February 18, 2013
Blues top Canucks in shootout
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen celebrates his teams shootout win over the Vancouver Canuck shortly after their NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia February 17, 2013. (REUTERS)

VANCOUVER - Overtime was inevitable. After all, heading into Sunday night's game, neither the Vancouver Canucks or the St. Louis Blues had lost in regulation when scoring first.

With both the Western Conference teams rather evenly matched for their first meeting this season, the showdown indeed needed overtime and more.

It took a late Mason Raymond regulation goal to get them there, and a huge save by Blues goalie Jake Allen on Alex Burrows in overtime to keep the game tied through 65 minutes. But when all was over, the Canucks suffered their second straight defeat, falling 4-3 to the Blues.

T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald scored for the visitors in the shootout, while Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows missed on their chances in the home loss.

"It was like a chess game out there," Henrik Sedin said. "Not a whole lot of inches to make plays. These are the type of games you got to be able to win and we showed a lot of battle effort in the third."

The Canucks captain, who became the top scorer in franchise history with two assists just two nights earlier, put up another pair of points Sunday. But again, it wasn't enough to lead his team to a victory as the Canucks fell to 8-3-3. Despite blowing two one-goal leads, the team had a dominant third period, pestering the rookie Allen with 14 shots, and adding five more on net in overtime. But they failed to close out the game before it needed a shootout.


Roberto Luongo made 20 saves at the other end to drop to 4-0-3 and allowed three goals in a game for the first time this season.

"It was up and down, you have to give them credit," Luongo said. "At least we got a point out of it."

In just his second game of the season — after returning to the lineup on Friday — Ryan Kesler picked up his first goal of the campaign to put the Canucks up first. With his team on the power play, the centre one-timed a sweet backhand feed from Daniel Sedin, who had just taken a pass from Henrik, to give Vancouver the early lead.

However, a Zack Kassian turnover about nine minutes later allowed St. Louis to tie the game up. After the Blues picked up the puck at the Canucks blueline, T.J. Oshie eventually put home a huge rebound for his fifth of the year.

But with 50 second remaining in the first, Vancouver regained the lead. Alex Burrows found Henrik in the crease and the centre's re-direction of the puck slowly slid into the net for his first of the year.

The Blues got the lone tally in the middle frame as Andy McDonald potted his third goal, finishing off a rebound after linemate Vladimir Tarasenko hit the post. Vancouver was outshot 12-4 in the second period.

After a spirited tilt between Aaron Volpatti and Ryan Reaves early in the third, the Canucks woke up. But despite several strong shifts and a few good scoring chances later, Vancouver couldn't beat Allen. And it cost them as Vladimir Sobotka banked the puck off the back of Patrik Berglund and past Luongo to give St. Louis their first lead of the game.

"Once Berglund got in front, it went off him and over my shoulder," Luongo said. "It was a bad angle but if anything, I needed to be better on the first two goals than the last one."

Not long after a failed 5-on-3 for 41 seconds late in the final frame, the Canucks finally converted on the power play as Raymond scored with 1:47 left in regulation to send the game into overtime. It was the winger's fifth marker of the season to put him into a tie as the team's leading goal-scorer this season.

"We obviously wanted a different outcome tonight, but that second period wasn't good enough," said Kesler, who finished a minus-2. "We battled back … we responded well in the third and we dominated most of the third period."

Vancouver finished 2-for-4 on the power play while St. Louis went 0-for-2.

The Canucks enter a four-game road trip starting Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

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