Monday, February 4, 2013

Canucks Game #9 Review: @ Edmonton Oilers

Game #8: Vancouver Canucks 3 - Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)

Chris Tanev celebrates his OT winner and first NHL goal

Game Summary

A lackluster power play did it's best to derail an otherwise formidable effort from the Canucks, but Roberto Luongo's goaltending and some heroics from the team's defense salvaged two points late in the evening in Edmonton.

After falling behind 2-0, the Canucks rallied.  Jannik Hansen's yeoman-like effort brought the Canucks within one, but it took 58 minutes for the Canucks to find the back of the net for a second time.

Despite out-shooting the Oilers 22-4 during the middle of the game, the Canucks could not buy a goal.  That is, until Kevin Bieksa hammered a shot through a screened Devan Dubnyk late in the third, which set the stage for overtime.

In overtime, a long shift from the Sedin twins resulted in a giveaway and ultimately a penalty shot for Taylor Hall.  No problem - Roberto Luongo to the rescue.  The Canucks' goaltender made the stop look easy, and queued a terrific moment for Chris Tanev.  With seconds left in overtime, the Sedin twins set up Tanev in the slot, who wired the game winner - and his first NHL goal - past Devan Dubnyk.

Three Up

Roberto Luongo - this is a recording.  Bobby Lou has been nothing short of terrific.  The NHL star of the week and best back up goaltender in the league proved his value once again tonight.  He was the less active goalie but made numerous highlight reel saves to keep his team in the game and he could not be faulted on either goal.  His stop on Taylor Hall's penalty shot saved the Canucks big time.

Jannik Hansen - The Great Dane was all over the ice tonight.  With a goal and an assist, Hansen skated for miles and was a factor all night.

Chris Tanev - It was not Tanev's best game ever, but the Ballard - Tanev pairing was good enough to be put out in the last minute of overtime - a marked departure from typical Alain Vigneault thinking.  Tanev's game winner and ensuing celebration will be a highlight of this year's shortened season.

Three Down

Zack Kassian - the big guy did not have a horrible night, but he was booted off of the top line in favour of Alex Burrows.  Once Burrows reunited with the twins, they're play did improve.

Alex Edler - another nonchalant play resulted in a short-handed goal against.  His offensive upside is tremendous, but he's been a negative factor too often in this young season.

Powerplay - Speaking of a negative factor, the Canucks power play has now run up a 1/26 stretch.  The power outage has handed points over to conference rivals.  Hopefully they can simplify their approach and pot some goals before it costs them more points.

Final Thought

There's a few ways to look at tonight's game.  On the one hand, the team played well enough to win and dominated the Oilers for long stretches.  Shots were 40-25 Vancouver, and face-offs were even more lopsided.

On the other hand, special teams were suspect once again, and if it were not for the terrific goaltending of Roberto Luongo, the Oilers could have padded their lead and won going away.

It's a difficult Canucks team to read. After the game, Daniel Sedin said on Sportsnet that he felt like the last 30 minutes of the game saw the team finally come together and play their style.  Out-scoring the Oilers 3-0 over that span is a good start, but keep in mind that two of those goals were scored by the defense. 

The team is starving for offense, as witnessed by Jordan Shroeder's nearly 19 minutes in ice time.  Raymond, Hansen and Schroeder were arguably the Canucks' best line all night long, but if you believed that would be true before the year began, good on you - head to Vegas.

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