Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In their last game on home ice before the Christmas break, the Vancouver Canucks made the most of their match-up against the Anaheim Ducks by skating away with a 4-3 win at GM Place Monday night. It was Vancouver’s fourth straight victory against a Pacific Division opponent.

The Ducks wound up opening the scoring on a first period power play. Ryan Getzlaf found a wide open Bobby Ryan at the side of the net and he had little trouble snapping a one-timer past goalie Curtis Sanford. Scott Neidermeyer collects the other assist on Ryan’s 5th of the season at 8:32.

The remainder of the period was dominated by the Canucks who wound up getting the equalizer with a power play goal of their own. Mason Raymond was able to scoop in a rebound on a back-handed opportunity from the top of the crease. Mattias Ohlund and Steve Bernier collect the helpers on Raymond’s first goal in eight games. It turned out to be his 8th of the season at 12:51.

Before the period was out, Vancouver took the lead on another power play. Bernier’s shot wound up being denied by goalie Jonas Hiller, but the rebound chance by Ryan Kesler made its way through the pads of the netminder. Kesler’s 100th NHL point proved to be his 8th of the season at 17:53.

The Ducks kept getting into penalty trouble in the second period and that turned the tide in favour of the Canucks. After having a couple of close range chances denied, Daniel Sedin was able to give Vancouver a two-goal lead. Rob Davison’s shot from the point would be deflected out of mid-air by the Canucks leading scorer. Henrik Sedin notches the other assist on Daniel’s 16th of the year at 4:35.

Vancouver looked to put the game out of reach in the early going of the final frame. Former Vancouver Giants captain Brett Festerling turned the puck over in the neutral zone to Daniel, who broke in free on a breakaway. His move to the backhand gave Hiller no chance. It was his second of the game and team-leading 17th of the year. What proved to be the game-winner came at 6:31.

Samuel Pahlsson looked to have gotten the Ducks back on the scoreboard in the third period, but his goal was waved off as he was said to have kicked it into the Vancouver net. Shortly afterwards, while on a two-man advantage, Anaheim did get back into the game on a pretty passing play. Ryan found Perry in the left face off circle, who wound up finding a wide open Scott Neidermeyer beside the crease. He had little trouble burying his 4th of the year at 11:33.

The Ducks made things interesting with under seven minutes to go in the game. Ryan’s dump in to the Canucks zone was deflected off the stick of Kevin Bieksa. In mid-air, Perry batted it down to Pahlsson, who snapped it underneath Sanford. For Pahlsson, it was just his 3rd goal of the season and it had Anaheim within a goal of the Canucks at 13:02.

Anaheim pressed for the remainder of the final period, but were unable to get the equalizer as the Canucks hung on for the one-goal win. Final shots on net did favour the Ducks 27-26. In a penalty-filled game, the Canucks finished the game going 2-for-8 on the power play while the Ducks went 2-for-5.

Having improved their record to 19-2-3, the Canucks get set to play their final game before the brief holiday break Tuesday night in San Jose against the Pacific Division leading Sharks. Game time from the HP Pavillion is 7:00pm PST.

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