“Call off the post-mortem. The Vancouver Canucks have a pulse,” said Ziemer.
“Displaying heart that was not evident in an ugly 6-2 home-ice loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, the Canucks rebounded 24 hours later to get a win they desperately needed.”
“Alex Burrows and Markus Naslund scored in regulation and rookie Ryan Shannon scored the only shootout goal as the Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at General Motors Place in what was viewed by many as a must-win game.”
“The Canucks remain ninth in the Western Conference standings, but they at least stay in touch with the playoff pack.”
“Shannon's shootout winner was controversial. He pulled off a spin-o-rama move to his backhand in front of Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who had attempted to poke-check him. Shannon brushed against Khabibulin before steering the puck into the net.”
"I tried it last year with Anaheim and [Dallas goalie Marty] Turco saved it," Shannon said. "It's always kind of been bugging me that I haven't been able to score on it. It felt really good."
“Shannon received a punch to the back of the head from Khabibulin as he skated away and afterwards the Hawks were livid. Chicago GM Dale Tallon was on the phone to league headquarters after the game giving them an earful,” said Ziemer.
"It was not my intention to embarrass him," Shannon said. "I'm just trying to score." Shannon said he had decided to try the spin-o-rama move before he began skating toward Khabibulin.
"It's the kind of move you have to prepare for. I kind of had it in my head and when he came out with the poke-check it kind of solidified the move."
“Chicago coach Denis Savard was adamant that Shannon's goal should not have counted,” said Ziemer.
"To me that's interference," Savard said. "The goalie shouldn't be able to get bumped. What's the difference if the guy just goes straight ahead with the puck and just runs the goalie right out?”
"That's what you are going to see if they don't fix it. They need to fix it."
“The Canucks, who were playing their fourth game in six nights, now get a chance to regroup and rest. Vancouver next plays on Thursday night when they entertain the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild,” said Ziemer.
“Vancouver needed a late third-period goal from Naslund to force overtime. Naslund tied the game at the 18:42 mark when he tipped in a Mattias Ohlund shot from the right point for his 20th of the season.”
had a chance to win it in overtime for Vancouver. He was awarded a penalty shot at the 2:53 mark of OT when Hawk defenceman Brent Sopel was ruled to have deliberately dislodged the Chicago net. But the puck rolled off Sedin's stick before he could test Khabibulin.”
“The Hawks had erased a 1-0 Vancouver lead with third-period goals by Patrick Sharp and Cam Barker.”
“Barker's goal at 15:55 of the third was a strange one as his shot from the left point appeared to hit Canuck winger Taylor Pyatt and went high in the air. Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo
lost sight of the puck which floated over his shoulder and into the net.”
"Alex (Edler) tried to glove it out of the way, but I might have bumped into him as I was backing up looking for it," Luongo said. "It was unbelievable and it landed right in, didn't even hit me. It was one of the craziest things I've ever seen."
“After Saturday night's lacklustre outing, the Canucks delivered a message right after Sunday night's opening faceoff that they meant business,” said Ziemer.
“The gloves of Byron Ritchie and Adam Burish hit the ice at about the same time as the puck dropped for the game-opening draw.”
"Right off the get-go, Byron got us going," said Burrows. "He made sure we were going to be ready for this game. In the first 40 minutes we had a lot of hits and guys really competed."
“Burrows opened scoring early in the second and it came courtesy of a good chance at the other end of the ice by the Hawks,” said Ziemer.
“Sharp rattled a shot off the post and the puck went directly to Henrik Sedin
who sprung Burrows free for a breakaway. Burrows beat Khabibulin with a deke to the backhand for his seventh of the season, matching a career high.”
“Sharp tied it at 5:44 of the third on Chicago's first shot of the period. He took a back-pass from Jonathan Toews and beat Luongo cleanly to the stick side.”
“Vancouver, now 28-22-7, outshot the Hawks 34-18.”
Burrows breath of fresh air: Red-hot forward provides the spark, Shannon the finish in victory
Iain MacIntyre said Alex Burrows is on a hot streak.
“Alex Burrows is hot. Thank goodness someone on the Vancouver Canucks is,” said MacIntyre.
“For most of Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, he was the only one. But with 78 seconds remaining in the third period of what was about to be another disillusioning loss, Canuck captain Markus Naslund redirected Sami Salo
's point shot to make it 2-2 and get the game to overtime.”
“The Canucks won 3-2 in a shootout when minor-league callup Ryan Shannon did a 270-degree turn and swept the puck in from his knees. He might have won the aerials Sunday at Cypress Bowl. Instead, he won the game.”
“Coming after the Canucks' desultory 6-2 home loss Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver needed this game like water and oxygen.”
“You could tell what it meant to by Naslund's reaction after scoring. He had one. The stoic all-time leading scorer celebrated, raising his arms to the heavens before pumping them.”
“Burrows, by contrast, celebrates all his goals. They're like birthdays.”
“He's has been celebrating a lot lately -- twice in the last three games.”
“On the Canucks, that constitutes red hot.”
