Initially, there were mixed reactions from Canucks fans when a video tribute to Ryan Kesler was shown before Thursday night's Pacific Division showdown between the Anaheim Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks with possession of first place in the division on the line. As the game went on however, the boos only grew louder for the former Canuck. In the end, it would be Kesler's Ducks who came out on top.
After erasing a two goal deficit thanks to a pair of goals in the span of 30 seconds, the Canucks fell 4-3 to the Ducks in a shootout as Vancouver dropped their first overtime contest of the year. Eddie Lack recovered from a shaky start, but couldn't keep it together long enough, allowing the Ducks to tie things up again in the second half of the third period and eventually win it in a shootout.
The Ducks wasted no time, scoring just 37 seconds into the game. Jakob Silfverberg would wrap himself around the net into the slot and hit Andrew Cogliano, who was right there at the net to beat Lack and give Anaheim the early 1-0 lead.
Ryan Getzlaf nearly made it a 2-0 game as he had a clean look on the net, but Eddie Lack was able to deliver a kick save.
Things went from bad to worse as Dan Hamhuis suffered a leg injury just 90 seconds into the game and would need to be helped off the ice. As Hamhuis reached the bench, Henrik Sedin had to lift Hamhuis' injured leg for him. Hamhuis would not return the rest of the night. Just like that, the Canucks were short a forward and a defenseman. At this point, the Canucks probably wish they could have a mulligan.
Dan Hamhuis injured. Canucks down 1-0. Where’s that reset button?— Hosea Cheung (@hoseacheung) November 21, 2014
At 8:05, Chris Tanev was sent off for high sticking to give the Ducks their first power play of the night. Unfortunately on this one, we weren't treated to a Jannik Hansen breakaway shorthanded goal. Can't get too greedy I suppose.
Ryan Getzlaf would add to Anaheim's lead, out-hustling Luca Sbisa to deliver the goal off his backhand, extending Anaheim's lead to 2-0, a lead the Ducks would hold going into the first intermission.
Just over three minutes into the period, we were treated to Bo Horvat's first NHL goal. Horvat positioned himself perfectly in the slot to take a pass from Derek Dorsett and beat Frederik Andersen with a one-timer, cutting Anaheim's lead in half. Horvat was fired up about the goal, and rightfully so. It's always exciting to watch a player score his first career goal, especially when it pumps some life into the team.
Midway through the second period, Jannik Hansen blasted a one-timer off the feed from Alex Edler to tie the game at 2-2. The Canucks were about to go to the power play, but were able to maintain possession on the delayed penalty, taking advantage with six skaters on the ice.
Vancouver had almost tied up the game moments early when Daniel Sedin delivered a slap shot on net. Had Tanev been able to handle the rebound, he would've likely been able to take advantage of the wide open net he had. Tanev was able to maintain possession as the Canucks capitalized on their next shot.
30 seconds later, Radim Vrbata put the Canucks ahead, deaking around Andersen as he was left all alone in front of the net. Vrbata continued to ride the momentum from his big game last night in which he scored a pair of power play goals. In the length of time it took you to get your next beer from the fridge, the Canucks had gone from trailing 2-1 to leading 3-2.
The Canucks' Twitter account was on point as usual, with their trolling levels reaching a new expert height.
RV17 > RK17— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) November 21, 2014
The final period got off to a slow start as the two sides combined for just three shots in the first five minutes.
Zack Kassian would get a little chippy with the Ducks bench after taking a puck to his ear off a clearing attempt from Cogliano. Understandably so, Kassian wasn't too happy about it and had some choice words for Cogliano. I mean, I'd be upset too if some guy wristed a puck to my own ear. I like to think this was what Kassian was saying afterwards:
The Ducks would tie things up with just over eight minutes left as Matt Beleskey chopped away at the puck in front of the net, coming up with the rebound to knock the puck in for his ninth goal of the season and tie things up at 3-3, making us all stay up a little later past our bedtimes.
Do the Ducks ever not go to overtime? I'm sleepy.— Nick Mercadante (@nmercad) November 21, 2014
The Canucks had one of their best looks at the net late in the third period when Zack Kassian had a clear path to the net. However, Francois Beauchemin hustled over to break up the shot and force Kassian to his backhand, keeping the game tied.
Nick Bonino and Ryan Kesler took the final draw of the first period, with Bonino coming out on top. WE WIN THE TRADE AGAIN!
Bonino just beat Kesler in a face off to end regulation time proving that the #Canucks won the trade.— Clay Imoo (@CanuckClay) November 21, 2014
In Anaheim's last nine games, seven of them have gone to overtime.
The Canucks had a good opportunity on their first rush, but Chris Tanev wasn't able to maintain possession of the puck, bobbling the feed from Daniel Sedin.
Anaheim took over for a long possession, keeping Alex Edler out on the ice for far longer than he wanted to be. Eddie Lack was finally able to come up with a glove save to get Edler off the ice after a number of good looks on net for the Ducks.
The Ducks completely controlled the first part of the overtime period, outshooting the Canucks 5-1 in the first three minutes, forcing Vancouver to call a timeout in order to go back to the drawing board.
Daniel Sedin nearly scored his third OT winner of the year as he was set up perfectly by Henrik in front of the net. The shot went wide though, and Daniel went back to the bench hanging his head in disbelief. This one would need to be settled in a shootout.
That was definitely one of the nicest goals the Sedins never scored.— j.Bowman (@jBowmancouver) November 21, 2014
In the shootout, Cory Perry would strike first, drawing Lack out of the net and flicking the puck up and over for the goal. Both Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata would come up short for the Canucks on their shot attempts. Jakob Silfverberg would then deliver the game-winner, wristing a shot up and over the left shoulder of Eddie Lack. But hey, at least there was a silver lining.
The important thing is Kesler didn't score in the shootout.— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) November 21, 2014
The Canucks still picked up a point, something you can't be too mad about in a game where the Canucks trailed by two goals after the first period.
After back-to-back games, the Canucks now have two nights off as they welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to town on Sunday night. Vancouver will then face the Devils on Tuesday before heading off on a 7 game road trip against the Eastern Conference.