The game started almost completely down in the Avs end. Hejduk did have one shot, but we all knew what was coming.... and it came less than 5 minutes in. The Sedins made a nice passing play, Varlamov over-committed to one side, and boom, Alexandre Burrows tapped the puck into an empty net. 1-0 VAN.
P.A. Parenteau drew a penalty with 11:07 left in the period, and surprisingly, both Avs power play units had defensemen on them! Crazy, I know! It didn't help since Cory Schneider made a set of very good saves and the Canucks still killed it, but hey, progress!
Erik Johnson had a nice skating play and pass to Milan Hejduk in front of the net (no go), and Parenteau was robbed twice on one shift, but that's about all that happened to finish out the period. Still, after the first goal, it was one of the better first periods we've had in a while. It was up-tempo and the Avs finished strong.
Schneider made some nice saves and the Avs played pretty well, but apart from Zanon blocking a shot with his hand and heading to the locker room, nothing really exciting happened. It was a fairly up-tempo period that didn't hurt like hell to watch, so I'd consider that a small moral victory even though we didn't score. By the end, we were outshooting the Canucks 21-15, but the scoreboard still read 1-0 VAN.
Zanon was back on the bench to start the 3rd, but O'Reilly caught a stick to the face in the first minute. No call. He was back out a few minutes later, so I don't think he even missed a shift.
However, it was another center that tied it up 4 minutes in. Pareanteau made a nice play behind the net and centered it to Matt Duchene in the slot. Dutchy's nice little wrister found its way top shelf past Schneider, making it 1 all.
At 11:51, Tyson Barrie drew a penalty from Steven Pinizzotto. There were a couple nice shots (including one from Johnson) and a couple nice saves, but the Canucks killed it off. It gave them a bit of momentum, and about a minute later, Daniel Sedin rocketed a shot behind Varlamov after a defensive zone faceoff loss by Duchene. Oops. 2-1 VAN.
Varly was pulled for the extra skater with 1:42 left in the 3rd, but a rebound off Schneider hopped on O'Reilly and ended up coming to Henrik Sedin. He stuck in in our empty net, 3-1 VAN. Schneider got an assist on the play. We kept the net empty, and Higgins netted another. 4-1 VAN, which would stand as the final score.
This was actually a pretty okay game to watch, and the final score isn't indicative of how close it was. I thought the Avs actually out-played the Canucks skaters, but Schneider definitely shut us down. He's the biggest reason they won this game. Johnson, Barrie, Hejda, and even Hunwick looked pretty good tonight, and Parenteau was his same old amazing self. Dutchy got a goal, and the team didn't completely wilt after the early goal against. In a normal season, this would be a game we'd just shrug off as losing to a hot goalie. This year? Well, the Tank rolls on.