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Road rally falls short

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 5-3 loss to Calgary.

Dustin Boyd scored his second goal of the season 9:16 into the second period to put the already lifeless Canucks into a black hole.

Vancouver trailed 4-0 at that point and the Calgary lead swelled to 5-0 before the Canucks woke up and mounted a decent rally scoring three straight goals in the third period.

Rick Rypien, Mikael Samuelsson and Christian Ehrhoff scored for the Canucks, the latter two netted power play goals 41 seconds part with less than three minutes left in the third.

Rick Rypien and Brandon Prust have really got something going. For the second straight season Rypien and Prust engaged in an epic battle of fists, the scrap played out 2:33 into the second period with the Canucks looking for a jolt.

Rypien won this bout thanks to a mélange of rights, lefts and blocks, but the victory didn’t spark Vancouver as Calgary replied with three more goals before the period let out.

Rypien also netted Vancouver’s first goal beating Miikka Kiprusoff with an off-angle shot in the third. He finished one assist shy of the coveted Gordie Howe hat trick.

Vancouver struggled in every facet of its game, the offence didn’t apply enough pressure, the defence couldn’t contain pressure and Roberto Luongo wasn’t Roberto Luongo.

That being said there were a few bright spots and Mikael Samuelsson was one of them. The Swedish veteran collected one goal and led the Canucks with seven shots in 18:10 of ice time.

Samuelsson is now second in team scoring with six points in as many games; his point streak is now up to four games with 2 goals and three assists over that stretch.

Roberto Luongo allowed five goals on 19 shots and was pulled for the second time in four games.

Captain Luongo lasted only 40 minutes and although the Canucks didn’t give him much help on this night, he didn’t help the team much out either. Luongo has allowed 10 goals in five periods to the Flames this season.

Andrew Raycroft filled in admirably for Luongo with five saves; he’s only allowed one goal in 42:34 of action this season.

Checking the standings six games into the season is ludicrous, but trailing the Northwest Division leading Flames by nine points this early is worrisome.

Last season the Canucks proved miracle comebacks can happen as they erased a hefty deficit to claim the division title. Just because they did it once, doesn’t mean they can do it again.

It’s too early to panic, much too early to panic, but a massive gap in the standings isn’t good for anything right now.

After playing just two games over 10 days, the Canucks have three contests in four nights over the weekend and into next week. The madness started against the Flames, continues Saturday night at home versus the Minnesota Wild before Vancouver travels to Edmonton to play the Oilers on Monday.

Vancouver and Minnesota met six times last year with the Canucks picking up five wins and amassing at least a point in each contest. The Wild were outscored 16-9 by the Canucks, but they managed to steal one game upending Vancouver 4-3 in overtime on January 31.

NUMBERS

2 – Number of times Roberto Luongo has been pulled in the last four games.

2 – Assists for Henrik Sedin.

3 – Fighting majors handed out to the Canucks. Rick Rypien, Darcy Hordichuk and Tanner Glass all dropped the mitts.

9 – Points the Canucks trail the Flames in the standings.

41 – Seconds between late third period goals by Mikael Samuelsson and Christian Ehrhoff.

OFFENCE

The Canucks outshot their opposition, again, but again it wasn't a matter of getting pucks on goal because they couldn't beat Kipper early on. 

Mikael Samuelsson was Vancouver's best forward, he buzzed all game, even when the Canucks struggled to leave their own end.

DEFENCE

The last line of defence, Roberto Luongo, will take his share of blame for this loss and he deserves it, but the defence as a whole was off its game. 

On the bright side, the top pairing of Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell lived up to expectations in holding Jarome Iginla off the scoresheet.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vancouver only gave up one power play goal to hold Calgary to 1-for-6, but the Flames scored a shorthanded marker that really stung.

The Canucks were 2-for-5 on the power play scoring a pair of goals late on a 5-on-3 then a 5-on-4.

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