Friday, November 9, 2007

Avalanche Dominated by Canucks; Come Away with 2-1 OT Loss

(AP Photo/Sam Leung)
It was Jose Theodore vs. Roberto Luongo as the Canucks looked to stay perfect against Northwest division opponents. Or Robert Luogno according to the game description in my program guide.

First Period
Although there were no goals scored, this was a pretty exciting period. Some good end-to-end action, some good scoring chances, lots of pressure - mostly against the Avs - and some goods saves - mostly from Theodore.

Colorado got the first powerplay chance as Daniel Sedin went off for holding. There wasn't much manufactured on this powerplay as the Canucks were very aggressive and never gave the Avs time to set up.

Vancouver then got a powerplay chance of their own as Hejduk went off for interference. The Canucks has a better looking powerplay than the Avalanche did but weren't able to put the puck behind Theodore who was out challenging the shooters at every chance.

At that point, the Vancouver announcers decided to start arguing about Colorado's goaltending situtation. Hughson arguing that Theodore was about to take over the #1 position while John Garret argued that the Avalanche "liked" Peter Budaj too much to let that happen. Uh huh.

Kurt Sauer took a late penalty with just 1:31 left to go and the Canucks almost cashed in. The puck got fired wide, Daniel Sedin then did a nice spin move to bat the puck out of mid-air and in front of the net. Theodore saw it, stuck his glove on it, then Henrik Sedin came in and poked under Theodore's glove to put the puck in the net.

The ref immediately waved it off declaring that he'd blown the play dead. The announcers declared it, correctly, an unreviewable call. So we were all a bit surprised when there appeared to be a brief review. But the call on the ice stood and the Avalanche were lucky walk away with a 0-0 tie in a period they were badly outchanced in.

Second Period
The outchancing (is that a word?) carried over from the first to the second period. It just seemed like the Canucks would set up shop in the Avalanche end and there was nothing Colorado could do about it. And this wasn't just the Sedin line. Kesler and Linden's line were also moving the puck around at will.

It was at this point that I started disliking John Garret, the Canucks color commentator. I like Jim Hughson, I think he's got a great voice and calls the game well...but I think even he got a bit annoyed with this guy. He started by declaring the hit Cooke laid on Langkow last night as "questionable" and the worst part of the hit, according to him, was it was poor timing by Cooke seeing as they were up by 3 goals. No, the concussion wasn't the worst part. It was the poor timing. I mean, come on.

The Canucks were then able to cash one in though not without some controversy. Theodore made the initial save, the puck flew straight up in the air and Henrik batted it in. The ref called it a goal but Sakic and everyone else on the Avs was all over the ref saying it was a high stick. So of course, the call goes out to Toronto for the guys in the "war room" to check it out.

Immediately, without having yet seen a replay in any form, John Garret says "Oh, this one will count". So he's got the quickest eyes in the west apparently to be able to see the puck was conclusively hit below the crossbar. Then, after seeing a replay showing how close it was, there was a pause before Hughson finally said "I don't know..." and then Garret abdicated his position a bit. He still waffled around and then, on the one angle where I thought it looked like the stick hit the puck over the crossbar, he declared it "the best angle in favor of the Canucks". Whatever.

In the end, it was a goal and rightly so. The call on the ice was a goal and there is no way any video evidence could be conclusive on such a close play. Garrett then proceeds to say Quenneville was upset about the call because he must have felt there was a "home field advantage". That one nearly put me over the top. The guys in Toronto reviewing the goal could give a flying pigs fart about which team was the home team and Quenneville could have cared less if this game was played in Kuwait or Calcutta. He was upset because he believed it was a high stick and shouldn't count. Simple as that.

Ok, off my soapbox. The Canucks continued dominating this period with Theodore making some nice saves to keep the score close. He's still kicking out rebounds to some odd places but is looking confident while doing so. That's gotta count for something.

Towards the end of the period Colorado decided to show up a bit. They had some sustained pressure of their own which led to a couple chances but Luongo was there for all of them. On one, Ryan Smyth redirected a Jeff Finger shot just wide. The color guy said the reason Smyth didn't get a good redirect was that it was "23 inches off the ice". Yep. 23. He measured. I guess.

The Canucks then had a rush of their own late but it was just offside. On the replay, it was actually tough to see but the color guy said "See, his right skate was in before the puck." Ok. What about the left one? Maybe he should review the rule book on how you actually go offside. Two skates, not one, need to cross that blue line before the puck does.

Oh, and Daniel took another penalty towards the end of the period and the Avalanche did nothing with it.

Third Period
But they did something with the rest of the Sedin penalty to start the third. After being derided for not having a shot from the point - which is true - the Avalanche scored with a weak shot from the point by Liles. It appeared to get redirected by Willie Mitchell's foot and in. I can't see any other way this one would have got past Luongo.

This didn't stop the Canucks or give the Avs that much of a boost. They got a few more chances but it was still all Canucks for most of this period. And again, Theodore made some nice saves to make up for mistakes by the defenders. Most notable were a snazzy glove save after Finger whiffed on a clearing attempt and a good shoulder save on a redirected shot from the point.

The third line combo of Laperriere and Arnason played well for most of the game. This tended to be the line where I was least nervous when they were on the ice. Likely because they weren't playing against the Canucks tough lines. Still, they manufactured a few chances but couldn't get past Luongo.

The Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk line was virtually invisible all night but they broke through late in the third to get a couple chances but again, nothing went in. Wolski, in particular, seemed quite invisible tonight. But that'll happen from time to time so no need to worry.

Mike Weaver took a late hooking penalty as he got a stick around Joe Sakic so the Avalanche had a chance to close this one out. Unfortunately they cycled the puck too much and never really got through for any scoring chances. The Canucks PK was again quite good.

Both goaltenders were playing well and they're the reason this one went to overtime. It was a pretty brief overtime though. Shortly after Finger had nailed Kesler and sent him doubled-over off the ice, the Sedins came on. That's trouble. They cycled the puck down low for about 5 hours, then finally brought it out front where Henrik tossed it on net and Kurt Sauer deflected it past Theodore.

The announcers said it went off Finger, I saw it go off Sauer. Either way, it went off an Avalanche defenseman and in. Tough one. But hey, at least they got one point out of tonight. They really shouldn't have.

Odds & Ends
- Hlinka was back in after sitting two straight
- Finger keeps on putting the body on people
- Brunette played a solid game and was the best Avalanche out there
- Guite played very well and had some key shot blocks
- the Sedins are just frightening (both looks and skill)

Paul Stastny was 9 for 10 in the faceoff circle. Yep, 90%! That's some good faceoff work. Guite and Sakic...not so much. They were 33% and 25% respectively.

Brett Clark was the ice-time leader for the Avalanche with 22:56 followed closely by Scott Hannan with 22:21. Clark was on the ice for a loooong shift at one point as each time he tried to get off, the Canucks regained position so he had to stay on to help out.

Scott Hannan had 6 blocked shots on the night. Jaroslav Hlinka had one but that might have been accidental.

Marek Svatos was dropped to the fourth line and saw limited minutes with just 9:59 in ice-time. Jaroslav Hlinka saw even less with 9:05.

Related Links
In the Cheap Seats Game Notes Recap
TSN Recap


cupster33 said...


Shane Giroux said...

I assume you're not looking for a definition of dominated but disagree that the Avs were dominated.

Based on the puck possession game, the Canucks dominated this one. It may not have looked it on the scoresheet but I think scoring chances favored the Canucks and they spent much more time in the Avs zone than vice-versa.

Why do you feel they weren't dominated?