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G 35: Washington @ Canucks In-Depth Summary



Game 35: Washington (21-7-6) @ Canucks (19-14-0)

The hottest ticket of the year as the most exciting player in NHL since #99 retired comes to town for only the second time in his career (try and figure that one out). Ovechkin and his high-powered Capitals (Semin, Backstrom, Laich, Green and even ex-Canuck Brendan Morrison who is having a comeback season) visit GM Place sitting atop the entire NHL in points (well they were when they last played, since then New Jersey and Pittsburgh have both won and are 1 point ahead). The Caps have been in Vancouver since Tuesday night so they will be rested and ready to go.

As for Vancouver, they are coming off a horrible effort against the Ducks looking to get this home-stand back on track (3-1-0 halfway through). I don't like their chances, but these days in the NHL, you just never know (it was supposed to be a "sure-win" for the Canucks against an Anaheim team that was last in the West). The Canucks will make a couple minor changes to the lineup they iced a couple days ago: Aaron Rome will fill in for Schneider and Wellwood will dress for only the second time in five games:

A nice side-story will be Washington's Ovechkin and Semin against Vancouver's Luongo as sort of a mini Olympic bout between the the two favorites comes February, Canada and Russia.


1st Period:

Ovechkin gets on the ice 30 seconds in and he almost setups a goal right away as he passed to Backstrom right in the slot but the Super Swede missed the empty net.

5 minutes into the game the Sedins come out but Bernier is out with them instead of Burrows (he blocked a shot with his hand and is getting checked out on the bench).

13:21 mark, Hansen tries to give a stretch pass to Kesler. Ryan gets a favorable bounce and is able to split the D for a breakaway from the Washington blue-line. He comes in on goal, is hooked by Green, gets a weak shot off, it's saved by Theodore's pad, bounces off the D-man's skate and in. What a lucky bounce that gives the Canucks a 1-0 lead.

9 minutes into the period now and Glass throws a huge hit on Laich launching him into the Canuck bench. The camera and fans all look towards the hit but Semin skates in 1-on-2 and scores glove-side with a weak wrister (I'm guessing Luongo was watching the hit, too). 1-1 tie as the Caps answer quickly.

With 9 minutes left Erskine holds Raymond in the Canucks' offensive zone so Vancouver will have a chance to regain the lead. The Canucks do pretty much nothing on the power-play but the good news is Burrows is back on the ice and playing after it looked like he was hurt.

With 5 to go in the period Rypien is given a roughing penalty as he was a little too aggressive on Fehr so the Caps will have their first chance on the power-play. The Canucks do a great job on the PK, Ovechkin only had one chance for a shot but he kind of fanned on it.

With 2 minutes left, Bieksa turns the puck over to Clark in the neutral zone. Clark comes in with a shot, it is blocked by Bieksa's leg but Clark gets the puck right back (high-slot) and puts it by Luongo. 2-1 Washington, and that's how they will start the second period as the Canucks did not have a very good first 20 minutes. The only reason they are still in the game is because of that lucky bounce for Kesler on the Canucks' goal. Vancouver needs a much better effort if they want to beat this elite team.


2nd Period:

Just 14 seconds in Burrows almost scores but the net was knocked off before the puck went in.

Not much to report this period until about 12:30 left as Johnson takes a tripping penalty. Another great PK for Vancouver, 2/2 so far.

Just about 30 seconds after that kill, Rome gives away the puck right in front of Luongo and Bieksa is forced to hook Steckel to take away his scoring chance. Yet another great PK for Vancouver, Washington produced no offense.

With 6 minutes left Burrows and Henrik get a broken 2-on-1 but Henrik back-hands the one-timer wide as the puck was bouncing.

With 3 minutes to go the Sedin line has a great chance right in front of Theodore but they are stopped. The play goes the other way and Green has a great chance but he is stopped. The Sedins come back the other way and Burrows has a chance in front of Theodore but another great save is made by Jose. Washington comes back the other way, they turn it over and Henrik and Raymond come in on a 2-on-1. Raymond carries, Morrisonn takes the pass but Raymond makes a sweet move around Theodore and slides it in. What a goal to tie it at 2-2 (with an assist Henrik increases his point streak to 9 games).

The period ends shortly after the tying goal is scored. A very slow period but with the last couple minutes being jam-packed with back-and-forth action and a Canuck goal to top it off, Canucks fans will head into the intermission a happy group of people. Still a lot of work to do, though, it's tied 2-2 with at least 20 more minutes to be played. However, it should be a great third period for Vancouver if they are able to feed off the energy created late in the second.


3rd Period:

About a minute in Raymond gets a good chance as he races to the loose puck on the face-off circle and wires one but Theodore was just able to squeeze it and hold on.

12 minutes left in the period and Henrik hooks Semin which will earn him 2 minutes in the sin-bin. The Canucks have been excellent on the PK thus far but we'll see what they do. Another amazing kill, that's four straight against the leagues #1 power-play. A great effort, especially by Johnson and Kesler.

With 8 minutes left Ovechkin gets his first shot of the game (yeah, of the game) and it was a really good one, but Luongo made a great shoulder save.

With 7:36 remaining Poti cross-checks Burrows into the boards and takes a penalty. It will be a double-minor as he gets another two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct (he waved his hand at the ref and maybe said something). Vancouver gets a chance to take the lead on the man-advantage after some great PKs. A minute goes by without much action but then Washington dumps it out and goes for a change. Luongo gets the puck and catches them as he just shoots it up to Raymond. Mason gives it to Ehrhoff on the point and he takes a shot. Kesler is stopped on the rebound, but Raymond, who crashed the net after the pass to Ehrhoff puts it in to give the Canucks the 3-2 lead (after tying it in the second). The Canucks scored on the first part of the power-play so they will still have the second set of minutes, however they were only able to produce one great chance: Washington failed to clear and the Sedins almost worked a tic-tac-toe but Erskine tipped it out (if it got through Henrik had a tap-in). Just as the penalty is about to end Semin beats Salo on the in the neutral zone, comes in on goal and is hauled down by Bieksa. Semin is given a penalty shot but it should have been a penalty (total make-up call for the bad double-minor given to Poti). Semin skates in and tries to out-wait Luongo but Lu stayed out and stopped Semin's shot with his pad.

The Caps pull their goalie with about 1:20 left in the game which resulted in frantic action in the Canucks' zone but they weren't able to put the puck in the net. The Canucks barely hang on in a game they probably weren't supposed to win, but hey, we'll take the two big points.


Final Score: Washington 2 - 3 Canucks

The Bad:

- The Canucks did not play a 60 minute game. They did win, but I don't know how many they will be able to win in the future after playing about 30-35 minutes.

- Bieksa was horrible yet again. He is really struggling.

The Good:

- Special teams battle definitely won which won the game for the Canucks. Their PK was absolutely perfect and that power-play goal by Raymond iced it.

- Ovechkin was a non-factor all game. The Canucks did a great job on him every time he was out there, he only had a couple shots.

- Raymond was great, of course, with the two goals. He's flying with confidence right now.

- The two goals on Luongo were kind of weak, but he really settled down after the first period. He was solid for the latter 40 minutes (not to mention that penalty shot by Semin).


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