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Canucks and Stars Game Recap: Hard Work Gets Results ( 5-4 W o/t )

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They overcame some breaks and a bad call in this one, but the main reason they won this one ? The Canucks just outworked the Stars for the win.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks had a great start, and then found themselves almost tying a team losses record.  Consistency has obviously been an issue.  But there have been good things too.  Nikita Tryamkin looks good in his minutes defensively, and his skating is ahead of last year.  Guys that had been turning their sticks into graphite dust got off the schneid.  Sure, they still lost against Detroit, but I think it was 42 saves for Howard in that one.

The "good feels" were there for the taking this afternoon though. Dallas has been struggling to start the season, and while Benn has woken up lately, they have still been without up to six regulars at times this year.  A good start, and get them feeling "oh no, not again" for a change.


1st

The Canucks got an early shot at a good start, with a power play at the 19 second mark.  They took a bit getting it set up, but had a couple shots at it.  Those were blocked, and wide though, and the game looked like it was settling into one of those "low event" games.

That changed about six minutes in, when a puck got under Daniel Sedin in the crease, right where Miller could not get to it through him.  The puck bounced out to Hamhuis in the high slot, and he did not even get off a hard shot.  It bounced twice before getting to Eaves at the crease, who swept it into the net for a 1-0 lead for the visitors.  Once again ( 14th time in 16 games ) our heroes had given up the first goal.

That was soon answered.  After a turnover in his own end, Bo Horvat was on the rush.  He made a great inside out move on Hamhuis, and ripped a rolling puck his left corner for the tying goal, just 22 seconds after the first goal.  Unfortunately, that did not last long either, as Troy Stecher was victimized by a bouncing puck at the line.  Laurie Korpikowski kept all the way on the resulting two on one, and beat Miller with the wrist shot, going post and in for the 2-1 tally.  Three goals in 42 seconds.

At the TV time out, Dan Hamhuis got a nice tribute for his time here.  Those are often perfunctory, but "Community Man" and his relationship to the market was pretty deep, and this one seemed pretty sincere.

The Canucks took a penalty, with Burrows holding the stick, and the penalty kill had to deal with an offensively talented bunch whose PP had woken up recently.  They shut them down on this one, and played well defensively for the rest of the period.  Sure there were breaks.  Hockey is a game of mistakes.  But the effort and structure was there.  The effort was apparent on a play where a Tryamkin pinch looked like it was going to cost, but he got all the way back to the man at the net with those big space eating strides. ( the pass never got there, but it was a great effort ).  The structure was there in how they  kept the Stars from getting set up in their own end very much at all.

2nd

The even play continued at the start of the second, as a late power play for the Canucks ended meekly at the start of the second, but then Gaunce took a high sticking call against to give the Stars a power play.  This one was looking dangerous, and should have scored, but Jordie Benn simply missed a wide open net.  Sbisa was there to bother him, but that looked like a goal the whole way.  He made up for it at the other end soon after, as the Canucks pressured, and he stopped a Burrows wraparound with the goalie no where close.

Still, it was feeling like "low event" hockey at times too.  Both teams were playing their system, there were a lot of sticks and bodies in lanes, and a lot of battles along the boards.  Put it this way.  The shots were 12-12 with six minutes left in the period.

The Stars do have some very talented players though, and they got together for a pretty goal to give the visitors a two goal lead, with Roussel making a nice pass to Seguin off the boards, who fed Patrick Eaves for another tap in goal.  Horvat's line almost got it back again, but this time they were denied around the net, with both Burrows and Baertschi prevented from getting to the puck with Lehtonen sprawled in the crease.

3rd

The Canucks have had the first goal scored on them 14 of 16 times in this season, but they have also battled hard this season, having 14 of 16 games within a goal in the third.  They don't give up.  Once again, an early chance came, with Roussel ( I still hate we had this guy on a PTO and did not sign him up ) getting around Hutton and getting a good chance.  Miller denied him, and the rebound, and the Canucks got to work.

Willie Desjardins changed up the lines a bit, and may have hit on the best lines in the third.  Brandon Sutter was solid with The Twins. Loui Eriksson and Markus Granlund looked good with Derek Dorsett, and Burrows has looked rejuvenated playing with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat.  Special shout out to that fourth line for me.  Brendan Gaunce, Jack Skille and Michael Chaput only saw the ice 7-8 minutes.  But they worked hard, and were solid at both ends.  Same with that third pairing of Nikita Tryamkin and Luca Sbisa.

Now, to the comeback.  It was some solid work by Granlund and Eriksson, as they worked a nice give and go out of the corner to get Loui an opening.  His quick low shot beat the goalie five hole, and the score was 3-2.

They then got a power play, with Sutter working hard and forcing a Klingberg hook.  The second unit started it, and were good, but it was the Sedins, on some slick passing of their own, who set up Sutter in the slot for a great chance that he buried, to tie the game at three apiece.

There was some hard work both ways ( a Tryamkin WHALLOP on Benn got a huge roar from the crowd ) before a lucky one looked like it might be deadly.  Seguin made a blind shot / pass to the net that went off Tryamkin's skate, and off Miller's pad before laying right there for Rousssel to get an easy one, to make it 4-3 for Dallas with only eight minutes left.

The Canucks went back to work though.  A Sedin rush got the puck to the net, and it was just laying there.  Burrows jammed it in.  But of course, because it is Burrows, there has to be some additional drama.  I am sorry NHL.  That is a goal.  It was a goal in peewee when I was a kid, and it is a goal now.  His stick never left the puck, that was all he was pushing.  The pad was NOT parallel with the goal line, and it was the puck, with the pad, that was pushed in.  Of course the refs ( after one of the longest delays I have seen for a review ) found a way to deny it.

So, back to work.  They pulled the goalie at about 1:45, and made that late push.  Then Troy Stecher showed he has a sense of drama, in addition to ice water in his veins.  He made a slick little fake on Jamie Benn, who was rushing him at the point, all while settling a jiggly puck,.  He then took that open space and pounded the puck past the goaltender for his first NHL goal.  Wow.  They even had a couple shot chances in the final minute to try and win it in regulation.

O/T

The extra frame was all Canucks.  Sutter was robbed on a breakaway from the blue line. Bo and Sven had a chance denied by Oduya, before a Sutter face off battle went to Markus Granlund,. who ripped it top right corner for the winning goal.

This was a really good win.  The team earned it.  They overcame adversity, a bad break or three, and kept working hard.  Sure, it was the Stars, who are not as scary as last year due to injury, but there is no doubt this is a game that, just a little while ago, they would have probably lost.  Check the stats here.  Horvat, Sutter and Granlund all had a goal and an assist. Burrows had two assists. Tryamkin had 5 hits, and the other Big Fella, Eric Gudbranson, had 4 hits.  Lots of players pulled on the rope together today...

Hard work pays off !