Mason Raymond took a maintenance day and missed practice Monday with a sore hand, but he didn’t wince at all after whacking in the overtime game-winner as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 at Rogers Arena Tuesday.
Less than 30 seconds into overtime Ryan Kesler beat Paul Stastny on a draw deep in the Colorado end sending the puck bouncing towards netminder Peter Budaj. Raymond lunged towards it and was able to get just enough of it to tap it past the confused goalie to give the Canucks their third straight win on home ice and first two-game winning streak of the season.
“We kind of lost the draw there and I saw the puck heading behind the net and I took a whack at it towards the net and it went in between his legs,” said Raymond of his third goal of the season and second game-winner in five games.
“It wasn’t the prettiest, but I’m very pleased,” added Raymond. “It’s finally nice to see one of those go in after some struggles. It’s a relief.”
Raymond’s goal capped a game that Vancouver was in control of early on before Colorado took charge late.
Jeff Tambellini and David Jones traded goals in the first as the Canucks doubled up on the Avalanche in shots 16-8; in the second it was Ryan Kesler and Daniel Winnik swapping scores, but Colorado outshot Vancouver 2-to-1, 16-8.
In the third it was all Avalanche again as they outshot the homeside 15-5. Despite the onslaught, Peter Schaefer’s first regular season goal in Vancouver since March 10, 2001 had the Canucks ahead 3-2.
That looked to be all she wrote for the Avalanche, but the youthful visitors made a push late and it paid off as Matt Duchene beat Roberto Luongo with 1:33 remaining to send the game to overtime and set the stage for Raymond’s sixth career game-winner.
The Canucks close out October with a record of 4-3-2, their lowest win total since 2002-03, with their 10 points counting as their fewest since 2007-08.
On the plus side, Daniel Sedin assisted on Tambellini’s second goal in as many games to extend his point streak to nine games, moving him past Trevor Linden and Mike Walton for second all-time, two back of Tony Tanti’s record of 11 from the start of the 1983-84 season.
Roberto Luongo stopped 36 of 39 shots in winning his second start of the season. You’d expect the Canucks keeper to be pleased with the effort, despite allowing three goals for the fourth time in five games.
“I’m a little disappointed, I was just getting ready for a shootout there,” joked Luongo after the game. “I was getting jacked up for a shootout, so I’m a little disappointed that we won in overtime.”
Okay he was pleased.
Luongo’s night began with David Van Der Gulik losing an edge and taking the goalie out in his crease, moments before David Jones beat him top shelf on a crazy nice shot.
It was all about standing his ground after that, and he did.
“Sometimes you’ve got to give the guy credit, it was a perfect shot under the bar and in. I found that I was in good position, sometimes guys just make perfect shots.
“I just kept focus and knew that this time would stay with it and we responded right away, so that was nice.”
The Canucks gave Luongo three regulation goals to work with on the night and he was able to do just enough to help the Canucks jump to second place in the Northwest Division.
Luongo admitted that this was the hardest he’s worked in seven starts this year.
“It was a lot of in zone work, not necessarily resulting in a lot of shots at times, but they were cycling the puck pretty well and got their Ds involved. They’ve got a pretty good offence with those young guys.”
This was the final Canucks game for October, the next time Vancouver hits the ice is November 1st – five days from now. Overall, the team is in the midst of a one game in nine days stretch, which Luongo is shining a positive light on.
“We as a team, we know that we’re doing some good things out there and there are some areas we need to improve on, not only as a team, but as individuals. This is a good week for us to be working on some stuff to be sure that come next week when the games pick up, we’re ready to play some solid hockey.”
Vancouver’s first captain became Vancouver’s first inductee into the Ring of Honour Tuesday.
Prior to the game, Orland Kurtenbach, Vancouver’s captain from 1970-1974, was bestowed with a spot in of the Ring of Honour, a new team initiative launched this season that features a permanent in-bowl display at Rogers Arena for each inductee.
During a pre-game ceremony the Kurtenbach display was unveiled and he was also presented with an original oil painting of his likeness from his playing days.
It was a night the 13-year NHL veteran will never forget. Especially since he didn’t expect the monument he got.
“I anticipated something 6x12 up there leaving room for another 50 guys in the future,” said Kurtenbach of his display in the Ring of Honour.
“The size of it was a little frightening, but it was amazing. I’m very very honored to be the first inductee and I’ll be very happy to see the other players go up as they are put up on the Ring of Honour.”
John-Michael Liles set an NHL record for consecutive games with an assist by a defenseman to begin a season with a second helper on Daniel Winnik’s third goal of the season in the second period, which made it nine straight with a helper. Liles broke the mark originally set in 2008-09 by Filip Kuba of Ottawa; the Canucks played their second game of the season in retro jerseys sans name bars.