Back in the Black: Canucks get a refresher course in winning at the Thrashers' expense
Brad Ziemer said the Canucks win provides a boost of confidence and energy.
“Having had more than their fill lately of the agony of defeat, the Vancouver Canucks finally experienced the thrill of victory Thursday night,” said Ziemer.
“They had almost forgotten how good it felt.”
“The Canucks got a win they desperately needed as they came from behind to beat the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1.”
“The win, which snapped a four-game losing streak, salvaged a .500 road trip for Vancouver and kept the Canucks in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race,” said Ziemer.
"It's a huge win, no doubt about it," said captain Markus Naslund. "And especially the way we won it, too. It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but coming back I think meant a lot to this team and our confidence."
“The Canucks won for the only the second time this season when trailing after two periods,” said Ziemer.
tied the game at 6:32 of the third and Alex Burrows scored the winner at 11:14 to give Vancouver only its second win in the last 10 games.”
“Burrows took a pass from Taylor Pyatt and fired a backhand shot that went between the legs of teammate Ryan Kesler
and past Thrashers' goalie Kari Lehtonen.”
"It started off with a good forecheck by Ryan," said Burrows. "He really got on their defence and won that battle. [Pyatt] came over and supported him and made a really nice pass to me. At the same time Kesler was driving the net and I don't think Lehtonen saw anything. I was just able to get it on net and it went in. It was a big goal.”
"We needed that win tonight. We wanted to find a way to win tonight and after the second period we got together and played a really strong third period."
“It had been more than a month since the Canucks last won a game in regulation (Jan. 3 against the New York Rangers) and they hadn't won in regulation on the road since Dec. 12 in Anaheim,” said Ziemer.
“The win, which improved Vancouver's record to 27-21-7, came after Vancouver had lost the first three games of the road trip -- the last two in a shootout.”
"I think we did in the third period what we were doing in the first and second," said Canuck coach Alain Vigneault. "Our guys were battling hard, staying high percentage. The difference was we were able to get a power-play goal and we shut them down when they had a power-play opportunity at the end."
“That power-play goal came when Daniel Sedin
tipped in a Mattias Ohlund shot from the left point. The goal followed a strong shift by the Sedins-Naslund line that led to a hooking penalty by Atlanta defenceman Alexei Zhitnik,” said Ziemer.
“Ohlund logged more than 23 minutes of ice time after flying most of the night to get to Atlanta.”
“He had missed Tuesday night's game in Dallas after returning home to deal with a personal issue.”
"I had a [family] medical issue I had to deal with and I'm happy to be back," Ohlund said. Not as happy as Vigneault was to have him back.
"For him to take the red-eye last night and come here and play says so much about that individual and how much he cares about his teammates and the team," Vigneault said. "I think it was a huge lift for us to see him do that and come here. I'm really pleased to be his coach because he's a top-notch competitor."
“The Canucks got a strong performance from goalie Roberto Luongo
, who faced 28 shots The only puck to get by him came off a rebound after Luongo had made a glove save off Atlanta defenceman Tobias Enstrom. Pascal Dupuis beat Henrik Sedin
to the rebound and slapped the puck home to open scoring at 7:58 of the second period,” said Ziemer.
"Louie played awesome for us," Ohlund said. "They obviously had some quality chances, especially the first 40 minutes where we played decent, but maybe were a step behind."
“Luongo made a number of big saves. His toughest may have come late in the first when he got his paddle on a shot by Dupuis on a breakaway. He preserved the win when he robbed former Canuck Steve McCarthy from in close with 1:45 left in the third,” said Ziemer.
"We talked about it a lot today, this was a must-win for us," Luongo said. "We really wanted to finish off the road trip .500. This is the type of hockey we want to be playing, close games, but we find ways to win. That's what made us so successful last year and parts of this year."
Forsberg unlikely to wind up here, Naslund says
Brad Ziemer said although the Canucks remain in the hunt, it is unlikely that Forsberg will come to Vancouver.
“Markus Naslund has a hunch and it's not a particularly good one for Vancouver Canucks fans,” said Ziemer.
“Naslund isn't convinced his hometown friend Peter Forsberg is going to end up in Vancouver.”
"I'd be surprised if he did come here," the Canuck captain said Thursday before the Canucks met the Atlanta Thrashers. "I just think the familiarity of going back to a team he played for before, I would assume that would be a good chance. But who knows?"
“The Canucks are said to be one of five teams on the shortlist Forsberg and agent Don Baizley have drawn up. Naslund said he thinks Philadelphia and Colorado, which are both on that list along with Ottawa and Anaheim, may have the inside track. But he hasn't given up hope his longtime friend will join him in Vancouver,” said Ziemer.
“As reported Thursday by Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre, Naslund brokered a clandestine meeting early last July in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, between Forsberg and Canucks general manager Dave Nonis. Naslund would not say whether that meeting, which lasted several hours, took place at his home.”
“Naslund did say he knows that Forsberg likes the Canucks team, one that would be so much better with Forsberg on it for the stretch run. Naslund also said he doesn't believe Vancouver's recent struggles would dissuade Forsberg from joining the Canucks.”
"He likes the team," Naslund said. "Us with a healthy team, I think we're up there with the best in the league, especially if we were to add a guy like that ... There's obviously a lot of teams that would love to have him, but I think we need him and I think we'd be a great fit for him."
“Naslund said he has not spoken with Forsberg recently,” said Ziemer.
"I'd definitely like to see him come and play with us and make us a better team ... we just have to keep hoping."
“Daniel and Henrik Sedin
also hail from Ornskoldsvik and know what a big catch Forsberg would be,” said Ziemer.
"Everyone knows what kind of player he is," Daniel Sedin
said. "We've seen him come back from injuries before and he's been great right away, too."
“But Sedin said Canucks players can't worry about where Forsberg lands,” said Ziemer.
"It's not something we can think about now," he said. "We're just trying to get as many points as we can to stay in the hunt. We have to focus on what we can do, not wait around for something like that. I'm sure Dave [Nonis] is doing what he can, but like I said, it's not something we can worry about. We have to focus on our game."
“Fellow Swede Mattias Ohlund, who returned to the Canucks lineup on Thursday night, was not aware his team had made Forsberg's short list,” said Ziemer.
"Oh, nice -- we're one of the five; I didn't know that," Ohlund said. "So it will be interesting in the next two weeks, I guess. We'll see what happens."
Moran scores overtime winner as Manitoba sneaks past Rockford 3-2
The Canadian Press reported on a Thursday showdown between the Manitoba Moose and Rockford Icehogs.
“Brad Moran scored 3:45 into overtime to propel the Manitoba Moose to a 3-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Thursday night in the American Hockey League”
“Mike Brown and Alexandre Bolduc had first-period goals as the Moose (25-19-2-2) won their second straight game. All-star netminder Drew McIntyre preserved the Manitoba victory with a 29-save performance.”
“Troy Brouwer had his team-high 23rd goal of the season while Colin Fraser forced overtime for the IceHogs (30-13-4-5), scoring the tying goal early in the third period. Wade Flaherty made 21 saves as Rockford dropped its third in a row.”