Sunday, December 14, 2008

Canucks Recharge Against Florida

On the heels of a disappointing seven game road trip, the Canucks returned home to post a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was a big night for Vancouver's special teams, as they scored twice on the power play and once short-handed as part of a four-goal second period.

The Panthers, who had gone 7-1-2 in their last ten games, were able to build up a 2-0 lead less than seven minutes into the action. Nick Boyton's point shot made its way through traffic and got underneath Cory Schneider at 4:02. Then Panthers leading scorer Jay Bouwmeester scooped in a loose puck in a goal mouth scramble for his 6th of the season.

Before the period was over the Canucks were able to pull within a goal. Ryan Kesler forced a turnover inside the Panthers zone and found Darcy Hordichuk alone in the right face off circle. His snap shot made its way over the shoulder of netminder Craig Anderson. Hordichuk's 3rd of the season came at 12:42.

Vancouver dominated the middle frame, one that saw them out-shoot the opposition 18-5. Pavol Demitra got things going as he pounced on a Karlis Skrastins turnover beside the goal and tucked it inside the post. His 9th of the year came unassisted at 5:25. Demitra then gave the Canucks the lead as his intended pass to the goal mouth deflected off Bouwmeester's skate and behind Anderson. Mason Raymond and Alexander Edler collect the helpers on the power play at 11:17.

The goal that turned out to the game winner was a beautiful finish on the man advantage. After receiving a pass in the slot from Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin through a high feed to Kyle Wellwood in front. He made no mistake batting it home for his 12th of the year. It was also his third game-winner marker of the campaign at 12:47.

Less than a minute later, the Canucks capped off their scoring while Florida had a power play. Kevin Bieksa was able to find Kesler behind the Panthers defence and he wound up cashing in on a nice finish to the backhand. Kesler, who had gone 14 games without scoring, chipped in his 6th of the year. It was also Vancouver's fourth short-handed goal of the season and it came at 13:25.

The Panthers managed to score the only goal of the third period as Michael Frolik slid home a chance at the top of the crease. His third goal at 6:14 would be the final goal scored by the Panthers, who have not won a game in Vancouver since March of 1994!

The Canucks wound up out-shooting the Panthers 30-21 on a night which saw Vancouver go 2-for-6 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Now with an overall record of 17-11-3, the Canucks will get set to play the Edmonton Oilers at GM Place on Wednesday. It's sure to be a night to remember as Canucks fans will see the #16 jersery belonging to Trevor Linden retired to the rafters. Game time is 7:30pm PST.

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