For over 52 minutes, the Vancouver Canucks looked flat in the desert once again. In the third period, the Canucks found themselves down 2-0 to the Coyotes, who were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak. Then, the comeback attempt began.
Vancouver (36-24-4) scored two goals in the third period, including one from Radim Vrbata in the final minute of regulation with Vancouver's net empty. However, the Coyotes prevailed in the shootout, snapping their second nine-game home losing streak of the year.
Sam Gagner, who was just 1-for-7 in the shootout entering tonight, scored the lone goal of the shootout, using the post to ricochet a hard shot into the net. Chris Higgins, who sparked Vancouver's third period comeback, had Mike Smith beat on his shootout attempt, but sent the puck high and wide, ending the Canucks' valiant attempt at a miraculous comeback.
Tobias Rieder and Tye McGinn scored for the Coyotes (21-37-7), helping them snap a losing streak that went all the way back to February 9 when Arizona defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout on the road.
With the Coyotes leading 2-0 in the third period, the Canucks finally ended their scoreless drought when Jannik Hansen and Higgins executed a give-and-go to perfection, with Higgins scoring on the backhand at 12:21. The goal was Vancouver's first against the Coyotes on the road in 213:06, dating back to November 5, 2013 when Ryan Kesler scored in a 3-2 shootout loss.
Suddenly, it was like someone had injected Red Bull into Vancouver's bloodstream. With less than a minutes left and Eddie Lack at the bench, Radim Vrbata blasted in a shot from the point that trickled past Smith, tying the game at 2-2. Vrbata's team-leading 23rd goal of the year was good enough to earn a point for the Canucks.
Late 3rd, Vrbata comes to the rescue to force OT. https://t.co/ZJUHzb8Afi— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 6, 2015
How many goals did you get tonight Vrbata? pic.twitter.com/t8gR7r2Qxr— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) March 6, 2015
The Canucks almost didn't even get a chance to win it in the shootout.
Early in the overtime period, the Canucks had trouble keeping the puck, committing several turnovers that could've cost them the game, but on every occasion, Eddie Lack stood his ground to keep the game going. Two of the turnovers resulted in breakaway chances for Shane Doan and Tobias Rieder, but neither were able to beat Lack.
Just like John Shorthouse said over the broadcast, the Canucks were doing everything they could to throw the game away, but Eddie Lack wouldn't let them.
The Canucks know it's too late in the season to tank, right?— Mitch (@MitchEmDee) March 6, 2015
OK, so we agree, the Canucks hate Eddie Lack, right?— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) March 6, 2015
YOU get a scoring chance! And YOU get a scoring And YOU get a scoring chance! And YOU get a scoring chance! And YOU get a scoring chance!— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) March 6, 2015
After letting by the first two goals of the game, Lack shut down the Coyotes for the rest of regulation and overtime, stopping 33 shots on the night. Without his effort, the Canucks would have walked out of Arizona empty-handed.
Lack stole the Canucks a point tonight. He deserves all the tacos he wants.— Canucks Hockey Blog (@canuckshockey) March 6, 2015
Late in the first period, Rieder opened the scoring for the Coyotes at 19:00. After a shot from the point deflected off the boards behind the net, Rieder positioned himself perfectly in front of the crease to knock the puck past Lack. Once again, the Canucks found themselves surrendering the first goal of the night.
Puck off end boards. Clendening, Stanton wave sticks in crease, Rieder roofs it. The15th time in last 19 #Canucks give up first goal.— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) March 6, 2015
The Coyotes added to their lead early in the third period off a rebound goal from Tye McGinn at 2:31. McGinn, recently claimed off waivers from the Sharks, has three of his nine career goals against the Canucks. The goal was originally credited to Klas Dahlbeck, but was then changed to McGinn.
I can't believe that guy just keeps scoring against Vancouver time and tye mcginn— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) March 6, 2015
So it's March.. and the Canucks were just beaten by a guy scoring his 2nd, from a guy getting his 3rd assist, and the other guy's 1st..— Blake Price (@blakeprice1040) March 6, 2015
Vancouver's struggles on the power play continued, going 0-for-4 on the night with the extra skater, including coming up empty on a double minor against the Coyotes. The Canucks, who have just four power play goals in their last 30 games, managed just two shots during the extended advantage.
With the game scoreless midway through the first period, the Canucks had a golden opportunity on the power play as Sam Gagner was called for a high stick double minor against Alex Burrows, giving the Canucks a 5-on-4 advantage for four minutes.
If the #Canucks were in tank mode, I'd say that last power play was a success.— Cam Tucker (@CamTucker_Metro) March 6, 2015
Vancouver had another crack at the power play when Martin Erat was sent off for holding against Henrik Sedin at 8:27 of the third period, but the Canucks managed just one shot on net during the advantage.
Late in the second period, Luca Sbisa dropped the gloves with Murphy. The fight was sparked by Murphy after Sbisa delivered a punishing hit along the boards in the neutral zone against Tobias Rieder. Sbisa came out on top, a better result than the last time a Canuck dropped the gloves.
Despite outshooting the Coyotes 10-2 during the second period, the Canucks couldn't find the back of the net as Arizona held a 1-0 lead going into the final intermission.
Well, it wasn't Dorsett vs Scott. Then again, nothing really could be— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 6, 2015
Just under midway through the third period, the Coyotes nearly iced the game when the broke out on a 3-on-2 rush that turned into a virtual breakaway opportunity for David Moss. However, Lack stepped up and delivered a huge save to keep the game at 2-0.
The Coyotes basically just skated straight ahead and turned a 3-on-2 into a 2-on-0 and what-the-hell-Canucks— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) March 6, 2015
The Canucks will look to end their skid of three losses in their past four games when the Sharks come to Rogers Arena on Saturday night. Of course, the Canucks and Sharks are plenty familiar with each other as San Jose came out on top in a 6-2 win on Tuesday.