Vancouver - Nov. 12, 2011 -
Was it the fact the Vancouver Canucks played last night in LA, or was it just plain indifference for the Canucks in the first 40 minutes of tonight’s game that saw them down 4-0 at the end of two? Whatever the reason, it was almost forgiven as Kevin Bieksa’s goal early in the third period ignited the Canucks unbelievable rally in the final frame, but fell just short, as the Canucks fell 4-3 to the Anaheim Ducks.
After scoring four goals in the second period, and chasing Luongo from the net to start the third, all the Ducks had to do was kill the remaining 20 minutes to coast to an easy victory, but the Canucks had other plans as they finally decided to play some hockey and made the Ducks earn the win right to the final buzzer!
Let’s face it, the Canucks laid a turd in the second period, thanks largely in part to Aaron Rome’s 5 minute major penalty allowing the Ducks to score twice with the extended man advantage. It’s true that Luongo allowed 4 goals on 10 shots, 2 on the power play, but the team in front of him didn’t exactly play spirited hockey either. Aside from Cody Hodgson’s early scoring opportunity in the first period, the Canucks for the most part were AWOL before the third period. The Sedins were a no-show, and usual agitator Maxim Lapierre’s antics were nowhere to be seen. In other words, it looked as if the Canucks had already started packing for the trip home.
But what a difference a goal makes, as Kevin Bieksa scored a power play goal in the first five minutes of the third period that seemed to slap the Canucks back to reality and made them realize that there was hockey game being played, and all of a sudden the rally was on! The Canucks outshot the Ducks 22-2 and managed to score 3 goals in less than 10 minutes as Jannik Hansen scored two more to pull the Canucks within a goal of tying the game and doing some serious damage to the Ducks psyche in the process. But the feverish effort came just a little too late as the Ducks barely hung on for the win.
With one minute left in the game and Corey Schneider sitting on the bench for the extra attacker, Corey Perry gave the Canucks a gift as he viciously slashed Henrik Sedin with a two hander to take an ill-timed penalty at the worst possible moment. With the Canucks now having a two man advantage, they squandered the opportunity by passing the puck looking and waiting for the perfect shot rather than peppering Hiller with frozen rubber in an attempt to get the tying goal. If there were only 30 more seconds on the clock, the Canucks possibly could have pulled off the comeback. If only…
There will be lots of talk and questions about why the Canucks waited so long to get into this game and put forth the third period effort earlier in the game. Yes, there will be talk alright. Talk about the win that almost was.
So the Canucks end the six game road trip with a 3-3 record and now head home to face the Rangers, and the League’s biggest ass, Sean Avery on Sunday. Let’s hope the Canucks’ conversation on the flight home tonight is centered around asking themselves where they were for the first 40 minutes tonight, and it makes them bring the answer on Sunday.