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Game 23: Clawed by the Cats

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
It was a history-making night on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena but for all the wrong reasons as far as the home team was concerned.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored the only goal of the shootout to lift the visiting Panthers to a 3-2 win over the hometown Canucks.

The loss extended Vancouver's season-high winless streak to five games and allowed the Panthers to walk away with two points from Rogers Arena for the first time in their franchise history.

Florida had come into the contest winless in 11 all-time games played at Rogers Arena and having not won in Vancouver since their inaugural season when they beat the Canucks 2-1 back on March 7, 1994 in a game played at the Pacific Coliseum.

After a string of several games where the Canucks out-played their opponents and probably deserved a better result in each of those outings, the same couldn't really be said of Tuesday night against the Panthers in a game where both teams seemed equally disjointed.

The Canucks got off to yet another slow start giving up the game's first goal just under four minutes to Brad Boyes but pulled even after ex-Panther Chris Higgins squared the affair at 1-1 early in the second period.

Vancouver looked primed to take full control of the game early in the third period when Jannik Hansen picked off an errant pass by Tomas Fleischmann and beat Panthers netminder Tim Thomas high glove with a wicked wrist shot to give the Canucks the lead.

The Panthers, however, would find the equalizer just shy of the midway mark of the third period courtesy of a Shawn Matthias marker setting the stage for Huberdeau's shootout heroics.

The Canucks probably wouldn't have been in a position to earn a single point at all had it not been for the solid play of Luongo, who turned aside 34 of 36 shots he faced through regulation and overtime in the defeat.

Thomas stopped 27 of 29 shots through 65 minutes and all three of Vancouver's shootout attempts in the victory.

With the loss, the Canucks saw their overall season record fall to 11-8-4 and their record on their current six-game home stand drop to 0-1-2.

The Canucks host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: One of the few positives in tonight's game was that a couple of Canucks managed to snap lengthy goal droughts in the loss. Higgins' tally was his first in five games and also snapped a four-game point drought. Hansen's goal was his first in nine games played and his first since October 6 in Calgary.

RARE SHOOTING GALLERY: The 36 shots allowed by the Canucks was the second most shots they've allowed in a single game this season behind only the 38 they surrendered to the Montreal Canadiens back on October 12. Tonight was only the eighth time in 23 games this season that the Canucks have been out-shot by their opponents. They have a record of 3-4-1 when being out-shot.

LIMITED REUNION: The Canucks' roster boasts five ex-Panthers but only four of them – Higgins, Garrison, Santorelli, and Luongo – were a factor in tonight's game. David Booth sat out as a healthy scratch. The Panthers have two ex-Canucks on their roster but neither appeared in the game as Mike Weaver (illness) and Ed Jovanovski (hip surgery) were both unavailable.

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