The Vancouver Canucks first true ‘comeback’ win of the season came in a slightly bizarre, but memorable fashion against the Anaheim Ducks, Wednesday night.
The teams had met only once earlier in California, with the Ducks skating to a 4-1 win. Whatever the reason, the Ducks seem to have it out for the Canucks, and for years, players the ilk of Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, and Corey Perry have posed problems. Problems that were not kind to Vancouver’s Goals Against Average. With an exhaustive 10 round shootout win the night previous in Edmonton, the Ducks had energy early and Perry opened the scoring less than 5 minutes in.
Ryan Kesler, who was easily the best player on the ice, as he has been for past few games, responded for the Canucks on the powerplay. He deflected a Christian Ehrhoff point shot, bringing Roger’s Arena into the game. They hadn’t been seated more than a moment as Jeff Tambellini scoured the slot for rebounds, and got one off a Mason Raymond wrister eleven seconds later.
Joffrey Lupul notched it at two with his first goal in a year since returning from back surgery. Corey Perry found Teemu Selanne cross-ice during a 2-on-1 with Alex Edler off for a tripping penalty. Selanne notched the 616th goal of his career with a labelled wrist shot over Luongo’s left shoulder with 17 seconds remaining in the second frame.
Rookie defenseman Cam Fowler had a strange goal go in off Alex Edler, who pursued Todd Marchant right up to the Canucks goalcrease off the rush.Up until the 8:42 mark of the third period, Ducks goaltender Curtis Mcelhinney had been brilliant in goal. The former Flames’ backup made key stops on both Henrik and Daniel Sedin, particularly in the third period. But his luck ran out as Christian Ehrhoff sizzled one from the point, catching McElhinney squarely in the mask. The puck dropped down to Daniel Sedin who added his 15th of the season. It was a game-changing moment, because it stirred a lot of contention as to whether the referees should have blown the play dead or not. In International rules, the play is whistled dead immediately if a goalie stops a hard shot with his head. But in the NHL, it’s up to the referee’s discretion. The play unfolded very quickly, and though McElhinney was down from the initial shot, he got up, skating toward their bench, hunched over and bleeding. He had to be helped to the dressing room.
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle spoke to reporters post-game about the incident. “What’s the call when a goalie gets hit in the mask with a slap shot?” Carlyle said. “(The referee) said it was too quick. Four sets of eyes out there. There are two linesman that are supposed to make the call out there and that is clearly cut and dried.”
New second line addition Jeff Tambellini scored the only goal of the shootout with a perfect shot over (replacement) Jonas Hiller’s shoulder. Though Selanne, Perry and Lupul all scored in regulation, Roberto Luongo stopped each of their shootout attempts. “My teammates bailed me out with two goals in the third,” said Luongo, who stopped 16 shots through regulation and overtime. “We haven’t come back from behind once in the third period at all this year, so we were due for one.” Vancouver entertains the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday, then fly to Edmonton right after for an early Sunday evening affair.