| Down two goals with just under five minutes to go, the Vancouver Canucks headed to the powerplay looking to make a game of it.
But as has been the case over the past several weeks, the PP just couldn’t come through when the team needed it to.
Marek Svatos had two points and Cody McCormick scored the winning goal midway through the third as the Colorado Avalanche took over top spot in the Northwest Division with a 3-1 win over the visiting Canucks.
Taylor Pyatt scored the lone Vancouver goal, rippling the mesh just under seven minutes into the second period.
Pyatt picked up a juicy rebound and lifted a backhander post-and-in past Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj.
While Pyatt’s goal was a powerplay marker that ended a 1-for-25 stretch for Vancouver, it wasn’t the tide-turner Canucks fans had hoped, as Vancouver failed on its only powerplay to follow and exhibited some of the same tendencies that led them to that miserable stretch. Sami Salo fired a one-timer that missed everything.
Daniel Sedin tried a shot from the red line that Budaj had no trouble with.
And the PP as a whole struggled to get anything from the inside and was relegated mostly to passing the puck around the perimeter.
Vancouver’s road games are generally tight-checking affairs in which special teams play a vital role and its hot and cold powerplay has been a major factor in the team’s sub-.500 road record this month.
Perhaps an indicator of his frustration with the PP, coach Alain Vigneault promoted Markus Naslund back up to the top unit with the Sedins.
And perhaps an indication of his frustration with how that unit performed, coming out of a TV timeout, Vigneault elected to send the second unit onto the ice, shelving the Sedin line.
After his team failed to click with their late powerplay, Vigneault elected not to bring Roberto Luongo to the bench for an extra attacker, despite the fact his team had control in the offensive zone with just under two minutes to play.
Perhaps the coach himself realized that with the way his team’s handled the man advantage, sending an extra player onto the ice might have squashed any momentum they had going.
3 – Goals given up by Roberto Luongo for the first time since November 23.
3 – Missed shots for the still scoreless Sami Salo, whose offensive woes mirror those of the Vancouver powerplay.
13 – Minutes of ice time for Mike Weaver, who filled in for the injured Mattias Ohlund and played only his second game this month. Weaver took a costly delay of game penalty that led to the third Colorado goal.
13 – Minutes of ice time for Aaron Miller, who shook off a sore foot and dressed for his injury-depleted team.
61 – Percent of the faceoffs the Canucks took, they won (31-for-51).
The Sedins and Naslund were held off the scoresheet, which almost always means disaster for the offense.
Vancouver failed to test Peter Budaj for most of the night and generated only 22 shots, many of which he handled with ease.
The beat-up and tired defense did well to hold its own through the first two periods.
But the fatigue started to show in the third as the Avs pressed.
While the defense couldn’t be blamed for the second goal, a total breakdown on the third left Luongo at Andrew Brunette’s mercy.
The powerplay scored one but failed to capitalize when Vancouver could have jumped in front.
The penalty kill was strong for much of the night, but looked demoralized after Weaver flipped the puck over the glass, leading to the Brunette tally.