Escaping an Avalanche 101
The Colorado Avalanche controlled the majority of play Saturday at the Pepsi Center, but again couldn’t close out the Canucks, allowing Chris Higgins to play hero with a pair of late goals in a 3-2 overtime victory.
Gabriel Landeskog gave the Avs the early lead and Jamie McGinn extended it with his 8th goal in 13 games for Colorado, extending an impressive point streak in his new uniform.
The Hat Trick
Mason Raymond had another strong game alongside Henrik Sedin on Vancouver’s top line, burying his 10th goal of the season past Semyon Varlamov to get the Canucks on the board Saturday. Raymond has added an extra dimension to what was once the Sedin line, allowing Henrik more space as defenders flow towards the wheeling winger.
Raymond appears to have re-discovered his game since the trade deadline after many fans began to focus on what Mike Gillis couldhave acquired for the second line speedster.
It seems the Canucks have found what they were looking for in Raymond all along.
Luongo Looms Large
Roberto Luongo allowed an early goal Saturday against the Avalanche but bounced back in the latter half of the hockey game, holding the Canucks in it as they struggled to stay ahead of the charging Avs.
Luongo stopped all 27 shots faced at even strength Saturday, allowing a pair of power play goals on 13 shots faced while playing a down a man.
Not to be outdueled, Semyon Varlamov did his best to help his team with a fantastic second-assist on the power play, flipping the puck up ice to Paul Stastny who pushed it over to Jamie McGinn to finish a pretty passing play.
Despite the well-earned assist, the visiting goaltender stole first star with the 38 save performance.
Higgins Plays Hero
Chris Higgins and Vancouver’s second line had kept quiet for the opening half of the game Saturday, but eventually broke through with a pair of goals to push the Canucks past the Avs for another two points at the Pepsi Center.
Higgins worked the high cycle late in the second period, ripping a shot past Varlamov after Samuel Pahlsson put a perfect touch pass in front of his linemate streaking in on net.
Higgins got open again in overtime, finding space for Jannik Hansen to feed him the puck after the young Dane forced a turnover on a one-man forecheck.
Once free in the high slot, Higgins ripped the puck right through the wickets of Varlamov, ending extra time in another ruthless comeback for the Canucks.
The Canucks had no business winning Saturday’s game but kept up a consistent effort and eventually broke the Avs down, stealing another pair of points in Colorado.
“For some reason, whenever I get 40 shots I feel like I’m at my best. I keep telling the guys to give up shots from the outside and we’ll be fine.” Roberto Luongo was loose after an impressive performance in Colorado Saturday.
1st. Chris Higgins - GOALS: 2| PTS: 2| ASST: 0 SOG: 2| PLUS/MINUS: 2
2nd. Jamie McGinn - GOALS: 1| PTS: 1| ASST: 0 SOG: 4| PLUS/MINUS: 0
3rd. Gabriel Landeskog - GOALS: 1| PTS: 1| ASST: 0 SOG: 5| PLUS/MINUS: -1