Friday, March 17, 2006

The way the puck bounces

A win is a win, especially when they’ve become few and far between. The Vancouver Canucks benefited from a bouncing puck off a Columbus Blue Jacket defender, as they finally got back on the winning track and not a game too soon.

The game started off quite promising for the Canucks as they controlled the play for the bulk of the opening period and should probably have had more goals on the scoreboard if not for the outstanding goaltending from rookie net minder Pascal Leclaire, who faced 33 shots on the night. Each time Vancouver would get ahead the Blue Jackets managed to put it back together and pull up close and eventually tie the Canucks. Setting up an entertaining third period.

With play deep in the Columbus end of the rink, Brendan Morrison fired a shot that deflected off of Manny Maholtra and into the net, giving the Canucks a 3-2 victory and finally a chance to breathe again in the Western Conference playoff chase.

In the end, the Canuck’s could thank their own goaltender Alex Auld, who made a game saving save with twenty seconds to go to stave off the prospect of overtime and the horrors that could have provided for Vancouver.

In addition to Morrison’s winner, the Canucks found scoring from someone other than a Sedin on Friday night as they collected goals from Anson Carter (on a nice set up from a Sedin) and Mattias Ohlund who received a sharp pass from Todd Bertuzzi on the play. With the win, they finally brought to an end the troubling five game losing skid that had most of their fans in Vancouver is a severe funk Many in Vancouver sense that their team’s playoff possibilities are sliding away as the end of the season beckons, as they hold a tenuous grip on their eight and final spot.

Anaheim and San Jose have been closing up ground in the last couple of weeks and hold games in hand that could come into play by the end of the season. The Canucks now travel back across the continent for a game on Sunday night against the Detroit Red Wings; Detroit is playing the second half of the CBC double header on Saturday night in Edmonton.

For Vancouver Sunday night will prove to be another test for a struggling team, beat the Wings and maybe they’ll be able to claw their way back up the division standings and give themselves a bit of room to work with as the playoffs get closer.

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