Canucks At Avalanche Recap: Christopher Higgins & Canucks Put Huge Dent In Avs Playoff Hopes; Win 3-2 In Overtime

March 24 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin (33) is congratulated for his goal during the second period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The magnitude of this game goes without saying. If the Avs wanted any chance of making the playoffs, they needed a win tonight.

The NHL must've heard the pleas from Head Coach Joe Sacco because the Avs were given their first power play chance just 36 seconds into the game, as Vancouver was called for Too Many Men On The Ice. Realizing just how big of a game this was, the Avs wasted very little time in cashing in on the man advantage. Less than 40 seconds into the man advantage Gabriel Landeskog was there to fire the puck into the net, it was his 22nd goal of the season.

After getting the early goal the Avs seemed to gain all of the momentum and were absolutely flying around the ice. They were making big hits and imposing their will on the Canucks thru the first half of the first period. And it gave the Avs their second power play of the game as David Jones was hooked to the ice as he drove to the net with the teams playing 4 on 4. WIthout a couple of tremendous saves by Roberto Luongo, the Avs could've easily taken a 2 goal lead.

The Vancouver Canucks were given their first power play of the night on an "iffy" tripping call, at best, on Jan Hejda. Then David Jones got a bit unlucky as he cleared the puck into the crowd to give the Canucks a minute and fifteen seconds of a two man advantage. Thankfully though the Avs' penalty killers, especially Ryan O'Byrne, came up huge and killed of the 2 penalties and maintain the Avs' 1-0 lead.

The Avs started getting more pressure deep in the Canucks zone and earned, can you believe it, their THIRD power play of the period. Samuel Pahlsson was whistled for holding Mark Olver's stick. The Avs caught an unlucky break with just 7 seconds remaining on the power play. As David Jones was attempting to lift the stick of Kevin Bieksa, he missed and caught nothing but the face of the Canucks defenseman. Unlike the other night when Ryan O'Reilly was high sticked in the face, this one was correctly called a 4 minute double minor.

The Avs had about a minute and a half of carry over penalty kill as the game headed into the second period. Fortunately the Avs penalty killers continue to play great as they not only killed off the double minor, but they Avs did not allow a single shot.

After a bit of defensive battle between the teams for most of the first half of the second period, the Avs were given their 4th power play of the game at the 10:23 mark of the second period when Sami Salo was called for interference. With just over 30 seconds elapsed on the power play, Semyon Varlamov decided to do his best Marty Brodeur impression. He fired a perfect outlet pass to Paul Stastny at the far blue line, who flicked it to Jamie McGinn who then broke in alone and beat Luongo to give the Avs a 2-0 lead with just under 9 minutes to play.

With seemingly all of the momentum in the Avs favor, the tides started to slow turn against the Avs.

Of all the Avs players tonight, David Jones has been having the most unlucky game of them all. It definitely didn't change much when he was called for holding Ryan Kesler with just under six minutes to play. That put the Canucks, and their 3rd ranked power play, on the job for the fifth time in the game. There's only so many chances you can give a talented team until the eventually make you pay. That's exactly what happened as a blocked shot went right to Mason Raymond, who did not miss. Varly was slightly out of position due to reacting to the initial shot that was blocked.

Then just over a minute and a half later the Canucks were able to tie the game up. Off another broken play/blocked shot, Christopher Higgins was able get the puck and sniped the far corner and beat Varly. The second period would end with the game tied at 2. Without a doubt, the most important 20 minutes of the Avs season so far, was head of them.

Heading into the third, the Avs very playoff lives could be on the line.

The Avs were given their SIXTH, that's right sixth power play of the game just over 6 minutes into the third period. Unfortunately for the Avs, Luongo stood tall again as the Avs were able to get 4 shots on net during the man advantage, but none were able to find the back of the net.

The third period back and forth with a lot of chances by both teams. Both Luongo and Varly came up with some very timely saves for their teams and it would be enough to send the game to overtime. Unfortunately before the Avs game was over, the Coyotes and Sharks went to overtime. The game would eventually be won by the Sharks in a shootout just as Christopher Higgins buried his second goal of the game to beat the Avs in overtime. This loss, even though it's an overtime loss, definitely hurt. WIth the loss the Avs now fall to 10th place in the Western Conference.

MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night

  • 1 Jamie McGinn, scored his 20th goal of the season, and 8th w/ the Avs since "the trade".
  • 2 Gabriel Landeskog, scored his 22nd goal of the season, 2nd in ice time tonight w/ 22:44.
  • 3 Semyon Varlamov, 29 saves on 32 shots.

Lines

  • 1 Jones-Stastny-McGinn
  • 2 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Downie
  • 3 Olver-Duchene-Hejduk
  • 4 McLeod-McClement-Kobasew
  • 1 Barrie-Hejda
  • 2 Hunnwick-O'Byrne
  • 3 O'Brien-Wilson

Quick Hits

  • 1 Semyon Varlamov earned his first NHL point in the game with the assist on Jamie McGinn's 20th goal of the season.
  • 2 The Avs playoff hopes took a gigantic blow with the loss as they fall to 10th place in the West with everyone but Phoenix holding 2 games in hand.
  • 3 The Canucks won the Northwest Division for the 4th straight year; Avs fall to 0-5 against Vancouver this season.

NHL.com Recap & Highlights

NHL.com recap

Game Summary

Event Summary


Next Up

The Avs start a very gigantic western road trip kicking off in San Jose on Monday night.

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