Friday, October 21, 2005

Game Report: Canucks 3 - Coyotes 2

The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a penalty filled contest which also included some controversy.

Vancouver started strong again, outshooting the Coyotes 19-11 in the first period, however Curtis Joseph was outstanding. Ed Jovanovski scored the only goal of the period on the power play. Phoenix was lucky to get out of the period only down by one.

In the second, Keith Ballard put his team on the board to tie the game at one. Midway through the period Nolan Baumgartner would score on the power play, however shortly after that Geoff Sanderson would even the score with his first goal of the season. Despite being out-shot 30-18, Phoenix would head into the third period tied at two.

With the teams playing 4-on-4 Matt Cooke scored a controversial goal that would hold up as the game winner. Cooke fed a pass to Jovanovski who went to the net hard, the puck ended up at the side where Cooke crashed the goal and knocked the puck in and the net off its moorings. Mick McGeough immediately waved off the goal and called upstairs for a video review.

Replays showed that the net was lifted up as the puck went in the net. However, unlike the old rule where a goal would not count if the net was lifted up at all, the new rule this season states that the goal must be completely off its moorings. The video goal judge made the correct call(judging by how long it took, it was likely the boys in New York who made the call), and allowed the goal to stand. However, despite the goal judge making the correct call, the call by the on ice officials was suspect. Jovanovski was clearly in the crease and a strong case could be made that he interfered with Joseph. That said the NHL has been fairly consistent in allowing these types of goals where the puck carrier goes to the net with the puck and crashes into the goalie. In this case Jovanovski did just that and even made an attempt to avoid the goalie. It's a highly debatable play and I would really like to hear the NHL's stance on the matter.

Despite the controversy, Phoenix certainly had opportunities to tie the game. They enjoyed a 5-on-3 shortly after the Cooke goal, but could not score thanks to some excellent penalty killing by Trevor Linden and Bryan Allen. In the final minutes, Phoenix had the luxury of a 4-on-3 power-play, which would be a 5-on-3 with Joseph out of the goal. Shane Doan hit the post, but that was as close as the Coyotes would come to scoring. Phoenix would finish 0 for 8 on the power play.

Canuck Report Card

The Forwards: C+

It was a tough game for the Vancouver forwards. With 44 minutes in minor penalties it was difficult for the lines to get in sync. Even strength minutes were tough to come by, as a result the 3rd and 4th lines were largely ineffective. Jarkko Ruutu only found five minutes of ice-time, while Lee Goren managed seven thanks to a couple minutes on the power-play. Defensively the forward group was good, especially Trevor Linden who was great on the penalty kill.

The Defense: B-

Once again the Vancouver defense contributed offensively. Both Nolan Baumgartner and Ed Jovanovksi would score on the power-play. Defensively Bryan Allen didn't have one of his best games, but he was great on a third period 5-on-3. The defense grade would be higher if not for a rare miscue by Salo and Ohlund which resulted in the Coyotes second goal.

The Goaltending: B

Dan Cloutier stopped 22 of 24 shots, picking up his 4th victory of the season. Cloutier would probably like to have the Ballard goal back, as he cheated a bit and left too much room upstairs, but overall it was a solid game. Cloutier was especially good in the final hectic minutes of the third period.

Special Teams: A-

For the first time this season the penalty kill came though big time, finishing a perfect 8 for 8. Trevor Linden was the leader of the PK, fearlessly blocking shots and successfully killing off two 5-on-3's. The power-play was once again good, going 2 for 10 on the night. Two power play goals are great, but the Canucks failed to finish off the Coyotes when they had their chance, hence the minus.

Overall: B

The Canucks dominated the first period and were nearly as good in the second. It wasn't their best game and Curtis Joseph was the only reason it was close, however Vancouver failed to put the game away when they had the chance and as a result the game could have easily gone the other way.

The Canuck Fan's Three Stars

  1. Curtis Joseph - Cujo was outstanding, he was by far the best player in the game despite giving up three goals and taking the loss.
  2. Ed Jovanovski - Jovo scored a goal and an assist with three shots on goal and three blocked shots in 28 minutes of ice-time.
  3. Sami Salo - It was tough picking the 3rd star, but I went with Salo for his assist, six shots on goal and most importantly his 6:14 of ice-time on the perfect penalty kill. Honorable mention to Keith Ballard for his goal and a fight. He looks like a keeper.

The Canucks are now at the top of the NHL standings with a 6-1-1 record.

Next up: Colorado in Vancouver, Saturday night (CBC).

No comments: