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The Goods: Canucks stumped in Ottawa

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 3-1 loss to Ottawa.

…Ottawa’s Chris Kelly scored the easiest of his 11 goals this season putting the puck into an empty Vancouver goal with 41 seconds to play in the third period to ice a 3-1 win for the Senators over the Canucks.

In a surprise move from coach Alain Vigneault, Andrew Raycroft got the start in goal in place of Roberto Luongo for this game, although having both netminders between the pipes likely wouldn’t have prevented the game’s opening goal. On the power play just a 1:34 in, Milan Michalek tipped a shot past Raycroft on a one-timer as the Canucks gave up the opening goal for the fifth straight outing.

Ottawa doubled its lead thanks to a Jason Spezza goal late in the first as Vancouver headed to the locker room outshot 12-3.

The Canucks responded from their slow start with 17 shots over the final 40 minutes, but, not surprisingly, not even that was enough to get the best of Sens netminder Brian Elliott who was all but perfect in winning his ninth straight game. He's allowed a goal or less in six of those games.

The only player to beat Elliott was Kyle Wellwood as he polished off a one-timer from Mason Raymond and Pavol Demitra on the power play with 99 seconds to play.

While Ottawa wins its 11th straight game, Vancouver drops its second straight and for the third time in four games former NHL leading scorer Henrik Sedin was held off the scoresheet. Alex Ovechkin had three points on Thursday to leapfrog Hank on the leaderboard with 82 points.

Andrew Raycroft didn’t come away with his sixth win of the season, instead falling to 5-4-1 on the year, but in allowing only a pair of goals in just his first start in 26 games, Rayzor more than held his own.

Although the second shot on goal beat Raycroft, he settled in to stop 10 shots in the first and 18 overall, his fifth highest save total of the season.

Second period saves on Jason Spezza and Jonathan Cheechoo kept Vancouver in the game until the dire moments on the third.

Alain Vigneault was adamant that his players didn’t compete as hard as he would have liked and it’s tough to argue that. One skater who was noticeable on the night was Aaron Rome and it was clear he was giving it his all.

Rome had 14:19 of ice time, slightly above his season average, and chipped in with a blocked shot and a takeaway in addition to tying Shane O’Brien with a team-high four hits.

The Canucks are one of only four teams in the NHL that have yet to top the 1,000 hit mark and life on the road promises to get a lot more difficult if they don’t start playing with some physicality.

Vancouver has either gone up against hot goalies in two straight games or has made two netminders look good in their last two outings, it all depends on how you look at it.

Either way, the Canucks have only three goals in two consecutive losses, a far cry from the offensive juggernauts they were during a seven game win streak when they averaged more than four scores a night.

It’s no coincidence that just as the top line goes cold, so too does the offence. Not only do the Sedins and Burrows need to snap out of their funk, but the secondary scoring need to be a lot more consistent.

Coach Alain Vigneault’s thoughts on the game, starting Andrew Raycroft and why he chose the backup for this game:

”We didn’t have a good start and they had a good start and they had a real strong push at the beginning. For the first 10 minutes it’s like there was only one team on the ice and that was theirs. We had too many guys tonight that just didn’t play well and, I hate saying this, but didn’t compete as hard as the opposition. Even though they didn’t get much in the second and the third, the might have had two or three chances in those two periods, we just weren’t good enough five on five and weren’t executing enough and we had too many guys who had a bad game.

”We had planned that Raycroft would either get today or Boston and after the Montreal game we just talked it over and we thought that this was a good time to get him back into a game after the way he played in the second and third period in Toronto.

”Whatever I say we’re going to second guess, Lui had played 25 consecutive games, so I figured that this was the game for Rayzor to play. And goaltending wasn’t an issue tonight.“

The winding road continues for the Canucks as they’re now three games into their 14-game trip.

No rest for the wicked, the Canucks traveled to Boston following this loss, the only time all trip they’ll travel post-game.

Vancouver plays Boston Saturday morning, puck drop is 10 a.m. pacific time.

NUMB3RS

1 – Goal for Kyle Wellwood, his sixth of the year.

2
– Losses for the Canucks in their last nine games.

4 – Hits for Aaron Rome and Shane O'Brien, a team-high.

4-1-0 – Vancouver's record versus Ottawa since the lockout.

5 – Straight games the Canucks have given up the opening goal.

18
– Saves for Andrew Raycroft in his first start since December 5, 2009.

OFFENCE

Stumbling out of the gates with three shots on goal in the first period had the Canucks set up for a miserable outing offensively, and although they outshot the Senators in the end, that's just what it was.

Twelve Canucks tested Elliott at least once, but three skaters combined for 12 of the team's 30 shots.

Vancouver outshot Ottawa 30-21.

DEFENCE

This wasn't a bad outing on the backend as following the early Ottawa goal, Vancouver's blueliners buckled down and limited the home side to nearly nothing. 

Andrew Raycroft deserved better than taking another loss, he gave the Canucks a fighting chance until the final horn.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Both teams went 1-for-3 on the power play, with the Canucks outshooting the Senators 7-2 on the man advantage.

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