The Canucks had plenty of chances to win against the Avalanche on Sunday, but costly turnovers led to a 4-3 loss on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Just 1:50 into the game, Kevin Bieksa attempted to dump the puck out of the corner, but wound up passing it right to Gabriel Landeskog. As soon as he handled the puck, Cory Schneider had no time to adjust as Landeskog scored his eighth goal of the year. While on the power play with six minutes remaining in the first period, Alex Burrows delivered a perfect centering pass to Daniel Sedin who barely missed the chance to tie the game. In the final two minutes, Bieksa nearly tied up the game as he sent a slap shot off the post. The Avalanche would hold the one goal lead through the first period.
At 15:30 in the second period, Maxim Lapierre tied up the game with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle. Two minutes later, Daniel Sedin was able to slip the puck past a diving Greg Zanon to Jannik Hansen. Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere had no time to adjust as Hansen tapped the puck in to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
Schneider would struggle in the third period, starting with an early goal from Cory McLeod two minutes into the final stanza, tying the game at two goals each. Less than two minutes later, the Canucks answered back with a blistering slap shot from Jason Garrison to take back the lead. Colorado would answer back with a game-tying goal from P.A. Parenteau with 7:03 remaining. With overtime looming, Jan Hejda blasted a game-winning goal with 7.6 seconds remaining on the clock. The goal was Hejda's first of the season.
Cory Schneider made 22 saves during the loss. Schneider missed one game due to the flu. Schneider still looked strong for much of the night. The opening goal would have been prevented with a smarter pass from Bieksa, but sometimes you'll just have those kinds of mistakes where all you can really do is shake your head and move on.
The loss proves that even against the Avalanche, who sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with 34 points, you can't take opponents for granted. Vancouver made some fundamental mistakes that will hurt them much worse than this loss once the playoffs role around.
It's looking more and more likely that the Canucks will head into the playoffs as a 3-seed. While Minnesota is only 5 points behind the Canucks in the standings, with seven games left for both teams, and the Wild dropping five of their last seven games, Vancouver should be able to take the division, pending of course they can avoid these sloppy losses. If the season ended today, Vancouver would face St. Louis in the opening round. The Blues won the first matchup of the season on February 17 in a shoot out, 4-3. The Canucks answered back with a 3-2 win on March 19. The two teams will face off once more on Tuesday in St. Louis.