Ahh... More fun times for Canucks haters.
The Vancouver Canucks lost another close one on Tuesday (Feb. 5th) despite captain Markus Naslund's two goals in regulation and another one during the shootout, falling at the American Airlines Center to the Dallas Stars, 3-2.
Normally a performance like Naslund's would be good enough for the Canucks.
However, the game was still knotted after two rounds of the shootout, and Trevor Linden came up with the chance to end it.
Score, and the Canucks would win.
Much to my delight, the former captain couldn't deliver, and the game continued.
And the spotlight then shifted to the captain on the other side, the less talented Brenden Morrow.
Morrow came through, putting in the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout session. All this after getting a goal and an assist earlier in regulation.
Morrow, the Stars' captain, is not a regular in the shootout. In fact, the attempt Morrow had against Vancouver was only the second of his career. And he capitalized with a high shot that beat Roberto Luongo, went off the crossbar and into the net.
Canucks apologists would whine that their team is going through injuries and had to dress four rookies, moaning that Vancouver was missing five defensemen.
Tough. No sympathy here.
All they had to do was take a look at the other bench.
The Stars, who had just activated Jere Lehtinen from injured reserve at the start of the month after the winger missed 33 games with an abdominal injury, are still missing their top two defensemen—Sergei Zubov and Philippe Boucher—who are out indefinitely.
Lehtinen, who scored the other goal for the Stars in regulation, was Dallas' leading scorer from the previous season.
And Luongo, the Canucks goaltender who turned in another solid game, just wasn't good enough once again. Luongo, who had played five seasons with the Panthers without making the playoffs before his trade to Vancouver last year, has been seeing so much rubber that he must be thinking he's in Florida again.
Once again, Luongo's trying to backstop a team that can't score and is giving up too many shots. Oh yeah, and a team that is on the outside looking in.
Vancouver (26-21-7) currently sits tenth in the Western Conference with 59 points.
Luongo's counterpart, Stars goalie Marty Turco, wasn't as busy, stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced. However, there were anxious moments in the shootout as the Canucks were one shot away from winning it four times. But Turco bore down and didn't let Linden, Daniel Sedin, or Ryan Kesler score.
Then, after Morrow beat Luongo in the sixth round, Turco stopped Taylor Pyatt—Vancouver's last hope—to seal the deal.
Tom Larschied, the Canucks' radio color commentator, said before the game that the number one key for Vancouver was goaltending. Larschield noted that for the Canucks to win, Luongo had to outplay Turco.
And once again, the Canucks sent Edler out there in the shootout. Watching Edler being out there again is just comical. The defenseman is obviously highly regarded as one of Vancouver's shootout specialists, but his magic, aka beginner's luck—he had two consecutive game-winners in January—is apparently over.
Memo to Canucks' fans: Edler is now yesterday's news. Get over it.
For Canucks haters like me, this was a sweet victory for the Stars.
It was as if someone had scripted this. And the amusing thing was that the Canucks had done this just a few days ago.
Edler was the goat once again for failing to deliver despite his "reputation" as a shootout go-to guy.
Luongo played well enough—to lose.
The Canucks were dominated in the face-off circle, losing 37 of 60 chances.
All in all, the Canucks played their typical game and dropped their fourth straight and are a paltry 1-5-3 in their last nine outings. For those of you still unfamiliar with the third column, that three means the Canucks picked up three cheap points in losses decided after overtime. Make that eight losses in their last nine.
Will there be more fun times for Canucks haters this week? We'll find out Thursday when Edler, Luongo, and the rest of the team take on the Thrashers in Atlanta.
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