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The Goods: Shot down in desert

Wednesday, 29.02.2012 / 4:14 AM / Features
By Derek Jory
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The Goods: Shot down in desert
PHOENIX COYOTES
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VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Follow @CanucksGame for live game updates

If momma Vigneault is happy, you should be too.

The Vancouver Canucks lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix; it was the second consecutive game in which the Canucks led in the third period only to have their night end with a single point.

Coach Alain Vigneault said he was pleased with his team’s effort, especially in the third period and overtime when the Canucks outshot the Coyotes 20-11 (5-0 in OT), and he knew to take the loss in stride when his mom put things in perspective.

“My mom sent me an email, she said eight points out of 12 ain’t bad,” laughed Vigneault post-game.

This is a perfect example of you should always listen to your mother.

Sure the Canucks uncharacteristically dropped the ball again in the late stages of a winnable game, but the top ranked team in the NHL still salvaged a point and with this the
final of six games during an 11-day road trip spanning three time zones and almost 11,000 kilometers, that’s commendable.

Vancouver finishes the six-game jaunt with a 3-1-2 record to earn eight points and for a lot of this night, it looked as though a win would be in the cards because of the fantastic play of Cory Schneider.

Schneider had 12 saves in the first and the Canucks took advantage with Alex Edler scoring on the power play with 5:04 to play in the opening period to give the visitors a 1-0
lead.

Schneider had another dozen stops in a second period owned by the Coyotes, and he turned aside five more pucks in the third before Ray Whitney gobbled up a juicy rebound
off a shoot-in from Keith Yandle.

Whitney slid the rebound under Schneider’s pad on Phoenix’s 30th shot midway through the third period.

In the dressing room post-game Schneider was still angry about how he played he initial shot.

“Bad rebound and a bad goal,” said Schneider, matter-of-factly.

“I’d like to think that if I corral that or make the save, then we do win that game. I’m not too happy about myself about that, it doesn’t matter what you do the rest of the game,
it’s moments like that that make the difference.”

Schneider was the difference in the Canucks earning a point at all on this night; shots were 12-2 at one point in the second period, yet the goaltender didn’t break a sweat.

“They came real hard and kind of pinned us in our end there for the second period, but I thought we had some good pushback at the end of the period and at the end of the
third we sat back.

“We had some chances to win that game, but unfortunately we couldn’t pull it out.”

Vancouver remains a top the league standings for road wins with 22 and the worst is behind the Canucks in terms of travel. Only five games remain for the Canucks away from Rogers Arena, compared to at least eight road games for every other team.

Home is where the heart is and over the next 18 games it’ll primarily be where the Canucks come together now that the deadline has passed and it’s clear this is the team that
will battle together this post-season.

“It feels good, I’m not going to lie to you,” said captain Henrik Sedin, on the deadline having passed. “There’s been guys that have really been thinking about this deadline and
not really sure, so it’s nice to see the team we have and we feel good about it and now we can’t really relax going home, but it’s nicer to be home playing in front of your home
fans and getting into a rhythm.”

PRINCE KASSIAN'S DEBUT

Zack Kassian was understandably nervous in his debut with the Vancouver Canucks.

His teammates did their best to make him feel comfortable by letting the 21-year-old lead the team onto the ice for pre-game warmup. It turned out to be a farce as the Canucks, led by Cory Schneider, remained in the tunnel having a good laugh while Kassian did a lonely lap.

Welcome to the team, rookie.

Jokes aside, Kassian looked comfortable in his first game since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at Monday’s trade deadline. The forward, who began the game with Maxim Lapierre and Manny Malhotra on the fourth line, played 12:27 and had one shot and five hits.

His first shift was his most memorable, it came at the end of a penalty kill and he found himself flanking Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

“That first shift with the Sedins is something I’ll never forget, they’re two great players and it was an honour to play with them a bit,” said Kassian, who was with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond on the second line to finish the game.

“I don’t think I settled down that much, I started breathing a little bit after the first period, but for the most part, I was pretty nervous the entire game.

“I was nervous to start, but I think I got better as the game went on. Obviously a lot has happened in the last 24 hours, I’m just going to try to recover here and get ready for Thursday’s game.”

FEBRUARY UPSWING

It was a month for the record books.

The Canucks finish February tied for the most wins in franchise history in the second month of the year with nine, going 9-1-4. Vancouver sets the record for most points in February with 22, surpassing the 20 picked up in 2002-03, but this February featured two more games.

It was a tough month for the road warriors with 10 of 14 games played away from Rogers Arena.

“I think when we looked at the schedule this was going to be a big point in our season, our year could go real bad or go pretty well and fortunately we were able to salvage some points throughout the month,” said Cory Schneider. “But this is a frustrating way to end the trip when we have the lead going into the third period and we don’t close the door.”

Henrik Sedin wasn’t so hard on the Canucks.

“It feels like the schedule this year has been tough on us with a lot of long flights and tough back-to-backs, but we’re a team that relies on our system and if you do that, you can a so-so game and still be in it and that’s what we’ve been able to do with some solid goaltending as well.”

The road will be less traveled down the stretch with 13 of the final 18 games in Vancouver before playoffs.

RULES OF THE PRESS BOX
At the end of a six-game, 11-day road trip spanning more than 10,000 KMs, it's all right to wear two different colour socks.
Tweet of the Night - "@canucksgame they can't afford popcorn in the pressbox? Time to move franchise
to Seattle!" - @PabloP74, supporting a move to Seattle, tongue-in-cheek.
Another trade? - Pavelski to the Canucks? Nope, no chance, but according to the photo on the front
of the Coyotes game program, he plays for the Canucks. #fail.
Oops line-up - It’s been a long trip. Alain Vigneault accidently had Chris Tanev as a scratch and Dale Weise in the
line-up on the official game sheet, which was wrong. Thankfully it was fixed before harm was done.
Peter Cottontail - Not sure why they’re called the Coyotes, I didn’t see one coyote while in Phoenix.
What I saw were like 300 bunnies. Phoenix Bunnies, I like that.