Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cloutier out for the count, Canucks out in OT

It seemed as though the pattern of the Canucks bouncing back from an ebarrassing loss was about to repeat itself. Having been dismissed on Thursday night with a 6-0 loss at the Pepsi Centre, the Canucks were looking for a little redemption on Saturday.

Vancouver got off to a decent start as they kept the pace of the Avalanche and took advantage of a few chances in the Colorado end of the rink. Things went a little sideways at the ten minute mark of the first period when Canuck goaltender Dan Cloutier was forced from the game after a collision with defenceman Nolan Baumgartner. The Canuck defenceman rammed his own goaltender into the goal post, leaving him stunned on the ice for about five minutes before he left the game for the night. Alex Auld was pressed into service on short notice and played a solid game in the nets, doing his share to keep the Canucks in the game.

A string of second period penalties cost the Canucks as they played 2 men short for lengthy portions of the period, giving the Avs more than enough chances to put goals in the net. Alex Tanguay tied the game up late in the third on a breakaway, while Ian Lapperiere put the game away after 2 minutes of O T, scoring the winning goal in a 4-3 Avalanche win.

While the loss was a hard one for the Canucks there were some positive developments for Marc Crawford to make note of. The Sedin's had a pretty decent game, moving the puck well and having a number of scoring chances, one of which paid off for Henrik Sedin. Brendan Morrison picked up a goal for Vancouver and Todd Bertuzzi had a solid game, perhaps his best of the season thus far. Bertuzzi was more involved in the play than in the last few efforts, gaining an assist on Matt Cookes opening goal for Vancouver. Even the fans seemed to let up on him as the game progressed, there were still the boos everytime he touched the puck, but the costumes and chants weren't as prevalent as they were on Thursday.

Besides Tanguay and Lapperiere, Colorado goal scorers included Rob Blake and Andrew Brunette who bounced back nicely from the collision with Baumgartner and Cloutier. The loss, Vancouvers second in three nights to the Avs and second in a row, drops the Canuck record to 8-3-1. Colorado improves to 6-4-1 so far in the young season.

With the loss behind them now, the one question that still remains to be seen is the health of Cloutier, he was taken from the rink before the game ended for further evaluation. One player probably hoping for a quick recovery is Baumgartner, he's going to be in for a bit of a rough time in his own dressing room for taking out his own goaltender. It makes it hard for Marc Crawford to complain about protecting the goalies when his own players are crashing their own net!

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