The only thing standing between this first preseason loss and been blown out was Andrew Raycroft, who was outstanding in the second period when the Ducks outshot the 'Nucks 15-6, with the combined two period totals registering 24-11.
Cory Perry’s tip-in goal as he went to the net hard and was not picked up by the defense surely could not be placed on Raycroft, as he was in position but had no help. Raycroft was turning back the Ducks as they seem to come in waves, with grade "A" chances by Andrew Ebbett, Brendan Mikkelson, and Petteri Nokelainen, just to name a few. It was like the whole Anaheim team was taking turns doing practice drills on the Canuck goalie.
Anaheim’s Ryan Whitney’s slap shot from the point gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead and made it look like the night—and, along with it, the unbeaten streak for the Canucks—was over. But if it’s one thing this team is building on, which will carry into the start of the regular season next Thursday in Calgary, it’s that "no quit" mentality.
Well that’s exactly what took place, as a Matt Pope wrist shot cut the Ducks' lead in half, and then Shane O’Brien’s point shot with 54 seconds left in regulation tied it up. So for the third game in a row, the fans were treated to another overtime game—this time with a different ending.
Teemu Selanne, with his patented wrist shot from a sharp angle, beat Raycroft as he went down to block the shot, and Selanne put it over him into the top shelf.
That’s a decent record, 6-0-1, with which to be going into the final two games of the preseason, with games in Calgary on Saturday, which you can see on TSN, and Edmonton on Sunday (Canucks.com). Louie will start on Saturday and Cory Schneider on Sunday, with Schneider looking to be heading to Manitoba after Raycroft's fine play last night and in the previous games.
As Raycroft told the Vancouver Sun after the game, “Other than that last goal...overall my body of work I think I accomplished what I wanted to do coming in here.” I would say his play has earned him that backup spot, which this year with the Olympics, may end up being some 15-20 games.
As I mentioned as early as training camp, the players that were cut (Oberg, Walsky, Ellington, Labrie, Ramsey, and MacHesney) and assigned to Manitoba, along with Sauve being sent back to his junior team (Saint John), does not come as any big surprise. That fact that Petrovicky and Scatchard ran into injury problems when they needed playing time pretty well sealed their fate also, as they were released.
Cody Hodgson’s struggles, which I wrote about in my last article, seems to be the continuing affects of that back injury, along with some nerve damage, that limited him in training camp, and he may be placed on the IR for the start of the season. Coach Alain Vigneault suggested that Hodgson will likely play in both weekend games. My question here would be "Why are they playing him with that type of injury when it has not fully healed?"
As this all shakes out, it leaves Shirokov, who is supposed to start skating today and is slated to play on the weekend and Hansen, as the two left who will most likely stay with the 'Nucks. That would leave them as the 12th and 13th players, respectfully, to be rotated in the early part of the season, until some of the players come off the IR list.
Look for the next two games to have some set lines that will be playing in Calgary next Thursday, as this looks like a season with great optimism and expectations.