. Colorado meantime went 1-for-5.

The Canucks (9-6-1) have taken points in six of their last seven games. However there record when scoring the first goal of a game now stands at 8-2-0 while their record when leading after 40 minutes shows up at 5-0-1.

Vancouver will practice Thursday and Friday at GM Place as they prepare to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday afternoon. Game time is at 4:00pm PST.

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