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 shootout loss to Calgary.
…Calgary forward Jamie Lundmark, the sixth and final shooter, beat Roberto Luongo with a backhand shot in the shootout to give the Flames a 3-2 edge in the one-on-one battle and a 3-2 win.
The battle of Northwest foes, who were tied for first in the division with 55 points each coming into the game, kicked off with a Rene Bourque goal midway through the opening frame before Mikael Samuelsson scored his third goal in as many games and fifth in six contests to even things up after 20 minutes.
Vancouver took the lead 4:41 into the second when Henrik and Daniel Sedin hooked up for one of the better Sedin goals in recent memory. Alex Burrows sent a long outlet pass to Henrik, who picked up the puck just outside the Calgary blueline and carried it in on goal down the left side. With no defenders between Hank and Miikka Kiprusoff, the netminder was preparing for a shot, instead Henrik sifted a blind backhand pass to Daniel who was flying down the middle of the ice. He one-timed it into the empty goal to put the Canucks up 2-1. Incredible.
Lundmark, fresh off being recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL, scored his second of the season halfway through the second to even things up again and that’s how the score remained through the third period and overtime.
Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond both beat Kiprusoff in the shootout, while Ryan Kesler rang one off the iron. At the other end of the rink Luongo was beat on all three shots from Nigel Dawes, Olli Jokinen and Lundmark to springboard Calgary above Vancouver by one point in the division.
With Aaron Rome and Sami Salo out of the line-up, Vancouver’s depleted blueline, consisting of new additions Brad Lukowich and Evan Oberg on this night, needed their best defenders to be just that. Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Edler were.
Ehrhoff, the NHL leader in plus/minus at plus-23, survived 32:20 of ice time, the most he’s seen in 385 career games. On top of that, Ehrhoff played with all five of Vancouver’s other defenders as Alain Vigneault mixed his pairings based on the situation and the match-up. Communication is the key when shuffling the deck like that and Ehrhoff was vocal with his partners all game.
Edler played his best game in recent memory, and perhaps even the season in logging 32:16 of ice time. He skated with a chip on his shoulder in not shying away from the physical Flames, and he was crafty with his stick, most noticeably when he pulled a puck off the goal line in the third period with the Flames pressing.
This pair combined to block seven shots and both saw time on the power play and penalty kill.
Rick Rypien and Brandon Prust go together like gasoline and water.
These heavyweights in lightweights’ clothing, who have a long history of fisticuffs including a memorable bout from earlier this season, tangoed twice proving that Saturday night really is all right for fighting.
The first tussle went down with less than three minutes remaining in the first period, and although Rypien showed teeth, Prust got the best of him. Score it 6 to 4 for the Calgary tough guy.
Rypien, clearly not impressed with the judges decision, enacted some revenge on Prust in the second fight, another close one. By the end of the battle, which seemed to last about 10 minutes, Rypien had landed more overall punches and more money shots to the face, leaving Prust in a mess.
The penalty box camera told the tale of the second brouhaha, a 6-4 Rypien win, as Prust resembled a 300-pound football tackle who comes up with a fumble and rumbles 76 yards for a touchdown. Someone get the oxygen. Quick.
With the way Miikka Kiprusoff was performed through 40 minutes, no one wanted to see this game go to overtime, especially not the Canucks, despite their third period shot total.
Vancouver ended up testing Kiprusoff nine times in the frame, but all nine of those shots came in the final 10 minutes of the period and only one, mayyyybe two, made Calgary sweat.
The Canucks were outshot 40-21 overall; 21 shots was the team’s lowest output in 10 games.
Roberto Luongo on the shootout loss, Calgary’s crash and bang style of play and his run-in with fellow Team Canada member Jarome Iginla:
”I’m just disappointed. We need to do a better job in the shootout there. It’s a tough way to lose and I would have liked to make one or two saves at least there in the shootout.
”It seems like Calgary was just throwing everything at the net, bringing guys to the net, crashing the net, stuff like that, so it was just one of those games. We found a way to get it to overtime, but just couldn’t get that extra point.
”I just told [Jarome] that I can’t wait to play with him in February.”
The Canucks have Sunday to rest up and come up with a game plan for the Nashville Predators before they invade GM Place on Monday.
Vancouver and Nashville have each won once against the other this season with the Canucks narrowly outscoring the Predators 6-5 overall.
Coach Vigneault said he thought Sami Salo might have dressed to face the Flames, so there’s a chance he could be back in the line-up to face the Predators.