The Vancouver Canucks continued their winning ways on Sunday night, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 at Rogers Arena for their fourth straight win. Mike Santorelli led the way with two goals and an assist, while Roberto Luongo came 7.1 seconds away from his third shutout of the season.
Mike Santorelli opened the scoring for the Canucks with a nifty backhand shot right in front of the crease to give Vancouver the early 1-0 lead at 5:34. The play developed with hustle from Chris Higgins who set up the goal with a nice pass. The goal was Santorelli’s seventh of the season.
Colorado was given the game’s first power play opportunity after Kevin Bieksa was sent off for tripping. The advantage would be short lived however as John Mitchell was called off just seventeen seconds later.
Jannik Hansen nearly gave the Canucks a two-goal lead in the final moments of the period. Hansen found himself in front of the net and nearly deflected a goal in off his skate, but the puck was kept out of the net at the last moment, keeping the score 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
The Canucks were given an opportunity nine minutes into the second period when they were given their first full power play of the game, but nothing would come of the two-minute advantage. Stop me if you’ve heard that narrative before.
Vancouver wasted no time scoring in the third period as Ryan Kesler popped out from behind the net to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead just over ninety seconds in. Kesler patiently controlled the puck behind the net where he camped out until the right moment when Santorelli and Higgins set up Kesler for his 15th goal of the year. Kesler has been playing out of his mind recently, scoring five goals in the past four games.
Vancouver took advantage of a two-on-one rush with Santorelli taking it all the way in off a pass up ice from Jason Garrison, sniping a wrist shot past J.S. Giguere for his second goal of the night. The goal would give the Canucks a comfortable 3-0 lead with 11 minutes to play. The rush was thanks in large part to Santorelli and Nick Holden collided, with Holden going down and Santorelli maintaining his balance. Tyson Barrie had the passing lane covered, so Santorelli just took it himself, which worked out quite nicely.
The Canucks were given their third power play opportunity with just over eight minutes to go (really their second, the first one was only 17 seconds) when Cliché was sent off for a delay of game penalty. Such a cliché move trying to keep us here longer than we need to be (I’ll show myself out now). Surprise, surprise though as the Canucks came up empty again.
Giguere was pulled with four minutes to go. But in typical Canucks fashion, even with no one blocking the net, Vancouver couldn’t manage to scrap together a goal, but guess who could? Yes sir, the Avalanche broke up Roberto Luongo’s shutout bid with 7.1 seconds to play off a wrist shot from Jamie McGinn. What a grinch…
Vancouver is right back at it tomorrow night to take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Arena before another back-to-back set of games on Friday and Saturday against the Oilers and Bruins, respectively, to wrap up the five game homestand.