Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks @ Rogers Arena
With a solid win (or at least getting into overtime), the Canucks would clinch the Northwest division and be guaranteed a spot in the post-season. To help with that, Cory Schneider got his 18th start of the season in net. Imagine that: everyone played an equal role on the team. Ain't that awesome? And Wednesday's game was also Henrik Sedin's 800th game as a Canuck. The only players to play more have their jerseys retired (Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, and Markus Naslund).
But despite all that good going for Vancouver, division rivals Colorado look to spoil the party with a win of their own and keep the Canucks away from clinching the divison title.
Also this was the game in which the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon took place, hoping to beat last year's collection total. To help with the donations click here.
The first goal of the game was claimed by the Avalanche trying to prevent their division rivals from clinching. With his vision blocked by Ryan O'Reilly, Cory Schneider didn't see it coming when Erik Johnson scored his eighth of the year on the powerplay from the shooting point at the faceoff dot. And it didn't get any better. Matt Duchene got a lucky bounce off of Sami Salo's skate 1:27 after Johnson's goal to give the visiting team a 2-goal lead. And that was how the first 20 minutes ended.
The Avalanche lead would be cut in half with a goal from our fourth-line in the second period. Despite losing control of the puck, Chris Higgins got the body advantage over his man and got the puck from the corner to around the net to the other side. From outside the corner, he fed the puck over to Maxim Lapierre who got the tap-in on the shot to get his first Vancouver goal and gave Higgins his first point as a Canuck.
No way were all those shots going to waste. Finally on the thirty-fourth shot, Alex Burrows scored his twenty-first of the season and tied the game at 2. Typical Burrows goal. Stationed in the crease, Burrows got the feed from Daniel Sedin and tipped the puck past Elliott's stick into the back of the far-side of the net.
Finally getting their first lead of the game, the Sedin's connect on the play for Henrik Sedin to score after Daniel fed the puck through his legs to his brother to keep it hot on the scoring race in the NHL. What a pretty play that Elliott would've like to have back. And finally, things start to go the Vancouver way. What's this? A powerplay...?
Getting a little frustrated, Ryan Wilson put the NHL's top PP team on the advantage after getting called on the tripping penalty. Three unanswered goals on the back-half? I'd be a little frustrated too.
Just add an empty-netter by Henrik Sedin and the game is done and the Northwest Division is OURS for the fifth year in-a-row!
Despite the score, Elliott kept the Avalanche in it by giving a fairly solid goaltending performance. On some shots, it seemed like Elliott had put on his lucky skates and lucky jockstrap on! For the longest time, the Canucks were getting shots and chances but not goals to account for them. Why? Elliott. Let's not forget Cory Schneider though. Despite him not having to make as many saves, Schneider made a couple of great saves to keep his team "in it to win it" as the minutes ticked.
But it was just one of those games. The games where calls just don't go your way. The game only saw two penalties (to Sami Salo for interference and Wilson for tripping) but saw many possible calls to be made for both sides. Ahem, refs, OPEN YOUR EYES! Do the players have to dive like football players for you. (I love my footballers, but really, the diving kills me a little. But keep the diving over there!)
Beside the game, the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon - by the end of three periods - raised $650,658 and there are still 2.5 hours left till the lines close!! Donate, donate, donate! Call (1-85-KIDSFUND) or go online through this link.
(1) Henrik Sedin
(2) Erik Johnson
(3) Maxim Lapierre