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Canucks cannot fly with Wings, lose in shootout
Jon Foxall

Canucks cannot fly with Wings, lose in shootout
In regulation time Roberto Luongo can catch lightning with his glove hand. In regulation time that is.

Vancouver - February 3, 2012 - After an emotional, high octane game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the Canucks hoped to carry the momentum into tonight’s game against the always tough and entertaining Detroit Red Wings. The two points that played a part in the outcome tonight was 1:) The Canucks always seem to get up for games against the league’s best, and B:) The Red Wings are as good as they come and have proven tough to beat even when they are not playing their “A” game.

The first period started with the Red Wings serving notice as to what type of game it was going to be as Valtteri Filppula managed a break away in on Luongo 1 minute in but missed the net on his shot. Not exactly a good way for the home team to start the game! Shortly after that play, Big Bert himself shows he still has what it takes to play the game as he undresses Mason Raymond just inside the blue line and gets in on Luongo, but his shot is stopped by the fast glove have of Roberto. 5:27 into the period, Dan Cleary scores on Luongo as he made a nice move on Dan Hamhuis to get around him and beat Luongo over his blocker to put the Wings up 1-0.

The period was only 6 minutes old and the Wings were out shooting the Canucks 6-1 when Alexander Edler tripped up Pavel Datsyuk to give the Wings the first power play of the game. Not exactly the start the Canucks were looking for against the high flying Wings, but Luongo held the fort down as the Canucks were able to kill off Edler’s penalty. Even when the Canucks had a power play opportunity when Henrik Zetterberg took a holding the stick penalty at the 12:00 minute mark, they were unable to get anything going. The power play didn’t really start coming together until the later stages of the man advantage, which just proved that the Canucks really weren’t into the game in the early stages. With 4 minutes left in the period, Ryan Kesler tied the game by capitalizing on the hard work by David Booth behind the net. Booth gained possession of the puck and tried to bring it out in front of the net, but his attempt failed and Luckily Kesler was right there to bang the puck past Howard.

Roberto had a strong period as he made another fantastic glove save on Pavel Datsyuk’s breakaway attempt as the Canucks botched their shift change. If it wasn’t for Luongo’s play in the first period, this game could have been over early as the Canucks were badly outshot 15-8 in the first 20 minutes! Jannik Hansen did add a little bit of hope for the Canucks as Kesler was serving a cross checking penalty, Jannik had a break away into the Wings zone, but with only a few seconds left on the clock had to shoot early which was easily stopped by Howard.

The Wings started the second period on the power play, and by all accounts played the rest of the period as if the Canucks were a man down. In what is becoming a disturbing trend, the Canucks worst periods seem to be the middle frame as they were only able to generate 3 shots on Howard. The first shot the Canucks were able to get on net came at 12:08, and you don’t need to be a psychic to know that it’s hard to win a hockey game with only 3 shots on net! Shortly after the Canucks first shot on goal, Jiri Hudler scored with a shot from the left face off circle to put the Wings up 2-1. The Wings badly outshot the Canucks in the second period by a margin of 15-3, making the total shots so far in the game 30-11 for the visitors. 30-11 is a number you see in a football game, not a hockey shot clock!

The Canucks came out in the third period with a lot more fire in their game and it showed as they controlled the play early on, out shooting the Wings 4-0 in the first 4 minutes. It wasn’t earth shattering hockey, but it was a start considering the previous two periods for the Nucks. Burrows tied the score at the 9:50 mark when he poke checked the puck free during a clear-out attempt, and Maxim Lapierre made a soft tap pass to set up the slap shot for Burrows that beat Howard on the high glove side. With the score tied at 2, and the Canucks holding the Wings to zero shots so far in the period, the luck finally gave out as Drew Miller scored on only the second shot on net for the Wings as he beat Luongo during a scrambled defensive mess in front of Luongo. With the Wings up 3-2, the Canucks continued to pour it on, when fate stepped in again as Mason Raymond let a slapper go from the blueline that was originally going wide of the net, but instead hit Drew Miller who couldn’t get out of the way of the shot and deflected it past Howard to tie the game at 3 each.

Even though the Canucks had a much stronger third period, out shooting the Wings 13-8, they couldn’t get it done in regulation, so the game went into overtime. In the extra frame, it was all Wings again as they outshot the Canucks 5-1. Burrows almost had a breakaway on Howard, but thanks to the Linesman getting in the way, he couldn’t get past him for the break away attempt. It’s bad enough that the guys in stripes weren’t calling the blatant calls against the Wings, but for them to become pylons for the Canucks during breakaway attempts just adds insult to injury!

With nothing being decided in the extra frame, it was on to the shootout, and well, we all know what happened then. Luongo played an excellent game, stopping 40 of 43 shots to keep the Canucks in the game. Hell, if it wasn’t for his play tonight, the game might have been over in the first twenty minutes, but the shootouts are definitely his Kryptonite as he went 0-2, and his counterpart on the other end of the ice went 2-0 for the win. I wonder if Luongo hates shootouts as much as Canucks Nation does?

If we look on the bright side of the coin, the Canucks lost to a good team, but at least earned a point. Two of the Canucks most hated rivals got blown out by far lesser teams tonight. The Bruins lost 3-0 to Carolina, and the Blackhawks got annihilated in Edmonton by an embarrassing score of 8-4! So we can take solace in the fact that we lost to a good team!

Next up for the Canucks is another dreaded early start on Saturday in Colorado.

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