The Vancouver Canucks blanked the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 Monday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver in a game that had all the drama of a close post-season outing. With only nine games remaining in the regular season, the Canucks are switching gears at a perfect time and have now won three straight.
Ryan Kesler made a triumphant return to the Canucks line-up scoring the game-winning goal 7:26 into the first period; the forward, who missed 19 games with a broken ankle, pounced on a loose puck in the Coyotes crease for his second goal of the season.
That's how the game stood until Dan Hamhuis was the last Vancouver player to touch the puck before a Phoenix player accidentally shot it into his own empty net with a minute remaining in regulation.
Cory Schneider was once again sensational recording 19 saves for his ninth win in his last 11 consecutive starts and fifth shutout of the season.
The Canucks tested Mike Smith with 41 shots on the night, including seven from Chris Higgins and six from Daniel Sedin.
Vancouver now hits the road for a five-game road trip beginning Wednesday in Calgary.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Richard Sherman looks natural in a Canucks jersey...if only he could skate...
Tweet of the Night - "Chris Levesque time? #Canucks"
. Roberto Luongo suffered a minor injury during warm-up, prompting this blast from the past tweet. Always great to hear the name Chris Levesque. If you don't know who Levesque is, crawl out from under that rock
This and that - Chris Tanev appeared on the Canucks Game Magazine for the first time ever and for the first time ever he missed a game because of injury; Cory Schneider started his 11th straight game, he's 9-2 over that stretch; the Canucks have scored shorthanded empty net goals in back-to-back games.
Don't forget Bally - Ryan Kesler's return overshadowed that of Keith Ballard, who missed five games with a minor fracture in his foot. Ballard was steady playing 13:46 with one hit, one takeaway and a blocked shot. Like any good defenceman, he wasn't noticeable.
Optimist Prime -
Big shout out to Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who not only took in his first Vancouver Canucks game, but also filled in as reporter after practice earlier in the day. Here's a preview of his work