Phoenix (OTL) @ Vancouver (W) Final Score: 2-1 (Shootout)
Current Record: 35-15-6
For the Canucks, the month of February really has been one of love; for shootouts that is. Playing their 5th shootout in 6 games, Vancouver managed to eke out a 2-1 shootout win against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Ryan Kesler scored the winner in the sixth round and Roberto Luongo sealed the win when he stopped Boyd Gordon’s backhand attack from in close.
Cody Hodgson, Alexander Edler and David Booth had the other Canucks shootout goals. Booth also had Vancouver’s lone goal in regulation.
Ray Whitney, Gilbert Brule and Mikkel Boedker scored for Phoenix who had their five-game win streak halted.
The Canucks led the Coyotes 1-0 going into the final minutes of the game, but a failed clearance by Vancouver after an icing call led to a Keith Yandle point shot that skipped past Luongo with 2:06 remaining.
Vancouver’s lead came courtesy of Booth who drove the puck to the net on his backhand, before cutting in front of Jason Labarbera on his forehand and slipping it in to the net. Booth has been hot for the Canucks since returning from a knee sprain; he now has 9 points in 11 games since January 15th.
Despite starting the game well with two hard-working shifts, the Canucks were stifled by the suffocating play of Phoenix. They managed just 4 shots in the 1st period and 2 in the 3rd, and were unable to create much in the way of sustained pressure throughout the game.
The game did have its moments however. Cody Hodgson showed flashes of his improved skating ability when he took the puck on an end-to-end rush only to have his attempt stopped by Labarbera.
During the second period, Aaron Rome laid a big hit on Taylor Pyatt; the former Canuck took a hard check along the boards and was slow to get up. He left the game and didn’t return with what is likely an upper-body injury.
The Canucks’ next game is Wednesday as they faceoff against the Colorado Avalanche. Vancouver’s 3-0 against the Avs this year with two shutouts, and more recently, a 3-2 shootout win.
Thoughts on the Game:
– First off, full credit to Phoenix, they’ve found a way to be successful, something that a lot of teams find much harder to do, with considerably more talented players. I’d admire the way they play a lot more if it wasn’t so completely boring to watch.
– That end-to-end rush by Hodgson was a thing of beauty. I never really understood why people ragged on him so much for his skating ability. The guy’s a hard worker and it has shown in the strides (pun intended) he’s made in that area of his game.
– Perfect use of Booth’s skill set on his goal. The power move almost worked again in the third on the opposite side. It would be nice to see him drive to the net more rather than shooting it from wherever.
– Someone needs to explain to me Edler’s “trademark” shootout goal (5:13 of the video below). He does that weird thing where he changes his skating motion mid-shot. I guess it throws off the goalie? Nonetheless, it’s great to have some go-to-guys in the shootout now. Hodgson has to be a lock (I believe he’s hit two posts in addition to his 3 goals), Edler’s in there for sure, and the third spot is a toss up between Burrows and Raymond. Booth should make another appearance as well after tonight’s beauty.
– Luongo once again carried us through another game. One save stuck out in particular during the second when a shot deflected off Malhotra’s stick. Luongo’s reaction to it was reminiscent of the one he had to Ben Davis’ Game 6 OT goal last year, but this time he was able to blocker it to the side boards.
– That being said, his alter-ego Babongo showed up yet again. You can fault the Canucks for icing the puck, or failing to clear it out, or the fact that the puck skipped off the ice, but Luongo needs to be way more alert on the play, especially when the Canucks were failing to generate anything offensively. At least it wasn’t the worst goal of the night: