Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3rd Period Rally Give Canucks 3rd Straight Win

Scoring six goals on the road is a challenge for any team in the NHL. Scoring four of those six in the final period is something altogether different. The Canucks were able to accomplish both Tuesday night in a 6-4 triumph against the St. Louis Blues.

The home team led 2-0 after the opening period after scoring both goals inside the final two minutes. Steve Wagner was able to get the Blues on the scoreboard with his 2nd of the season by converting on a second opportunity from the top of the left face off circle. Then with time winding down and the Blues on a power play, Brad Boyes was able to one-time a blast from the left side that whistled by Roberto Luongo. For Boyes, it was his team-leading 24th of the year and it came with four seconds left in the period.

The Canucks were able to break the shut-out bid of Chris Mason early on in the middle frame while working on a man advantage. Kevin Bieksa got the puck to the bottom of the right face off circle for Pavol Demitra. His wrist shot rattled off the post but the puck bounced down to a wide open Mats Sundin. He made no mistake stuffing in his 5th of the year and it came at 3:48.

Vancouver would be short-handed a few shifts later and the Blues were able to restore their two-goal lead. A hard shot by Patrik Berglund would be kicked away by Luongo, but the rebound wound up being pounced on by Keith Tkachuk and drilled home for his 17th of the season.

Two minutes later, Sundin picked up his second of the night in nearly the same spot he scored his first. Bieksa let a long wrist shot go from the right boards towards the net. After finding its way through bodies, the puck came to an untouched Sundin who made no mistake. Alexander Edler gets the other assist on Sundin's first multiple-goal game in a Canucks uniform eight minutes into the period.

The score stayed 3-2 in favour of the Blues into the third period, but the Canucks were able to even things up with another goal on the power play. Edler moved the puck to the left point for Demitra, who fed a beautiful cross-zone pass to Kesler. He drilled his 15th of the season at 7:58.

It didn't take long afterwards for St. Louis to get back into the lead as Andy McDonald converted on a shot from between the hash marks. McDonald, playing his first game after missing 36 with a fractured leg, tallied his 7th at 9:26.

After that goal, it was all Canucks as the desperation in their play turned the tide in their favour. Alex Burrows was able to get the all-important equalizer as his wrist shot from low in the left face off circle deflected off of Jeff Woywitka's stick and past Mason on the short side. Mattias Ohlund gets credit for the lone assist on a career-best 13th of the season for Burrows at 11:50.

The Blues then got into some penalty trouble and the Canucks were able to get some momentum on their side. Just as a penalty to Barret Jackman expired, Willie Mitchell let a shot go from the right point. It deflected off of Taylor Pyatt and came to a wide open Jannik Hansen. He had little trouble scooping in his 6th goal of his rookie seaosn, which proved to be his first game-winner of the year. It came at 15:18 as the Canucks now have 14 players who have scored game-clinching goals this season.

Mason was able to get to the Blues bench for the extra attacker late in the period, but the Canucks were able to shut down the St. Louis offense. Henrik Sedin missed two golden opportunities from close range to seal the victory and extend his point scoring streak to seven straight games. Eventually Demitra scored into the empty net to cap off a three-point performance. His unassisted marker came with nine seconds left in the action.

Final shots on goal favoured the Canucks 30-28. The Canucks finished the night going 2-for-5 on the power play while the Blues went 2-for-3.

Now with an overall record of 25-20-8, the Canucks find themselves with 58 points and currently holding down 7th spot in the Western Conference standings. Next up will be a date with the Phoenix Coytoes on Thursday night. Game time at the Arena will be 6:00pm PST.

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