Sunday, March 15, 2009

Canucks Double Up Avs For 9th Straight Win

Not too long ago, the Canucks found themselves trying to snap a nine game home-ice winless skid. Now Vancouver hockey fans have seen their team post nine wins in a row at GM Place. On a night which saw the Canucks play in front of their 250th straight sell-out crowd, the home team skated away with a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Canucks were up 3-0 after the 1st period, a score line that flattered the Avs. Kyle Wellwood opened the scoring for Vancouver on the power play as he deflected in a point shot by Ryan Kesler. Pavol Demitra collected his fouth assist in his last three straight games as Wellwood converted his 16th goal of the season at 2:50.

Alex Burrows nearly made 2-0 for the Canucks while the home team was short-handed but his breakaway chance rattled off the post behind netminder Andrew Raycroft. However Burrows was able to get back into a good position to take a pass from Kesler and scoop in a second chance. Burrows, who has scored four short-handed goals this year, now has goals in four straight games. His 22nd of the year came at 7:25.

Taylor Pyatt capped off the scoring for the Canucks in the opening frame as he finished off a nice passing play on the rush from Burrows and Ryan Johnson. Pyatt's 9th of the year came at 15:18. Both Burrows and Kesler each had great chances before the period was out, but Raycroft did his part to keep the scoreboard respectable.

The shut-out bid of Roberto Luongo wound up being broken early on in the 2nd period as the Avs went to work on a power play. John-Michael Liles got the puck to the right point for Ruslan Selei who wound up firing one toward the net. His shot took a deflection off Ryan Smyth and found the back of the Canucks net. Smyth nets his 25th of the year at 4:36.

The remainder of the middle period was pretty sloppy as neither team really generated any high quality opportunities. Early on in the 3rd period, Colorado got to within a goal on a lucky bounce. Luongo attempting to play the puck behind his net wound up giving it away to Darcy Tucker. Attempting to find a team mate in front, Tucker's pass wound up deflecting off Luongo and in. Liles and Scott Hannan chip in on Tucker's 8th of the year just 14 seconds into the period.

Vancouver did buckle down defensively for the remainder of the game and didn't give their opponets that much. Eventually the Canucks did get their two-goal lead back late in the contest and it came on another man advantage. Alexander Edler's point shot wound up re-directing off Hannan in front of the Avs net. Edler's 9th of year at 18:47 was assisted by Kesler and Mattias Ohlund. With that assist, Ohlund now becomes the Canucks all-time leader in points for a Canucks defenceman with 322.

Final shots on net did favour Vancouver by a margin of 23-20. The Canucks capped off the night going 2-for-6 on the power play while the Avalanche went 1-for-7.

Now with an overall record of 36-23-9, the Canucks have 81 points. They are just two behind the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth spot in the Western Conference. Next up for Vancouver will be a meeting at GM Place against the Dallas Stars. Game time Tuesday night will be 7:00pm PST.

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