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Scoring scarce for Canucks

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
A few weeks ago the Vancouver Canucks were on pace to finish the season with 290 goals.

The puck had eyes for the back of the net and it was ending up there with regularity.

There is now a blockage in the system and goals don’t seem to be flowing like they used to.

The most recent example of this came Monday night on Long Island when the Canucks could only muster a single goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

In their last five games the Canucks are 3-0-2, but that speaks to the spectacular play of Roberto Luongo and not Vancouver’s offence. The Canucks dented the scoreboard only nine times over that stretch, that’s less than two goals a game.

Even with Vancouver’s four-goal outburst in a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, it appears that all of the sudden there is a goal drought on the West Coast.

That certainly didn’t look to be the case early in the first period against the Islanders though.

Vancouver’s top-line featured Pavol Demitra as the third Sedin, he was coming off a three assist performance against the Maple Leafs so Canucks coach Alain Vigneault wanted to see if he could light it up with the twins.

It was the twins who lit up Demitra just 49 seconds into the opening 20 minutes.

Henrik did the dirty work in securing puck possession for the Canucks deep in New York’s end, he then ripped a pass to Daniel who was set up along the left hand boards.

Just as quick as Daniel got the puck he sent it flying towards Demitra, from the right face-off circle Demitra wired a one-timer past a delirious Joey MacDonald.

Moe to Larry to Curly, whoop, whoop, whoop Vancouver was ahead 1-0.

“I think I am just playing with great players,” explained Demitra of his recent scoring prowess.

“Like today I’m playing with the twins and in that first 20 minutes we were having a great time, we’ve controlled the game so far and hopefully we’ll just keep passing it to each other and score more goals.”

Unfortunately Demitra’s aspirations for more goals would falter as his score was the extent of highlights the Canucks could produce.

After breezing past the Islanders in the opening period, which included outshooting them 10-5, Vancouver took the second period off.

Profoundly outplayed and heavily outshot to the tune of 18-9, the Canucks were skating in quick sand in the middle frame.

Nothing was going the team’s way as a Canuck even aided the Islanders in their attack on Roberto Luongo with Doug Weight’s game-tying goal going in off Shane O’Brien.

Vancouver’s own goal was the cherry on top of a miserable period.

“I think we just got away from our game plan a little bit in the second,” said Vancouver defenceman Lawrence Nycholat.

“We knew they were going to come hard and they clog up the neutral zone pretty well, so we wanted to get chips in and get pucks in deep into their end and then work down there. We didn’t do that in the second period, we turned it over and as a result of that we took some penalties and played in our end for most of the period.”

The Canucks, assumingly fresh off an earful from Vigneault, came back to life in the third with 10 shots to the Islanders’ 11, they were just unable to take hold of the game and as time ticked away, so too did their chance of winning.

“We got back to our game but obviously, it was a little tougher after giving them the momentum back to them for the second period,” added Nycholat.

“We did some good things there in the third period and we carried it into overtime, unfortunately we came up short in the shootout.”

With Vancouver playing 10 of its next 12 games on the road, the team can ill afford to come up short as they did against the Islanders.

The Canucks were focused on playing in New York, but they might have overlooked the Islanders for the Rangers, who they face on Wednesday.

It’s too bad because the Islanders, who sat one point out of last in the league coming into the game, would have made for a nice confidence snack with a big meal against that other team from New York on the horizon.

0 – Power play goals for Vancouver on four opportunities

– Losses for the Canucks this season when they open the scoring

9 – Shots on net for the top line of Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Pavol Demitra

26:24 – Ice time for Sami Salo, who led all Canucks players

34 Saves for Roberto Luongo, including 18 in the second period

The big O came to life just 49 seconds in and then went into hibernation for the rest of the game.

The Canucks weren't without chances after opening the score, goalies just seem to be getting the better of them these days and Joey MacDonald was no exception.

Holding the opposition to only one regulation goal should spell success, but the Canucks leaned on Roberto Luongo a little too much on this night.

This was especially evident in the second period as the Canucks were outshot 18-9; without Louie Vancouver wouldn't have come away with the point they did.

The Canucks continue to be dominant while at even strength, but they once again gave up a power play goal. 

The Islanders finished 1-for-4 overall.

Vancouver was up and down with the man advantage, they had their chances on some and completely botched others.

The Canucks were 0-for-5 on the night.
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