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The Goods: Win streak quacked

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 3-2 loss to Anaheim.

…Saku Koivu scored his sixth goal of the season, a power play marker, to finish off a tic-tac-toe passing play from Dan Sexton and Kyle Calder with 4:13 left in the third period pushing the Ducks to a 3-2 win over the Canucks.

Straying from their recent script of scoring early, the Canucks chose quality over quantity in regards to shots in the first period as they were outshot 13-2 by Anaheim. Henrik Sedin made good on Vancouver’s second shot following a Bobby Ryan goal to leave the teams even at 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Vancouver slowly picked up its play in the middle frame, but a Ryan Getzlaf goal, which came off the rebound of a demented Roberto Luongo stop on Sheldon Brookbank, had the Ducks leading 2-1, ready to fly South with a win.

Steve Bernier converted a loose puck in the Anaheim crease early in the third and this game appeared to be headed for overtime until Koivu’s timely score.

The Canucks lose for the first time in four games, and fail to move into the top eight in the Western Conference for the first time this season, despite taking it to the Ducks in the final period, outshooting the opposition 17-10.

A loss stings no matter what, but it’s even worse when Roberto Luongo is on his A-game like he was on this night.

With the Canucks heavily outshot in the early going, it was the Luongo show that kept the home side from being in a hole too big to climb out of.

Luongo finished as the game’s first star for his 31 save effort, which included the aforementioned save on Brookbank on a play that started with a sliding pad save on Corey Perry in front midway through the second period.

After the stop the puck was worked back to the point and eventually to Brookbank, who let a slapper fly. Kyle Calder ran a little interference on Luongo forcing him to frantically dive to his left to make the save on Brookbank. It was a highlight reel robbery that had its significance erased when Getzlaf was left alone with the rebound putting it into the empty net.

No disrespect to Sami Salo for his two-assist game, but against the Ducks it was big bad Steve Bernier who didn’t get the thanks he deserved for a stellar outing.

Not only did Bernier do exactly as the instructions read in cementing himself in front of the Anaheim goal and making life miserable for Jonas Hiller, but he managed to put stick to puck for the ninth time this season. His second goal and third point in six games was dirty, filthy even, just the way the Canucks like it.

With nine goals thus far, Bernier is primed to join Vancouver’s 10 goal club, which already includes Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson and Mason Raymond.

Bernier, not just a scorer, also got to the body for a team-high six hits; he’s now second in that category on the Canucks with 52 hits, nine back of Tanner Glass’ 61.

After a multi-shot first period the Canucks appeared destined to set a new season low for shots, which sat at 15 from a contest in late October against the LA Kings.

Eleven shots in the second followed by 17 in the third ensured Vancouver hit the 30-shot mark, but you can’t help but wonder what could have been with more pressure in the opening frame.

Roberto Luongo’s thoughts on the loss, Vancouver’s sluggish start and the second Anaheim goal where his space was invaded by Kyle Calder:

"They deserved to win the game and we didn’t. The sad part is that it was 2-2 with five minutes left in the game and we had a chance to maybe bring the game to overtime and we take a penalty and they score.

"We don’t come out, we don’t play hard and then all of the sudden we’re trailing and we mount a push in the third and we fall short. It’s unfortunate because like I said, we had a chance to at least bring this game to overtime.

"It was a close call and the ref didn’t see it and you have to battle through those things. I was able to make the save but I don’t know what was going on there, the point guy was open and the rebound guy was all alone as well so sometimes those things are going to happen, you’ve just got to fight through it."

The eight-game home stand continues with one of the most anticipated contests of the season, a match-up with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at GM Place on Friday night.

This won’t be Ovechkin’s first visit to Vancouver, but with all the buzz and hype building in the city, it certainly feels like it is.


NUMB3RS

1– Goal for Vancouver in the first period.

2
– Shots for the Canucks in the opening 20 minutes.

8 – Game point streaks for the Sedins, who were both in on the first Vancouver goal.

31 – Saves for Roberto Luongo.

500 – NHL games for Mikael Samuelsson.

QUOTABLE
“We have a problem this year, we can’t seem to find a way to come back from behind to tie the game or score the winning goal."

-
Sami Salo (on not winning tight ones)

"He’s been really good for us lately, he made some big saves, that second goal should have been a penalty, no way that that should be a goal. "

-Alex Burrows (on the play of Luongo)

"We didn’t have one. Totally got out played, out-anything-you-want-to-call-it. They were the much better team in the first period, without a doubt."

-Alain Vigneault (on Van's first period)
OFFENCE

When it was bad it was real bad, when it was good it was real good.

Vancouver's offence started slow but found its groove just in time to make this a close game. Jonas Hiller was the main reason the Canucks didn't get a least a single point on this night.

Vancouver was outshot by Anaheim 34-30.

DEFENCE

Roberto Luongo held down the fort beautifully, the same can't be said for the defenders in front of him. Not one goal against jumps out as a Luongo blunder in this 31-save outing.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Canucks failed to convert on the power play going 0-for-5, while the Ducks quaked once at 1-for-4.

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