Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Canucks Pull Out Comeback Shoot-Out Win

Another night on the road...and another evening where the Canucks didn't make things easy on themselves to get two points. For the first time in more than 3 1/2 months, the Canucks took home two points via a shoot-out as they came from behind Tuesday night to defeat the Calgary Flames 4-3.

This was a real goaltenders duel and some of Roberto Luongo's best efforts came early on in the game. He robbed Curtis Glencross with a save off his arm four minutes into the action and then stoned Matthew Lombardi in close with the two teams skating 4-on-4. Eventually the Flames did open the scoring as Jarome Iginla made no mistake from the bottom of the left face off circle with a snap shot. Craig Conroy and Rene Bourque get the helpers as Iginla snaps a seven-game goal-less drought with this 21st of the season at 9:51.

In the final two minutes of the period, Kyle Wellwood was called for a high sticking penalty in the Flames end. It just happened to be his first minor penalty in 160 games, dating back to April of 2006! However the Canucks bailed him out as Ryan Kesler was able to deposit a shot on a rebound given up by Mikka Kiprusoff. Alex Burrows get the lone assist on Kesler's 17th of the season with just 15 seconds to go in the period.

Luongo came up big in the middle frame as well as he stoned Lombardi on a breakaway with a swift move to the poke check. Then with the Flames on a power play, Dion Phaneuf wound up being denied on a great glove-handed stop by the Canucks captain.

Late in the period, the Canucks were able to get into the lead on a power play opportunity. Alexander Edler's point shot whistled wide of the target. Steve Bernier got to the loose puck on the end boards and fed it in front to Kesler who wound up whacking it in out of mid-air. His 2nd of the game was also his 7th power play marker of the season. Kesler's 18th came at 17:05.

Just over a minute later the Canucks saw their lead slip away as Damond Langkow was able to stuff in a loose puck at the side of Luongo's crease. Glencross and David Moss pick up the assists on the 18th of the year for Langkow at 18:09.

Bourque got the home team back up by a goal in the third period as he led a 2-on-1 rush with Iginla. His shot squeeked through the pads of Luongo and across the line. Bourque now has 20 goals on the year, all even-strength, as Iginla and Conroy register the helpers at 6:52.

Kiprusoff did his part to keep the Flames in the lead near the midway point of the period. He came up with a big glove save off of Mats Sundin from low in the slot. Then a couple of shifts later, Wellwood was absolutely stone-cold robbed by Kiprusoff as his shot towards an empty net would be denied by the sprawling paddle of the netminder.

Luongo eventually got to the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute and the Canucks were able to get the all-important equalizer. Daniel Sedin and Willie Mitchell worked the puck to the middle of the point for Kevin Bieksa. His blast deflected off of Lombardi and found the back of the net. Bieksa now has nine goals on the season and it was a big one come at 19:10.

Overtime would solve nothing so the two clubs went to a shoot-out against each other for the first time this season. Pavol Demitra was the only shooter to beat Kiprusoff and his snap shot found its way through the five-hole. Kesler wound up being denied by the netminder, but neither Iginla or Mike Cammalleri (both stopped by Luongo), nor Todd Bertuzzi, who hit the post with a move to the back-hand were able to score for the Flames. The Canucks poured off the bench and celebrated Luongo's sixth straight win and Vancouver's first shoot-out victory since last Halloween!

Final shots on net favoured the Canucks 43-41. The Canucks finished the game going 1-for-4 on the power play and went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Now with an overall record of 28-21-8, the Canucks carry on their cross-Canada road trip into the nation's capital on Thursday. Game time against the Ottawa Senators will be 4:30pm PST.

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