“If you looked beyond the murk of the team's current slump and named the Vancouver player who has most exceeded expectations this season, you'd pick Alex Edler. But the next guy would be Burrows, who began the season on the bubble and has become, arguably, the Canucks' fifth-best forward,” said MacIntyre.
“And that was before he started scoring.”
“Moving from the bottom fringe of the lineup to the top five is a commendable achievement for Burrows, whose previous stardom was as a ball-hockey player. But it's not an entirely good thing for the Canucks because it also reveals their lack of scoring depth.”
“The competition beyond Naslund and the Sedins hasn't been fierce.”
“But Alex Burrows making like Alex Ovechkin -- more words new to humanity -- and scoring a marvelous breakaway goal was not the reason the Canucks were impressive Sunday. And it wasn't Naslund, although he was very good, nor Shannon, either.”
“For all the endless droning about the Canucks' lack of scoring depth, their biggest problem the last month has been keeping the puck out of their net.”
“And that's why Sunday's game was impressive. They gave a fast, talented, pressing Chicago team next to nothing. Blackhawk Patrick Sharp scored from a Mike Weaver turnover, and Cam Barker's deflected shot arced unseen over Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo
like a Jimmy Connors topspin lob,” said MacIntyre.
“Luongo had to make precisely two difficult saves before the shootout. He faced only 18 shots in 65 minutes. The Canucks had 34 shots, and probably triple the Blackhawks' scoring chances.”
“Of course, the Canucks could use more finish. If they make the playoffs -- and that is a far bigger word for this team than the letter count -- Vancouver will need more offensive finish.”
“But Sunday's game was yet another reminder that the Canucks fare far better in 2-1 games -- or 2-2 -- than they do in 4-3 games.”
“Four times since their 4-8-3 slump began, Vancouver has lost in regulation time while scoring three goals. In their four wins, they have scored nine goals in regulation and overtime,” said MacIntyre.
“Yes, that gives them little margin for error, such as Weaver's. Yes, it puts tremendous pressure on Luongo. But that is how this team was designed. That is how this team can win.”
"For sure, that's our mentality," Burrows said. "You look at last year, and every win for us was 2-1 or 3-2. This year, sometimes, we think we can get into a run-and-gun style. That's not the way we can play."
Linemate Ryan Kesler
said: "I think if we're worried about our defensive zone first, we have success. You saw tonight if we can frustrate teams in our zone, we will create turnovers and generate offence the other way. Tonight, was a step in the right direction."
“Burrows and Kesler are good at frustrating, checking the opposition's best players. Scoring comes not so easily,” said MacIntyre.
“But given their weighty ice time, and ability to exploit the defensive deficiencies of the offensive players they oppose, Burrows and Kesler are in a better position than most Canucks to help boost scoring.”
“Sunday, with the post beside Luongo still ringing from Patrick Sharp's one-timer, Henrik Sedin
's breakaway pass bounced to Burrows and the Canuck beat Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with a gorgeous backhand deke.”
“Just two games ago, in Atlanta, it was Burrows whose backhand from the slot late in the third period gave Vancouver a 2-1 victory that was like a spike of nitroglycerine to Canuck hearts,” said MacIntyre.
“Burrows' previous two goals were amassed in 34 games. Last season, it took Burrows only 80 games to reach the two-goal plateau.”
"He faked a shot and went backhand," Kesler said admiringly. "You don't make that move unless you're confident. It shows the confidence he has in himself."
“Hopefully, it's contagious,” said MacIntyre.
Mitchell might be back this week: Lower back injury has kept him out 10 games
Elliott Pap said Willie Mitchell might return to the Canuck line-up this week.
“Willie or won't he?”
“Barring setbacks, injured Vancouver Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell is expected to rejoin his teammates for practice Tuesday and then play Thursday against the Minnesota Wild,” said Pap.
“Mitchell has missed 10 games with a stress fracture in his lower back. Kevin Bieksa
, who has been out since Nov. 1 with a lacerated calf, may also practise Tuesday although he is farther away than Mitchell from game action.”
"We're certainly hoping for Willie and there is an outside chance that Kevin will skate with us, too," Canuck assistant coach Rick Bowness said Sunday, prior to the Vancouver-Chicago contest at GM Place. "It could change tomorrow but we're hoping for that."
“The Canucks have sorely missed Mitchell's shutdown presence and penalty-killing prowess. Bowness, who coaches the defence, has been frantically juggling his pairings to make up for Mitchell's absence,” said Pap.
“The Canucks, of course, have also been without blueliners Aaron Miller (ankle) and Lukas Krajicek (shoulder). Bowness had no further updates on their status.”
"If Willie practises Tuesday then, yeah, he should be in the lineup Thursday," Bowness continued.
"If he's ready to practise, then he's got to be ready to play."
“Bieksa began skating Feb. 1 and, according to Bowness, feels he is ahead of schedule,” said Pap.
“Bieksa will most likely be sent to Manitoba for a couple of conditioning games before he rejoins the Canuck lineup.”
"Kevin tells us he is feeling very good," said Bowness. "He's dying to get back and play."
“The Canucks have been bringing their injured players in for workouts and treatment at 7:30 a.m., prior to the arrival of the healthy group,” said Pap.