Stanchion The The Rescue
The Vancouver Canucks were outplayed for the majority of the hockey game again on Saturday afternoon but responded with a gusty last minute comeback against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Hat Trick
Big Bad Bitz
Byron Bitz made a big impact in his Canucks debut Saturday afternoon, throwing bit hits against the Avalanche and answering for his play proficiently in a strong fight against Cody McLeod. McLeod was cut open by Bitz after the former Bruin landed a couple of big punches on the 6’2” winger in a late first period fight.
After only his first game of the season in the NHL expect Bitz to improve his performance as he gets more games under his belt.
Bieksa the Brave
With under a minute left in the third period the Canucks appeared doomed to drop a 2-1 loss to the Avalanche, but as the puck slid towards Vancouver’s empty net Kevin Bieksa intervened with a diving save, eventually wheeling the puck up ice in an epic final minute.
Bieksa broke the Avalanche zone and found the puck off a deflection from the Pepsi Center stanchion, firing the equalizer past Jean-Sebastien Giguere with only 35 seconds remaining in the game.
Before Bieksa temporarily became goaltender late in the third period Roberto Luongostood tall to make 44 stops in the 3-2 victory. Luongo was busy in the crease all afternoon but ended up on the bench in the final minutes of the third as his team desperately defended an empty net.
After Bieksa’s heroic final minute Luongo and the Canucks responded strongly in the shootout to steal a second point from the Avalanche.
The Canucks continue to get away with wins despite consistently poor performances in the middle of the regular season. While the team is undoubtedly underperforming, the fact Vancouver continues to count up the points is another indication of a talented hockey team.
Alain Vigneault and the Canucks must work towards improving their play despite what the scoreboard says heading down the regular season stretch.
“I knew they had a good record, I wasn’t sure what it was,” Roberto Luongo remained coy over the Vancouver’s big shootout win against the Avalanche.
The 3 Stars
1st. Jean-Sebastien Giguere – COL SAVE PCTG: 0.931
2nd. Roberto Luongo – SAVE PCTG: 0.957
3rd. Gabriel Landeskog – GOALS: 0 | PTS: 0 | ASST: 0 SOG: 9 | PLUS/MINUS: 0
Vancouver 3, Colorado 2
When: 3:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 4, 2012
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Referees: Don VanMassenhoven, Wes McCauley
Linesmen: Brad Lazarowich, Mike Cvik