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Clinched

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are playoff bound for the first time since 2006-07, that’s the good news.


The bad is that the Anaheim Ducks, the team that bounced the Canucks from the post-season that year, are still bringing out the worst in Vancouver.

There’s something about those waddling quackers that the Canucks just can’t contend with some games, this 6-5 shootout loss that snapped Vancouver’s 11-game home winning streak being one of them.

After spotting Anaheim a 2-0 lead with goals 1:16 apart near the 13-minute mark of the first period, Vancouver stormed back with a pair of its own leaving frame tied at 2-2.

The Canucks then held a 4-2 lead just over five minutes into the second and the teams traded goals to keep the home side up a pair with half a game to be played.

The Ducks had the game even again 6:28 later and after the third period and overtime solved zilch, it was off to a shootout where Corey Perry scored the lone goal to win it for Anaheim.

Despite scoring another whack of impressive goals, led by the top line of the Sedins and Alex Burrows who collected three goals and five assists, the Canucks were unorganized and sloppy giving the Ducks way too much air space to fly away with the victory.

“It was probably a fun game to watch, but we didn’t win and we wanted to come out with two points,” said a disappointed Daniel Sedin.

Any other time of year Vancouver’s efforts on this night might be a cause for concern, but right now it’s all about the point Vancouver got, not the one that got away.

“I thought we had some very good moments in this game, a couple of lapses, puck decisions that hurt us and ended up in the back of our net, but at the end of the day that team right there is the second hottest team in the NHL and it went to a shootout,” assessed coach Alain Vigneault.

This was the fourth and final game between these two teams during the regular season and both teams came away with a pair of wins in what was an adventurous battle.

It all started back when Canuck turned Duck Nathan McIver lifted Anaheim to a thrilling overtime win in the final pre-season game for both clubs and the excitement snowballed from there.

Vancouver and Anaheim combined for 36 goals in four contests and there’s no putting a finger on why the Canucks fail to show up defensively against the Ducks.

“I don’t know, we don’t change anything, we have the same game plan and we wanted to be smart defensively and limit our turnovers and for some reason Teemu always seems to score big goals against us and that line was good tonight,” said Burrows, who tallied his 100th career point on Vancouver’s opening goal.

“Our games against them have been, to say the least, a lot of momentum shifts from game to game, period to period, and tonight was no different,” added Vigneault.

“Hard fought game by both teams, they took the lead, we came back and took the lead, they came back, third period was played a little bit tighter and it went to a shootout. We had a couple good chances in overtime to win the game.”

The vibrant silver lining comes in the single point and that with five games to go until the post-season, Vancouver’s top guns are firing on all cylinders as the Sedins and Burrows were once again outrageously dominate.

“They’re playing real well,” said Vigneault. “They’ve assumed obviously leadership and control of the offensive part of our game, whether it be on the power play or five-on-five.

“They’re playing real well in crunch time situations and that’s great news for us right now.”

With the Calgary Flames upending the Dallas Stars earlier in the night, the Canucks are now tied with the Flames atop the Northwest Division with 94 points each.

Both teams have five games remaining, with Calgary in Vancouver next Tuesday for a game that could determine who walks away as division champ.


100 – Career points for Alex Burrows

8
– Points for Vancouver's top line (3-5-8)

36 – Combined goals for Vancouver and Anaheim in four games this season

3 Major fights on the night; Hordichuk, Rypien and O'Brien all dropped the gloves

94 Points for the Canucks; they clinched a playoff spot with the win



There aren't enough words to describe how fantastic Vancouver's offence was, especially the top two lines.

The Sedins and Burrows dominated, again, but this was a balanced effort overall with 10 Canucks picking up at least a single point.

Vancouver was outshot by Anaheim 32-30.



Putting up five goals and walking away with a loss is frustrating, to say the least.

The defence wasn't sharp on this night, too many turnovers, too many botched assignments.

It didn't help that Roberto Luongo struggled between the pipes; at least three of the five goals he normally would have stopped.



The Canucks were 1-for-4 on the power play, which is good, but they blew a chance to blow this game wide open on a 5-on-3 in the second period.

The Ducks finished 1-for-1 with the man advantage.
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