Game Recap: Vancouver @ Phoenix

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Van-PHX

After having a perfect 26-0-0 record leading after two periods, the Canucks have now lost two straight games, this time surrendering the win in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Mikkel Boedker scored the shootout winner while Ray Whitney had a big night for the Coyotes, beating Cory Schneider with the first shot of the shootout and midway through the third period to tie the game up.

Alexander Edler had the Canucks lone goal, scoring on the powerplay during the first period. His shot from the side boards deflected twice off of Phoenix defensemen Adrian Aucoin and Chris Summers before sailing past goalie Mike Smith.

Despite the lead, the Canucks were unable to manufacture very much offense, as the Coyotes limited their shots to the perimeter. When Vancouver was able to get a good chance, Smith was there to shut the door, most notably on a quick 2-on-1 break between Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian where Smith made stops on both wingers.

The Coyotes would eventually tie the game with 10:17 remaining in the third period. Keith Yandle’s slap shot on Schneider from centre ice rebounded straight to Whitney, who backhanded the puck through Schneider’s legs for his 19th goal of the season.

With overtime failing to yield a winner, the game went to a shootout. With the first shot, Whitney slalomed in on Schneider and promptly wired the puck over his shoulder. Edler and Vrbata both had their attempts stopped before Mason Raymond tried his patented spin-o-rama, but Smith was wise to the move and stuck his left pad out to prevent the puck from sliding in. Boedker then iced the game with a pretty triple deke that fooled Schneider completely.

The loss brings the Canucks road trip to a close with a record of 3-1-2. They now head back home to faceoff against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

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Thoughts on the Game:

–       For all the fan fare that ageless wonder Teemu Selanne gets, Ray Whitney should be getting A LOT of attention as well. The 39 year old has 57 points in 62 games and 14 points in his last 15 games. He was a constant threat tonight and deserves some credit for the quality of his game so late in his career.

–       I’ve been a staunch defender of Mason Raymond in the past but as time goes on, it’s getting harder and harder to find much positives to say. Plus the ones that are repeated (good speed, good at retaining the puck) aren’t yielding any results. Tonight in particular, he had poor shot selection and I counted at least 6 times where he fell during the game, not including his tumble after his failed shootout attempt. I can see why Dallas wanted more than just Raymond for Ott.

–       Now for the two newest Canucks. First up… Sami Pahlsson. He was rather unnoticeable which is probably a good thing considering his skill set, however it would’ve been nice to see him win more than 4/8 faceoffs especially when most of them are coming in the defensive zone. It’ll be easier to judge his performances when we play against teams with more offensive talent and eventually, in the playoffs. One thing to note on Pahlsson: he’s a career -74 in the regular season. In the playoffs, he’s +10.

–       For a first game with an new organization having traveled the day before, Zack Kassian acquitted him self rather well. He had five hits, made some good passes and wasn’t a liability in his own zone. There were some good moments (picking off a clearance at the blue line and creating a two-on-one) and some bad (taking a penalty late in the game). We saw some good instances of his ability to use his size to protect the puck and he had opportunities to score. If continues to play like he did tonight, he’ll likely win over a lot of those who are still mourning the loss of the man who’s number he took.

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