Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Vancouver Canucks have won all four meetings against the Colorado Avalanche. For the fifth out of a six games series, the Avs looked to slow down the Canucks and get their first win of the season against them.
The game didn’t go as planned for the Avs, as they gave up a power-play goal three minutes into the first. Alexander Edler scored his sixth goal of the season, as he sent a rocket past goalie Craig Anderson from atop the face-off circle.
But the Avs didn’t panic and did their best to rebound and tie the game.
With a little under five minutes left to go in the period, the Avs received their first power-play of the game and didn’t waste it. John-Michael Liles also scored his sixth goal of the season, and tied the game at one.
Both teams went into the intermission with a power-play goal apiece, and the game had a feeling that it was going to be a contest between two special teams.
With the tie, both teams came out and did their best to take the lead, but both Anderson and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo were stopping everything that was headed their way.
Midway through the second, the Canucks were given another power-play chance and again didn’t waste it. Ryan Kesler (25) tipped the puck past Anderson, off a shot from Christian Ehrhoff. Just two minutes later, Milan Hejduk was flying through the neutral-zone and sent a shot past Luongo, but the shot bounced off the boards and came right in front of the net. David Jones (15) was not picked up by either Canucks defenders and sent the puck past Luongo with ease.
The period continued on with both teams generating chances, but again both goalies were stopping almost everything that was heading their way. Then, with two minutes left in the period, Ryan Wilson coughed up the puck right in front of the net, and let Sergei Shirokov scored his first NHL goal. Shirokov deked Anderson and put the puck between the goaltenders five-hole.
Again, the Avs didn’t lose their cool and were given a golden opportunity to tie the game up before heading into intermission. With a minute left to go in the period, the Avs had their fourth chance on the power-play and found another way to tie the game. Hejduk scored his 15th goal of the season, as he was fed a beautiful pass from Paul Stastny and sent the puck between the legs of Luongo.
Once more, both teams went into the intermission tied; only the score was three apiece. With the game being a see-saw match, it was a wonder as to what kind of period the third was going to be.
“I think the biggest thing for us was to sticking to our game plan,” said Liles. “Trying to get pucks to the net with a minute left and a face-off in their zone. Nothing in particular, just trying to get pucks to the net and not trying to overcommitt and let them get a break.”
The third period was a goaltenders period, as neither goalies allowed another goal in regulation. Luongo and Anderson together had to make a few splendid saves, but were not tested as bad as the first two periods. Both teams each had a chance on the power-play, but were unsuccessful and the game went into overtime.
Right off the face-off, the Sedin twins had an excellent scoring chance, but were shut-down by Anderson.
After the scoring chance, both teams had a few opportunities, but were unable to put one past the opposing goaltender.
Then, a minute into the overtime period, Henrik Sedin got caught interfering and gave the Avs a chance to steal a win.
On the power-play, the Avs had a couple of chances, but couldn’t slide the puck past Luongo. That was until there was ten second left in the power-play, when Tomas Fleischmann drove hard to the net, sent a shot that hit Luongo on the pads, but sat there for Jones to send the puck past him, and secure a win for the Avs.
“We have to believe that we can beat them even though they’re a really good team,” said Jones. “It’s good to get the confidence up and get a win tonight.
“Flash just did a great job of taking the puck to the net there and managed to back my defenseman off there. He just put a rebound shot off Luongo’s pad and it kind of sat right there for me. It’s real nice being from Vancouver; it’s real nice to get a win against those guys.”
Despite giving up two power-plays goals, the Avs managed to score two power-play goals of their own. In addition to the power-play goals, the Avs never got down even though they never led once in the game. Whenever the Canucks seemed to take the lead, the Avs bounced back each time and fought hard for the two points.
“For us it’s huge,” said Anderson, “Two points keeps us climbing in the standings. Chasing down teams ahead of us, for us that’s a long season and we have to take it one game at a time; two points at a time.”
The Avs now have 24 wins on the season, and have accumulated 54 points.
The Avs again have a five-game home stand, and will try to win three in a row on Thursday, against the Nashville Predators.