January 5, 2012

Canucks,Habs,Bruins, and Sharks in the Winners Circle in Last Night's NHL Action

We begin Wednesday nights NHL round up with the game in Vancouver as the Canucks hosted the Minnesota Wild.

It took the Canucks just over 6 minutes to get themselves a 1 goal lead in this one as Daniel Sedin fired a one timer in from the top of the circle  after some good play between himself and Burrows to create the opening. It was 2-0 at 10.24 as Burrows finished off an excellent move which started from deep in the Canucks own zone. When Henrik Sedin made a backhand pass from just inside the Wild blue line across ice to Daniel he centred the puck with one touch and Burrows was there to redirect the puck in behind Josh Harding. One of the most beautiful looking tic-tac-toe moves you will see in 2012.

The home team largely dominated the 1st period as they outshot their opponents 16 – 11 and passing up a great chance 4 on 3 to extend their lead further.

The Canucks started the 2nd period with a minute remaining on the powerplay after a late unsportsmanslike call on Prosser of the Wild but couldn’t find any rhythm or create any chances.

It was Bouchard for the Wild who had the best chance early in the 2nd but as he skated over the blue line with the puck on a 2 on 1 breakaway he shot and Luongo got his shoulder on the puck and deflected the puck wide.

Luongo then made a great glove save on Clutterbuck as the Wild had their 1st powerplay opportunity 8 minutes into the 2nd. They couldn’t take advantage of this and it was Burrows who nearly gave the Canucks a 3-0 lead as the powerplay expired. This time it was Harding’s turn to pull off the glove save to prevent the puck going behind him again.

As the 2nd period went on the Wild started to have more puck possession and time in the Canucks zone but couldn’t turn the possession into a goal and despite outshooting Vancouver 10 - 9 in the period they couldn’t get anything back on the scoreboard.

Both team exchanged chances at the start of the 3rd period as Burrows hit a post on a redirect from a Daniel Sedin shot and then Cullen was foiled by Luongo as he tried to force once past him shortside.
Minnesota had 2 powerplay chances in the 3rd but couldn’t get anything going at all as the Wild were outshot by their hosts 10 – 7.

With 1.33 left in the game Setogucchi had a great chance to make it 2-1 and produce a frantic finish. Luongo came out and challenged and gobbled up the  players shot in his equipment as the Wild missed their best chance of the period.

By this point Harding had been pulled from the Minnesota net and Manny Malhotra fired the puck into an empty net with 29 seconds left.

The game finished 3-0 with Roberto Luongo standing strong in the Vancouver net for his 3rd consecutive shut out in games against the Wild.

In Montreal the Canadiens thumped the Winnipeg Jets 7-3 as Lars Eller put away 4 of the 7 goals.

It was the Jets who took a 1-0 lead early on as Tim Stapleton poked a loose puck into the net as Evander Kane had forced a save from Carey Price in the Canadiens net.

Josh Gorges celebrated his new contract with the equaliser at 13.24 as he wristed a shot in from the point and Ellar got his 1st of the night at 14.07 as he robbed the Jets defence and fired a quick wrist shot low past Pavlec.

The teams exchanged goals in the 2nd period as Tomas Kaberle scored his 1st as a Canadien on a snap shop from the face off circle and then Blake Wheeler got a powerplay goal as he tipped in a Bogosian drive.
It was 3 goals inside a minute in the 3rd that saw Montreal home and dry. It started at 2.41 as Eller tapped in from on the doorstep after great play from Kostitsyn and Moen set up the chance.

22 seconds later Cammalleri just casually threw a puck towards the goal backhanded from along the boards and it found its way into the net via a defenceman’s skate in front.

Ellar had his hat trick 28 seconds later as he benefitted from a great play by Kostitsyn. He came out from behind the net with the puck, held off 2 challenges as he circled back infront and made a reverse pass that gave Ellar an easy chance to bury the puck. Mason replaced Pavlec at this point in the Jets net.

Ellar got his 4th and the Canadiens 7th on a penalty shot at 11.00 of the period and what a move he pulled on it as well. Skating in on Mason with the puck on his forehand he went out to the circle and then back in to the top of the crease where he spun to his back hand. Mason was anticipating the shot  on the forehand and was sliding across net as Ellar guided the puck in on the back hand. A brilliant move that capped a brilliant performance from the Montreal 3rd liner.

Andrew Ladd tipped in a 3rd for the Jets with 6.57 left of the game but Montreal had already sealed the win with the 3 goal blitz at the start of the 3rd.

In Anaheim the Ducks took an early lead as a play by Cogliano to keep the puck in the zone on the boards bounced straight to Corey Perry infront of Niemi and he made a forehand / backhand move to bury the puck.
Anaheim held that lead right through towards the end of the 2nd period when San Jose hit with 2 goals in 27 seconds to turn the game on it’s head.

Brad Winchester fired a snap shot from the circle across Hiller and in off the woodwork and then Ferriero pounced on a puck in the crease after a blocked Dan Boyle shot from the point was helped towards the net by Logan Couture.

Joe Pavelski secured a 3-1 win for the Sharks at 12.43 in the 3rd as Hiller allowed a big rebound off a Joe Thornton shot and Pavelski was the 1st to react and sweep it into the net.

That leaves us with just 1 game to conclude the round up and that was between the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils.

New Jersey started the game well as they took a 1-0 lead at 4.24 of the 1st period. On the powerplay, Zach Parise led a partial 2 on 1 out of his own zone and he centred the puck to David Clarkson who fired the puck past Thomas’s glove.

That would be the highlight of the evening for the Devils however as the Bruins then turned it on to blast 6 past Brodeur for no reply.

Gregory Campbell tipped in an Andrew Ference shot  at 8.15 and Krejci slipped the puck across the crease to Nathan Horton to fire in off the post at 13.17. Horton scoring his 10th of the season, this one on the powerplay to give Boston a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd period.

Patrice Bergeron got the only goal of the 2nd at 4.24 as he blocked a Larsson shot at his own blue line and chased after it. He went clean in on Brodeur and made a quick backhand to forehand deke to make it 3-1.
Bergeron and Krejci scored within 5 minutes at the start of the 3rd period to kill the game off. Marchand and Seguin took the play out of their own zone and deep into the New Jersey end, Seguin dropping the puck off for Marchand to circle around the net and find the perfect pass to an open Bergeron who wristed the puck in stick side on Brodeur.

Then Krejci tipped in a blast from Seidenberg amidst some protest from the Devils that there was a high stick used to score.

Shawn Thornton fired in the final goal with 5.37 left in the game as his wrist shot from between the circles found its way through Brodeur’s pads and into the net. A horrible night for the New Jersey netminder but another dominant performance from the Bruins who after a shaky first few games this season are showing what good champions can do.

- Adam Yates

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