PIC OF THE GAME
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -There was a silver lining in the Canucks 6-5 shootout loss, and it had nothing to do with big night on the score sheet.
Despite squandering a pair of two-goal leads, and failing to capitalize on a late power play, the Canucks managed to tame a wild score-fest just long enough to secure a single point and a playoff berth.
“It was one of those nights, and you can’t really get too frustrated,” said Alex Burrows, who notched his 27th goal of the year Thursday night against the Ducks. “We got one point, clinched playoffs, and so now we’re tied with Calgary. We have five games to go so now we just have to bear down and take care of business.”
In spite of the playoff security and the divisional implications of netting a crucial point, the shootout loss still stings – especially the way it played out.
The Canucks clawed back from an early 2-0 deficit and held 4-2 and 5-3 leads only to see the Ducks counter on the strength of a high-pressure fore check.
“You got to find a way to have that killer instinct, especially in the second when we were up by two,” said Burrows. “We’ve got to make sure we limit those turnovers and just close the game and bring it home.”
Henrik and Daniel Sedin each had a goal and two assist for the Canucks, who dropped their first home-ice game in their last 12. Kyle Wellwood and Ryan Kesler had the other goals for Vancouver.
Corey Perry had a goal and assist in regulation and the only goal in a shootout as Jonas Hiller stopped all three Canucks shooters for the win..
"I think it's a tribute to the guys recognizing around the room and on the ice and on the bench that we're not out of it just because we're down two," said rookie Bobby Ryan, who set up Anaheim's first goal and scored the next two.
Overlooked while sitting in 13th place on March 18, the Ducks have won eight of nine since then, moving into seventh in the Western Conference playoff race, one point ahead of St. Louis and two up on ninth-place Nashville.
"We feel like we belong in the upper echelon in this conference and it's been a long year with a lot of inconsistency and if we can manage to peak at the right time then hopefully we can create some damage," Ryan said.
Teemu Selanne also had two goals, and Jonas Hiller made 25 saves in regulation, then stopped Pavol Demitra, Kyle Wellwood and Alex Burrows in the shootout.
"We live another day," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's the most important game of the season at this point. They all are at this time. When you're in a desperate situation as we are, there's no other way to explain it. Every point is precious and more precious as the games dwindle down."
Scored his 31st of the year and added a pair of assists.Another stellar performance.
Two goals for the second overall pick in 2005. He was a force in teh offensive zone.
Like his brother, Hank notched a goal and two assists. Has his confidence ever been higher?
The single point for getting the game to overtime was certainly valuable to the Canucks. It clinched a playoff spot, moved them into a tie with Calgary atop the Northwest Division and one point ahead of fifth-place Chicago in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"We're in and now we're going to focus on seeing whether we can get home-ice advantage," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "At the end of the day, that team right now with us is the second hottest team in the NHL and it went to a shootout. We battled hard and a point automatically clinches a playoff spot."
After a slow first 10 minutes, the teams seemed to score at will for the next 30, combining for 10 goals through the second period before failing to settle things through overtime. Anaheim blew an early two-goal lead before twice recovering from two goals down, setting the stage for Perry s heroics.
"Up, down, up, down, it's one of those nights where we just keep plugging away and we knew we were going to get our chances if we just kept going to the net and kept battling and we got rewarded for how hard we worked," Perry said.
The teams traded two goals each the final half of the first period.
Selanne, on a power-play deflection, and Ryan, on a long shot through Perry's screen, scored 3:16 apart midway through to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
Henrik Sedin pulled the Canucks within a goal with a shot through twin brother Daniel s screen two minutes later. After Ducks forward Drew Miller rang a shot off the post on a 2-on-1, Kyle Wellwood tied it with 1:15 left after a great play and pass by Steve Bernier, who was robbed earlier on a breakaway.
Vancouver failed to convert a length 5-on-3 early in the second, but went ahead when Burrows banked a shot from below the goal line in off Hiller 3 minutes into the period for his 27th goal of the season.
Daniel Sedin added his 31st on a power play just over 2 minutes later.
Ryan, with a nice individual effort off the rush, and Kesler, on the tail end of a tic-tac-toe passing play, traded goals midway through the period.
Perry closed the gap just a minute after Kesler's goal, banging a rebound over Luongo after a sloppy Canucks line change created a 3-on-1 down low for the Ducks, and Selanne snapped a quick shot between the goaltender's legs off the rush to tie it with 3:32 left in the second period.
Hiller, making a third straight start ahead of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, made point-blank stops on Burrows' power-play shot in the final minute of regulation, and on Daniel Sedin's deflection with 50 seconds left in overtime.
"I don't mind five goals if we win," Hiller said. "We can definitely play better, more structure, but we'll take these two points and be happy about it."
Luongo stopped 27 shots through overtime.
“It was a bit wide open. For some reason every time we play these guys they are games that are really high scoring. Can’t really put my finger on it, but at the same time I definitely wasn’t too sharp tonight myself.” - Roberto Luongo
“[The Sedins] playing really well. They’ve assumed leadership and control of the offensive part of our game, whether it be on the power play or 5-on-5. They’re playing really well in crunch time situations and that’s good news for us right now." - Alain Vigneault
Ryan added an assist, giving him four goals and eight points during a four-game point streak, and increasing his lead among all NHL rookies in goals (28) and points (54). Henrik and Daniel Sedin both extended point streaks to six games, with 25 points combined over that time. Play was delayed after Daniel's second-period goal to clean up the mess left by a salmon thrown on the ice. ... The Canucks play in Edmonton Saturday - their eighth straight in a different city - before returning home to face Colorado on Sunday.