Henrik Sedin scored his second goal of the game 1:22 in overtime to lift Vancouver to a 2-1 win over Colorado, the Canucks' third straight win and their sixth against Northwest opponents.
Sedin, whose first goal came on a controversial high stick early in the second period, was attempting to hit twin brother Daniel Sedin with a backdoor pass, but the puck deflected off the stick of Colorado defenseman Kurt Sauer and past a helpless Jose Theodore.
Not exactly the “play of the week” material, but good for two points all the same.
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“The last few games we’ve been playing the way we knew we could, despite key guys out,” said Markus Naslund. “I think we’re finding ways to win and we’re doing it in a good fashion - playing hard and working hard, and grinding things down.”
It didn’t hurt that they had Roberto Luongo in playoff form either. After delivering a win in the face of a 24-shot third period only 24 hours ago in Calgary, the all-star keeper was at it again.
Luongo made 24 saves to help the Canucks claw back to .500 (8-8-0), and get a crucial home-ice victory.
“We know that for us to have success we have to be in constant battle mode… and we need solid goaltending - which we got tonight,” said Alain Vigneault. “Our guys seem to flourish with that. They’re confidend and they’re making good smart plays right now at both ends of the rink.”
“[Tonight] was huge,” said Luongo. “I think we built up on the last two games on the road and I think it was a good thing we played last night so we didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. We just got here today, went out, and played.”
After having an apparent goal waved off with 1:25 left in the first period, the Canucks got one to count that might not have just 4:41 into the second when Henrik Sedin knocked a rebound out of the air with Theodore still prone along the ice.
Sedin's stick appeared to be just above the cross bar when it made contact with the puck, but it was signaled a goal on the ice and a lengthy video review failed to produce an angle conclusive enough to overturn the call.
“It was just above the cross-bar,” said Henrik, “but I think when I touched the puck I think it might’ve been level to the cross-bar.”
It came not long after Daniel Sedin jammed in a loose puck just as Theodore was covering it with his glove. The referee indicated he'd already blown the whistle.
John-Michael Liles tied it 1:01 into the third period with a point shot that deflected in off the skate of defenseman Willie Mitchell as he battled Ryan Smyth in front.
Theodore, taking his turn in Colorado's goalie rotation with Peter Budaj, made 26 saves for the Avalanche, whose only two losses in the last eight games have come against Vancouver.
2 goals from 3 shots on net, +2 rating for the night.
Saved 24 shots and made some tough saves to carry the Canucks to a win.
Saved 26 shots and helped force the Canucks into overtime.
The first, a 4-3 Canucks win in Colorado last Saturday, was Vancouver's first game since losing top-four defensemen Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa to serious injuries in a bad loss to Nashville.
“I think when the injuries occurred, it would’ve been easy for us to lay down and pack it in,” said Luongo, “but the guys stepped up - especially the guys that have a bigger role now. They’re doing really well and we plan on playing harder and working the system.”
Luongo, who made 36 saves in win in Calgary a night earlier, made his best stop early, flashing the glove to rob Andrew Brunette from the side of the net that got a raucous Canucks crowd into the game.
“Obviously they’re a very good offensive team and we beat them down in Denver, so we knew they’d come out with a little bit better game,” said Willie Mitchell, who logged almost 25 minutes of ice. “I think they wanted the game pretty bad and we did a good job. Our forwards came back really hard and made it easier for our defense to kind of play the rushes… I think that’s what we did very well tonight.”
Joe Sakic, who’s made a career of scoring timely goals at General Motors Place, was held to just one power-play assist on Liles’ goal.
Theodore was solid for the Avs, turning away Brad Isbister from inside the faceoff circle early and robbing Daniel Sedin on both a wrist shot and a tip from the slot in the third with the game on the line. He also got a couple of breaks as Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin both missed empty nets early, and when the first goal was waved off.
Notes: Vancouver is 6-0-0 against the Northwest Division this season, and plays the next five games within the division they won last season. Colorado is 6-2-1 within the Northwest. Colorado C Jaroslav Hlinka, a 30-year-old rookie from the Czech Republic, was back after being scratched the last two games. The Canucks, who had four days off before playing back-to-back Thursday and Friday, now have four more days off before starting a stretch of nine games in 16 days.