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Luongo perfect in shootout, records win against Avalanche
Wait, what? Roberto Luongo goes 3-0 in the shootout to win it for the Canucks 3-2? Really? Actually, it was because of Luongo’s play that brought the Canucks to the shootout as opposed to a dismal loss in regulation, as he played a fantastic game and topped it off with a three save shootout performance.
Vancouver - February 5, 2012 - Wait, what? Roberto Luongo goes 3-0 in the shootout to win it for the Canucks 3-2? Really? Actually, it was because of Luongo’s play that brought the Canucks to the shootout as opposed to a dismal loss in regulation, as he played a fantastic game and topped it off with a three save shootout performance. The rest of the team on the other hand need to be doing some soul searching and asking themselves the tough questions like WTF is happening?
Three names and one honorable mention are the only ones that stand out for the Canucks in today’s game against the Avalanche. Firstly, Roberto Luongo who stood on his head and then some to show his character when the team in front of him was playing less than stellar hockey, especially his defense. None of the goals against could even be remotely attributed to bad play on his part. Hell, not even Ginger Jesus with help from above could have saved any of those goals!
Again the Canucks let Luongo see a ton of rubber, and again Luongo stopped all but two (44-46) as the Canucks were badly outshot 46-29 again for the third consecutive game. Not good! The only pucks that got by Luongo were in the first period when David Jones took a nice setup pass from Paul Stastny to wrist the puck into the open net. Luongo had no choice to play Stastny, which left Jones wide open on the far side of the crease because Sami Salo was doing his best lawn statue impersonation in front of his goaltender. If Sami would have been playing Jones instead of the pass, the score would have remained 1-0 for the Canucks. The Av’s second goal came in the second period when the Canucks D had another lapse and coughed the puck up behind their icing line, and Jay McClement takes the pass to beat Luongo low glove side. Another Defensive breakdown for the Canucks, results in another goal for the opposition.
The Second Canuck to stand out in the game is Kevin Bieksa because with a minute remaining he sprawled out to make a desperation save of a sure goal on the empty net as Luongo was pulled with 1:30 remaining. Then on the same shift he gets the puck just inside the Av’s blueline and lets a shot go through the crowd in front of Avalanche goalie J.S. Giguere which somehow finds it’s way into the net to tie the game 2-2 with a mere 35 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
The third Canuck to get the mention is Mason Raymond for scoring in Overtime by beating Giguere 5-hole to put the Canucks up 1-0 in the shootout. O’Reilly, the last Av’s shooter couldn’t beat Luongo’s glove hand as Roberto becomes the unusual hero in the shootout for the win. Who would have thought? The honorable mention goes to Ryan Kesler for not only scoring the Canucks first goal early in the first period to give Vancouver the 1-0 lead, but also for battling hard all game. Kesler remains the heart and soul of the Canucks and he showed it again tonight. As for the rest of the team, especially the Sedin twins, its gut check time!
Is there such a thing as the “All-Star Curse?” If not, I think the Sedins are making a case for it because ever since the All-Star game they really haven’t had too much pop in their offensive drive. Lethargic passes (when they do pass) and poor shooting decisions (when they shoot) are hurting the Canucks not only on regular strength play, but the power play as well. In the second straight game, Coach V was forced to separate the Sedins in an attempt to light a fire under their backsides to generate some offensive push, but none came. When the number one line consistently only manages two shots on goal during a power play, that is red flag that something is wrong. Henrik Sedin, usually the setup man extraordinaire didn’t look comfortable handling the puck at all in today’s game, as his passes weren’t anywhere close to his normal accuracy, or authority. The Canucks went 0-5 on the power play today, and the fact the Sedins are struggling can be directly attributed to this woeful stat.
But somehow the Canucks are able to pull out gritty wins. The three games since the All-Star break, the Canucks have been outshot 128-87 by their opponents, but yet have still managed to win 2 of the 3 games, each going to overtime or the shootout. That is saying something about the team’s goaltending, but it is also a glaring reflection that the team is struggling offensively as well!
Bottom line is, thanks to Luongo and Bieksa the Canucks won today, barely. But sooner or later they are going to have to solve their offensive woes and stop barely winning, and start burying their opponents down the stretch, and hopefully that change will happen in Nashville on Tuesday night when they take on the Predators.
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