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The Goods: Blanked by Predators

Friday, 04.03.2011 / 1:20 AM / Features
By Derek Jory
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The Goods: Blanked by Predators

From a fan perspective, what played out at Rogers Arena Thursday night was less than stellar.

From the Vancouver Canucks perspective, their 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators was one of their best efforts in a while.

Allow captain Henrik Sedin to explain:

”We had everyone playing our game, we didn’t give up much and we had a lot of scoring chances,” said Henrik, adding he thought Vancouver played its “best game in three or four weeks."

“If you look at the result, we lost 3-0, you might go home and think that we played a bad game, but if we can build on this and play this type of game, we’re going to score more goals, we know that, I had a lot of chances today, Mason hit the crossbar, we could have easily won this game.”

For the 11th consecutive game the Canucks flipped flop between a win and a loss as they were shutout for just the fourth time this season, but unlike the effort Vancouver put forth in a 2-1 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, the Canucks said this is something they can build off of.

The first goal of the game wasn’t scored until 1:59 into the third period when Blake Geoffrion beat Roberto Luongo to put Nashville up 1-0 and with under three minutes remaining in the game the Predators took a commanding 2-0 lead. An empty net goal followed to wrap up Vancouver's season-high six-game homestand at 3-3-0.

While the effort was there for Vancouver, the goals were not. Again. The Canucks have scored more than three goals in a game just twice in their last seven outings; in three of those games they combined for just two scores.

The good news: despite the wishy-washy play, the even keeled Canucks remain first overall in the NHL.

“It’s part of the 82-game schedule, you’re going to score goals and you’re going to go through some droughts, but as long as you keep working hard and getting pucks to the net with traffic and get a little bit more greasy, we’ll be alright,” said Alex Burrows.

“You can’t be frustrated this time of year, you just have to stick with it. There’s going to be highs and lows, as long as we keep pushing and working hard, we’re going to have some success.”

The Canucks now depart on a five-game road trip in hopes of rediscovering their scoring touch. Up first is a matinee affair against the Kings in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.

COACH'S COMMENTS

Coach Alain Vigneault on facing a tough Nashville team…

“I’d say it’s this way right now across the NHL. If you look at all the games right now, watching LA and Phoenix and Detroit and San Jose, they’re all tight-checking hockey games across the board. It’s been that way right now for some time and it was that way tonight, tight-checking, not a lot of room, and you’ve got to fight for every inch. We went into the third I thought in pretty good shape at 0-0, we made a mistake, we lost the puck battle, they had a 2-on-1 in front of our net and they made us pay for it. Power play had a chance, some good chances to tie it up, and some of our guys right now are having a tough time finding the back of the net, that’s going to happen.

On Vancouver’s puck management…

“I thought both teams were real smart with the puck and when you are, then there’s not a lot of room and it’s a battle to find open space and chances and it was tonight. I thought the effect from both hockey teams was real solid, they made us pay for two of our mistakes and we weren’t able to make them pay.”

On the Canucks power play struggles…

“Tonight we had that power play in the third and I thought it was one of our best as far as moving it and generating scoring opportunities, we did everything but score. You can only stick with your players in that situation and hope the next time the bounce will come our way.”

NOTES

Daniel Sedin is now three games without a point for the first time this season; the Canucks have not posted back-to-back wins since early February; Vancouver is 0-for-9 on the power play in their four games and 2-for-17 in their last six games.