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 3-2 win over Washington.
…Mason Raymond corralled a loose puck just outside the Washington crease and beat a sprawling Jose Theodore with a wrist shot on the power play to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead with 6:04 to play in the third period.
Raymond’s second goal of the game and 14th of the season started with a heads up play by Roberto Luongo as he moved the puck blueline to blueline on a Capitals change giving his team time to set up in the opposing zone. A Christian Ehrhoff blast later and Raymond potted the rebound for an exhilarating Canucks win.
Ryan Kesler opened the scoring 6:39 into the first, but before the period was through Washington held a 2-1 lead off goals from Alex Semin and Chris Clark.
Raymond tied the game with one of Vancouver’s prettiest goals of the season (see Clutch Canuck for the juicy details) late in the second and when push came to shove in the final frame, the home team stepped up for its fourth win in five games with three contests remaining on this eight-game home stand.
The only thing hotter than the play of Mason Raymond on this day was the equipment van of the Minnesota Wild.
For the third time in four games Raymond picked up two points, which were both goals for the second time this season; his first brought the sellout crowd at GM Place to their feet for its brilliance, the second for its clutch timing.
On the game-tying goal Raymond and Henrik Sedin broke in on defenceman Shaone Morrisonn with Raymond carving a trail down the right side with his body English screaming pass. He quickly put it into overdrive when Morrisonn dropped back just a hair to take away the pass, but instead of firing wildly at Theodore, May Ray displayed sublime patience in slamming on the breaks and zigzagging the puck around the flopped netminder.
Poise, patience and perfection. A thing of beauty it truly was.
Raymond now has 14 goals and 24 points on the season, which is a new career high for the 24-year-old.
Coming into this contest all eyes were on Alexander Ovechkin, and for good reason.
The most dynamic player in the NHL can seemingly do it all offensively, but this freebird was unable to take flight against the Canucks thanks to a blanketing effort by Vancouver’s defence.
With Alex Semin and Ovechkin separated to give the Capitals two bonafide scoring lines, the Canucks couldn’t put all their eggs in one basket and shut down both superstars. They focused on OV and it paid off.
Ovechkin, the NHL’s sixth leading scorer who had 38 points in 27 games coming in, was held to just three shots on goal in a minus-1 effort during a game-high 24:23 of ice time.
Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo get the bulk of the credit for the suffocating effort, but others like Raymond, Kesler and Samuelsson also deserve a pat on the back for playing a great two-way game.
Anyone seen Washington’s top ranked power play unit?
It was rudely escorted from GM Place thanks to some commanding special teams play by the Canucks? Nice.
The Capitals, who boasted a power play percentage of 24.3 coming into the game, were held off the scoreboard on four man advantages and only granted one shot on goal.
Vancouver has now killed 19-of-21 penalties during their eight-game home stand; the Canucks are 13-2-0 when not giving up a power play goal.
Defenceman Willie Mitchell on Vancouver’s masterful shutdown of Alex Ovechkin and what went right for the Canucks on the penalty kill:
”He got a couple of chances in the third period, but for the most part we did a pretty good job, we had him in check and when you keep guys like that in check you’re going to have a chance.
“I thought we did a really good job with entries at the blueline, the forwards really pushed the puck to the side and allowed the D to step up, therefore they didn’t have the puck in our zone as much, we did a great job there.”
A well deserved off day comes Vancouver’s way on Saturday before the St. Louis Blues chug into town on Sunday for the first of two meetings between these teams before the end of December.
The Canucks were embarrassed in their last outing against the Blues as St. Louis scored four goals in the first eight minute of play en route to a 6-1 win.