It might have taken some extra time, but the Canucks survived a shootout (a metaphorical one in this case, not an actual shootout, those usually end in disaster) against the Phoenix Coyotes in a 5-4 win in overtime.
Kevin Bieksa scored both the opening and winning goals while Roberto Luongo stopped 28 shots on goal.
For the Coyotes, Antoine Vermette turned in a hat trick performance. However, one of the goals was deflected off the stick of Ryan Kesler, so I’m going to be a Negative Nancy and credit him with two-and-a-half goals, simply because I feel like it.
The Canucks got their first chance to end their most recent power play drought (two for their last 31 chances, for those of you keeping track at home). It wasn’t pretty though. Acually, it was horrendous. The Canucks never even managed to set up for a shot. Should this really even surprise us at this point? Not at all.
Mere seconds after the end of Vancouver’s power play, the Canucks opened the scoring with a knuckle puck from Kevin Bieksa at the point. Puck on its side, wild trajectory on net, just like Russ Tyler and Gordon Bombay drew it up from the bench.
Just 44 seconds later, Jannik Hansen added another goal for the Canucks off a centering pass from Ryan Kesler, who created the play from the right wing off a Coyotes turnover. Two goals in under a minute? What is this sorcery?
In the blink of an eye, the Coyotes joined in on the scoring party with their first goal of the night. A cross ice pass from David Moss to Antoine Vermette was initially going wide, but an unlucky deflection off the stick of Roberto Luongo re-routed the puck into the back of the net to cut Vancouver’s lead in half, with the goal being credited to Vermette.
In the final few minutes of the opening period, Luongo was tested as the Coyotes managed several good scoring chances on net but had no luck getting anything through. After his little “whoopsy daisy” that resulted in a Phoenix goal earlier, Luongo wasn’t having any of it. It’s like the cop from The Hangover yelling, “Not up in here!”
Early in the second period, Phoenix slipped another one past Luongo, but the goal was instantly waived off after it appeared Kyle Chipchura kicked it in with his left foot. After a quick check-in with Toronto, the ruling on the field stood, and the field goal was no good. Hmm? Oh, right, hockey. My apologies, it’s still football season in my eyes for the next week.
Midway into the second period, the Canucks shot themselves in the foot once again on the power play. Things couldn’t get worse than they already were when Vancouver is on the 5-on-4 advantage? Au contraire!
Vermette fired in a shot on Luongo and came up with the rebound. While trying to gain control of possession, Ryan Kesler came in trying to break up the play. Good concept on paper, poor execution. The puck deflected off Kesler’s stick and into the net to even things up.
Three power plays. Zero shots. One own goal while shorthanded. We all know Vancouver’s power play is bad, but that’s just flat out embarrassing.
With about five minutes left in the middle period, Zac Dalpe, Alex Burrows and Brad Richardson all came up with scoring chances against Mike Smith, but shortly after, Daniel Sedin was sent off for tripping Chipchura to the ground, killing the momentum shift just as it appeared Vancouver was coming to life.
With three minutes left in the second period, the Canucks broke the tie with a deflection goal from Chris Higgins. Phoenix had tried to clear the puck out of the zone along the boards, but Dan Hamhuis managed to keep the puck in the zone and firing a shot towards the net. Higgins was able to deflect in the go-ahead goal for Vancouver.
42 seconds later after recovering from a trip, Dalpe fired a backhand shot on net, coming up with his own rebound and tipping the puck past Smith to give the Canucks a 4-2 lead.
Four goals on twelve shots, that’s what we like to call efficiency. More shots don’t always mean more goals. Just ask the Kings, who despite getting 36 shots on goal against the Ducks last night at Dodger Stadium, couldn’t manage a single goal.
With just under a minute to go, Vermette once again proved to be a momentum-killer for the Canucks, adding in the hat-trick goal to bring the Coyotes back within one goal heading into the final intermission.
Phoenix would once again tie things up in the first part of the third period when Shane Doan managed to slip in between Hamuis and Bieksa, finding himself in all alone against Luongo, who slid to his left, opening the net for Doan and tieing the game at four goals each.
The scoring would finally die down as neither team could find the necessary fifth goal to send the other out without a point. With eleven seconds left, the Canucks went to their fourth power play to create a 4-on-3 opportunity for 1:50 to start the overtime period.
Halfway through the overtime power play, Jason Garrison came up with a flurry of chances on the net, but Phoenix would survive the advantage.
Remember who scored moments after the power play in the opening period? Kevin Bieksa. Want to know who would score the game winner? You guessed it!
Bieksa came up with his second goal of the night, crashing in on the net after being set up by Richardson. Bieksa managed to tip in his own rebound for the game-winner, causing Smith to slam his stick into the post in frustration. Looks like someone could use some anger management lessons. On the other hand, I’d react the same way if I gave up a fifth goal to lose in OT.
The Canucks are right back at it tomorrow night at Rogers Arena against the Edmonton Oilers. One can only hope that Vancouver didn’t use up all their scoring tonight, which is of course entirely possible. However, the Canucks have seen success when playing in back-to-back games. Vancouver has played on consecutive nights seven times this season with a 10-4 record in those games. Cross your fingers, and we’ll see you tomorrow night as the Canucks look to improve to 12-4 while playing two nights in a row.