Raycroft solid in OT loss

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

With the Canucks backup job still up for grabs, goaltender Andrew Raycroft made a strong case for himself Thursday night despite a 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

The 29-year-old netminder, who is battling Cory Schneider for the role behind starter Roberto Luongo, stopped 26 of 29 shots, including plenty of highlight-worthy saves in the second period.

But a Teemu Selanne OT tally ruined his night and gave the Canucks their first loss this pre-season.

"I've taken that last shot about a thousand times," Raycroft said. "He just kind of fanned on it and it fooled me enough to find a hole, which obviously is disappointing."

Although Vancouver came back from a late deficit for the third game in a row, it was Raycroft who gave them the chance to make things interesting.

His biggest save came halfway through the second period when he stopped former Vancouver Giant Brendan Mikkelson in close.

A few minutes later though, the Ducks managed to get their first one by him when a Corey Perry one-timer in the crease found the back of the net. Their second tally came from a Ryan Whitney bullet that found the top corner.

"I think he played real well, gave us a chance to stay in the game," said coach Alain Vigneault about Raycroft. "He knows he's in a battle for the backup job and under pressure tonight, he did a real good job for us."

Down 2-0, the Canucks started their all-too-familiar comeback when Matt Pope got one for the home team with just under seven minutes to go in the final frame, while crashing the front of the net and stuffing the puck past Anaheim's goaltender Jonas Hiller.

Shane O'Brien sent the game into overtime with a weak wrister from the point that somehow found it's way into the net with under a minute to go.

As the pre-season begins to draw near, the Vancouver lineup is slowly evolving into the opening night roster.

The Canucks, who released 10 players Thursday, still have about 14 more players to cut and some of the bubble skaters were given another look against the Ducks.

The most notable names included Michael Grabner, who played in his fifth pre-season game, and Cody Hodgson, who was in his fourth consecutive game.

Grabner picked up an assist, while Hodgson finished a plus-two.

The Canucks will travel to Calgary to play the Flames Saturday in their second last pre-season game.


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