The Vancouver Canucks lost in regulation for just the 11th time this season Wednesday night at Rogers Arena, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Anaheim Ducks.
Jason Blake scored on Anaheim’s first shift and the Ducks took a 3-0 lead early in the second period off back-to-back goals scored 50 seconds apart to put the Canucks in a deep hole for the first time in a long time.
Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler scored for the Canucks, who mounted a comeback cutting the Ducks lead to 3-2 before Anaheim restored its two-goal lead, but Vancouver again made it a game late scoring with 21 seconds left.
The Canucks came close to evening the score in the dying seconds before the final horn put an end to Vancouver’s 15 game home regulation unbeaten streak. The loss also ended Vancouver’s bid for a seventh consecutive win, a streak that came on the heels of eight straight victories, all part of a 25-4-6 record for the Canucks in their last 35 games dating back to November 24th, 2010.
The numbers don’t lie, the Canucks have been impressive, but they were far from it against the Ducks for the third time this season. In three meetings so far, Anaheim has taken five of six points from Vancouver.
“We didn’t play good enough, we were sloppy for two periods, our shifts were too long and we had too many turnovers, so we weren’t good enough today,” said Henrik Sedin, who had one assist and a team-high five shots, adding that he wasn’t upset the Canucks lost, but at how they lost.
“You can’t be happy if you aren’t playing the way you want and you expect. You’re going to lose games, but you’ve got to lose playing better than this.”
To make matters worse, the Canucks lost a defenceman for the second straight game and for what feels like the two hundredth time this season.
With 13:31 to play in the third period, Ryan Getzlaf hit Dan Hamhuis behind the Vancouver goal; Hamhuis’ face hit the glass hard knocking him to the ice where he remained motionless for a few minutes. He was eventually helped off the ice and into the dressing room.
The Canucks are getting used to playing with five defencemen as Keith Ballard was injured just 48 hours earlier against the Ottawa Sentors. An MRI on his knee showed a mild sprain, which will sideline him 3-4 weeks.
Although coach Alain Vigneault was optimistically vague on Hamhuis’ status following the game saying “He’s got the glass plastered to his face right now, he’s got a big red mark, but he seemed fine,” he was a little more concrete on the availability of veteran defenceman Sami Salo. When asked if he expected Salo to play Saturday at home against the Calgary Flames, Vigneault replied, “Right now, I’d say there’s a very good chance.”
Since Alex Burrows joined the Canucks full-time in 2006-07, he’s been a part of quite a few teams that were forced to battle through injuries, so as depressing as it sounds, this is nothing new for the team.
“I think we’ve been used to this every year,” said Burrows, who became the first ECHL player to record 100 career goals with a score early in the third period, a goal that also extended his point streak to eight games (6-3-9).
“It’s nothing we haven’t seen in the past and we have good guys that are going to come up and play those big minutes and we’re a good group so we’ll be alright.”
The Canucks are now 6-10-3 when giving up the first goal; Aaron Volpatti dressed in place of Jeff Tambellini on Vancouver’s fourth line; quote of the week goes to Keith Ballard who, upon seeing the eyebrow-raising picture of his right leg bending the wrong way injuring his right knee last game, said, "I'm not the most flexible person, it's pretty impressive. I don't think bodies are supposed to move like that."