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Canucks dominate and embarass the Maple Leafs with 6-2 drubbing
It was Deja vu for the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs tonight because in a lot of ways both teams played like they did last year. The Canucks with their over powering offensive puck control and domination, and the Leafs…well they were just bad tonight, like “last year” bad!
Vancouver - February 19, 2012 - It was Deja vu` for the Canucks and Leafs tonight because in a lot of ways both teams played like they did last year. The Canucks with their over powering offensive puck control and domination, and the Leafs…well they were just bad tonight, like “last year” bad! Coming into tonight’s game, the Canucks were in need of a blow-out type effort as they have become somewhat of a team that can’t finish off their opponent decisively in regulation time.
The string of overtime games and shootouts recently had some concerned about the Canucks killer instinct, or rather the lack of it!
Well tonight the Canucks welcomed the Maple Leafs, a team that they have absolutely owned the last 9 times these teams met, and after tonight’s final buzzer sounded, the streak was put at 10 games, as the Canucks absolutely dominated the Leafs for a full 60 minutes on their way to a 6-2 laugher. In a nutshell, the Leafs best were no match for the Canucks D tonight, and it showed on every aspect of the game. The Stat sheet, AND the scoreboard all point to a dominating performance by the Canucks, where the home team outplayed, outhit, outshot and out-skilled the visitors to give the fans what they wanted most of their team. And that was a Canuck performance that rivaled last year’s dominating wins during the playoff stretch.
Right from the opening face off, it was all Canucks as they not only dominated the Leafs in the neutral zone, but also in the Leafs zone all game long. The Leafs could hardly get into the Canucks zone to offer any kind of pressure because the defense absolutely stifled any thought of a Leafs attack to begin with. It took 5 minutes before the Leafs could even register a shot on Luongo, let alone be a threat. All told, the Leafs could only muster 4 shots on goal total in the first period, whereas the Canucks piled up 11 on Reimer and put 2 in the net. Every time the Leafs would make an error, a Canuck would be there to make them pay, as was in the first goal at 7:49. The Leafs coughed up the puck in the Canucks zone to Henrik Sedin who hit brother Daniel with a breakout pass up the ice, who with Alexandre Burrows were in 2 on 1 into the Leafs zone. Daniel fed Burrows with a beautiful saucer pass to beat Reimer low glove side with a wrist shot. 1-0 Canucks. Less than 2 minutes later, Maxim Lapierre found Manny Malhotra streaking in on net, and while being hauled down, was able to tip in Maxim’s dump in pass to beat Reimer and put the Canucks up 2-0. This game was over midway through the first period as the Leafs had no answer for the Canucks D, and they looked more like spectators watching the Canucks cycle the puck with precision in front of Reimer.
With Daniel Sedin assisting on Burrows’ goal to open the scoring in the first period, the next 20 minutes saw the resurgence of Henrik Sedin into the offensive juggernaut of the Canucks, as he assisted on all three of the Canucks goals in the middle frame. At 3:18 the announcer’s familiar call of “Sedin to Sedin to Burrows, Goal!” echoed through Rogers Arena like it hadn’t been heard yet all season. During a scrum along the half boards in the Leafs zone, the puck ended up on Daniels Sedin’s stick who then found a wide open Burrows in front of Reimer. After receiving Daniel’s pass, Burrows had enough time to read a chapter of War and Peace before snapping the puck past Reimer to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead.
Dion Phaneuf cut into the Canucks lead at 6:02 of the period when he took a pass from Phil Kessel who had come out from behind the net to find Roberto Luongo tangled up with Kevin Bieksa in the crease, thanks to the Leafs John-Michael Liles putting him there! After receiving the cross ice pass from Kessel, Phaneuf had nothing but net to shoot at for the easy goal. With the Leafs finally getting on the scoreboard, they showed a little more heart as the momentum started to swing their way, as they iced three solid shifts after Phaneuf’s goal. The Leafs had a few good opportunities to crawl back into the game, but a fantastic defensive save by Sami Salo with Luongo out of position surely saved a goal, then a spectacular goal line glove save by Luongo on a Phil Kessel shot with Cody Hodgson sitting in the penalty box pretty much took any momentum away the Leafs may have gained after getting the goal. At 11:14, another turnover in the Leafs zone to Henrik Sedin cost them again as he passed the puck to a Daniel Sedin, who was wide open in front of Reimer and beat him cleanly with a wrist shot to restore the Canucks 3 goal lead. That was also the game for Reimer as he got to watch his counterpart, Jonas Gustavsson get some abuse for the remainder of the game. And it didn’t take long for Jonas to start feeling the pain because at 12:48 the Canucks reminded the Leafs who had the best power play in the league! With Clarke MacArthur sitting in the box for holding, the Canucks waisted no time on their first power play opportunity of the game to show off their puck cycling skills. After what seemed like an eternity watching the Canucks pass the puck around like it was on a string, Leafs Matthew Lombardi intercepted a pass but absolutely whiffed on his clearing attempt to keep the cycle alive in the Leafs zone. And again it was Sedin to Sedin and this time to Sami Salo, who let his canon of a shot go just inside the blue line to beat Gustavsson, and put the Canucks up 5-1.
As in the first period, the Leafs came on late in the dying minutes but couldn’t get anything but perimeter shots on Luongo as the Canucks weren’t giving anything to the Leafs shooter at all. The period ended with the Canucks leading 5-1 on the scoreboard, and 23-14 on the shot clock. To start the third period, the Leafs must have been pretty demoralized with their game so far as the Canucks were owning them through two periods. And at 8:25 the Canucks Kevin Bieksa put the final seal of approval on the game by taking a pass from Jannik Hansen to beat Gustavsson with a wrist shot to put the Canucks up 6-1. The Leafs had again a few good chances to at least gain some self respect back, but Luongo wasn’t in the giving mood as he steals a sure goal away from Tyler Bozak with a pad save up close. And even with another power play opportunity midway through the period, the Leafs couldn’t muster enough testicular fortitude to make a dangerous offensive push into the Canucks zone. They were done, and they knew it.
With 3 minutes left in the game, Phil Kessel took a tripping penalty to give the Canucks their second power play of the game, but luckily for the Leafs the Canucks had grown weary of wiping the ice with the Leafs colors and instead decided to play keep-away with the puck, and they played it quite well I might add! With the game nearing it’s end, Nikolai Kulemin scored with 20 seconds left in the game as everyone with a blue Maple Leaf on their sweater headed for Luongo’s blue paint, and in the frenzied scramble the puck ended up in the net over the searching Luongo. If the Leaf’s scoring with 20 seconds left in the game makes them feel better after getting blown out of the game early, then good for them.
Bottom line is the final score was 6-2 for the home team as they played an all out dominating hockey game against a Leafs team who are playing for their playoff lives. With such an impressive performance tonight, the Canucks head to Oil Country to face the Oilers tomorrow night, so it will be interesting to see what the Canucks have left in the tank for their divisional rivals.
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