The Goods: Still streaking
It was the game that wouldn’t end, it just went on and on my friends…
The Vancouver Canucks are in overtime overload after another extra effort was needed to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 in a shootout Monday night at Rogers Arena. Ryan Kesler scored the game-winner in the sixth round, while David Booth netted his 10th goal of the season midway through the second period to round out the Canucks scoring.
With only 3:06 to play it looked as though Booth’s goal, a beautiful individual effort that had him pounce on a puck as he entered the Coyotes zone and swing around defenseman Keith Yandle before out waiting Jason LaBarbera and scoring, would stand as the game-winner.
A comedy of errors later and Phoenix tied the game; the puck bounced off nine things before sneaking through the pads of Roberto Luongo to tie the game. That’s maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a fluky goal, one that
brought up overtime for the seventh time in eight games for Vancouver.
A shootout was eventually needed and both teams went toe-to-toe forcing six rounds. Hodgson, Edler and Booth scored for the Canucks, Whitney, Brule and Boedker replied
for the Coyotes.
Then Kesler stepped up with a goal and Luongo made the save needed to seal the win and grant the Canucks two points and points in 10 straight games at 7-0-3.
Three weeks ago Vancouver and shootout went together like peanut butter and sand. Now they are practically inseparable, we’ll call them Adele and Grammy Awards, with the Canucks able to squeeze out another win going the distance.
“Why win 1-0 when you can win in a shootout?!?” joked Luongo post-game.
“They had some good shooters, scored a couple of goals and it was nice for us to get a few goals in the shootout as well. We had a couple of chances to win it and I didn’t stop
it, but third time’s a charm.”
Luongo finished with 23 shots in his 23rd win of the season, he was in line for his third shutout of the year as well before allowing the late goal. The Canucks goaltender was
visibly frustrated on the ice after being scored on and he took full blame for it post-game.
If that puck doesn’t go in, Kevin Bieksa said this was an effort to be proud of.
“If they don’t score that goal at the end and we win the game 1-0 or 2-0 with an empty netter, everybody says that was a complete game,” he said, adding that this outing resembled what’s to come for Vancouver at playoff time.
“it was more suited for a playoff game, not a lot of shots on net, tight, we were smart with the puck for the most part and we were smart with the puck for the most part so we’re happy with that.”
If there’s an upside to playing so much overtime it’s that the Canucks are getting more and more comfortable in do or die situations. Speaking of the post-season, it’s filled with those make or break moments.
“It’s a pressure situation and it’s good to be in those sometimes,” said Henrik Sedin. “We keep winning and we have to take that as a positive. We’re in every game, we’re usually up and we’re getting those one-goal wins that we’re going to need in the playoffs as well.”
David Booth went this way, that way and then this way again leaving Jason LaBarbera little to no chance.
Turns out Booth got some inside intel from Roberto Luongo about LaBarbera, a former Canucks backup, before taking his shot in shootout.
“Lu gave me some advice and it worked out there,” smiled Booth, revealing he had his move to go top-shelf planned from get-go. “It depends if he bites on the backhand or not, you kind of have to make up your mind as you’re going. I thought if I could get the puck up on the forehand I had a good chance.”
Hodgson, Edler and Kesler were the other shootout scorers for the Canucks, Burrows and Raymond were the only shooters stopped by LaBarbera.
Sometimes you score, sometimes you don’t, making coach Alain Vigneault’s job of picking his first three shooters more difficult despite all the practice of late.
“Every time I think I’ve got a top three figured out, something happens,” laughed Vigneault. “Right now the fact that we’re playing a lot of these tight checking games and going into overtime I think for this group is good, at the end of the day if you want to get to the playoffs, that’s what playoff hockey is all about.”
SECONDS FOR HIGGINSDessert with every meal, Chris Higgins is in heaven.
The Vancouver Canucks forward was back on the ice Monday during the team’s morning skate; it was the first time Higgins, who skated on his own over the weekend, has been with his teammates since beating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on January 31st.
That night Higgins logged 17:41 of ice time, but he hasn’t played a second since because of a negative reaction he had to medication given to cure the staph infection.
With the Canucks picked up seven of a possible eight points during a four-game road trip dating back to February 4th, Higgins was all but quarantined in his apartment unable to eat most days. He dropped roughly 10 pounds and he’s been eating everything in sight since regaining his appetite to regain as much weight as possible.
Higgins didn't suit up for the Canucks against the Coyotes Monday night, but he said he’ll reevaluate where he’s at following Vancouver’s practice Tuesday. He plans to push the envelope and test himself in hopes to getting a passing grade.
eyes right? #watchingcoyoteshockey" - @blakeprice1040, during the 2nd period.
streak in NHL history. If Hank plays out the rest of the season, he’ll sit at 580 games, tied for seventh all-time.
Finnette made her first appearance of the season. What a rocket!
Maxin Lapierre on February 9, 2012. See, Lapierre is a saint after all.