Game 67: Rock Bottom
What happened on Monday night at Rogers Arena was easily the low point of what has been a very disappointing campaign to date for the Canucks.
The Islanders – the worst team in the Metropolitan division – got seven goals from seven different skaters in the third period to erase a 3-0 deficit and go on to 7-4 victory.
Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, Calvin de Haan, Frans Nielsen, Matt Martin, Anders Lee and Cal Clutterbuck had the goals for the visitors, who snapped a three-game winless skid against the Canucks dating back to January 11, 2011.
Chris Higgins, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Chris Tanev scored for the Canucks, who fell for the 12th time in their last 14 outings.
The Canucks came into Monday's contest with an opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time since mid-January and, for 40 minutes, looked like they were well on their way to doing just that.
Vancouver out-shot the Islanders 19-13 through two periods, built a 3-0 lead and seemed poised to hang a few more goals on the reeling Isles once puck dropped for the final stanza.
But then the wheels fell off in spectacular fashion.
The Isles struck three times on the power play in the first 3:36 of the third period to stun the crowd at Rogers Arena. They'd take their first lead of the night at 6:22 of the period when Nielsen buried the rebound off a Lee shot to put New York up 4-3.
Vancouver would draw even just shy of the midway mark of the period courtesy of a seeing-eye shot from the right point by Chris Tanev that managed to elude traffic and find its way past Isles netminder Evgeni Nabokov. The Isles, however, would retake the lead just 10 seconds later after the Tanev marker courtesy of a goal by Matt Martin.
Lee would give the Isles an insurance marker at 11:45 of the period and Clutterbuck would hit the empty net with 18 seconds left in regulation to round out the scoring.
Eddie Lack, who was working on a shutout after two periods, was hung out to dry as he'd stay in net for the duration of the contest with the exception of the final minute-and-a-half when Vancouver opted for an extra attacker. He'd finish the night with 21 saves on 27 shots.
Nabokov stopped 20 of 24 shots for the victory.
The Canucks will try to pick up the pieces starting on Wednesday when they head out onto the road for a four-game trip beginning in Winnipeg.
HISTORY FOR THE WRONG REASONS: The seven goals scored in the third period by New York equaled a couple of records. For the Isles, it equaled their record for most goals in a single period. They had not accomplished that feat since December 23, 1978 against the New York Rangers. For the Canucks, it equaled their franchise record for most goals allowed in a single period. They had previously allowed seven goals on two occasions both to the Edmonton Oilers – October 19, 1983 and November 8, 1985.
MILESTONE TRACKER: Nicklas Jensen notched his first career NHL point with his assist on Henrik Sedin's goal... Alex Burrows recorded his 300th career NHL point with his assist on Ryan Kesler's goal... Henrik Sedin appeared in his 999th career NHL game. He'll suit up in his 1,000th career game on Wednesday in Winnipeg... Eddie Lack started in his career-high seventh consecutive game. He probably wished he had the night off instead.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Evgeni Nabokov had plenty to celebrate after his team's epic come-from-behind victory tonight but perhaps not as much as he had to celebrate exactly 12 years ago in this very same building. It was March 10, 2002 when Nabokov scored his first and only career NHL goal in a 7-4 victory for his San Jose Sharks.