February 27, 2013
Canucks fall to short-handed Coyotes 4-2
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

Phoenix Coyotes' Antoine Vermette (L) pushes between Vancouver Canucks' Keith Ballard (R) and goalie Cory Schneider during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia February 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

VANCOUVER - On paper, Tuesday's game was probably one the Vancouver Canucks should have won handily.

After all, they were hosting an injured-depleted Phoenix Coyotes side on the tail-end of a three-game trip in western Canada.

But despite missing three key players — team leading goal-scorer Martin Hanzal, top point-getter Radim Vrbata and regular defenceman Derek Morris — for yet another game, the Desert Dogs relied on a tight defensive effort to pull off the 4-2 win at Rogers Arena. With that, the Canucks, who returned home after closing out a four-game trip, suffer their second straight loss and third consecutive defeat at home.

"We worked hard enough to win tonight I thought, it wasn't a Picasso but we had the effort," said goalie Cory Schneider, who made 18 saves. "I'm just getting sick of giving up three goals a night and playing like an OK goalie and not the goalie I know I can be and that my teammates expect me to be."

The Vancouver netminder, who was making his 10th start, has now allowed 13 goals in his last four appearances. Speaking with a bit more emotion afterwards, Schneider stressed that he needs to come up with more big saves in tight matches to at least give his team a chance to force overtime.

"There's been a lot of almosts lately and I'm just tired of it," he said. "I got to be better and I got to find a way to get back down to one-two goals a game like we used to. Right now it's just not happening and I got to figure out why."


Tuesday, Phoenix got on the board first when Kyle Chipchura was allowed to walk out from behind the Canucks net before scoring on a backhander as the Vancouver defence watched.

The visitors jumped out to a two-goal lead in the second when the puck bounced off the leg of Maxim Lapierre and onto the stick of Mikkel Boedker. The 23-year-old Dane capitalized, wiring the shot top shelf for his fourth goal of the season.

Less than two minutes later, the Canucks finally beat Phoenix goalie Mike Smith.

Jason Garrison's point shot through traffic found its way to the back of the net for the defenceman's third goal of the season, cutting the Coyotes' lead to 2-1.

"The puck came out to the point there and I just waited a bit," Garrison said. "I obviously got some really good screens there and was able to find the back of the net."

The two sides exchanged markers in the third period, starting with Antoine Vermette's fifth of the season that trickled past Schneider Then Henrik Sedin tipped a Daniel Sedin shot just 1:04 later to pull Vancouver within one again. But an empty netter by Chipchura, his second of the night, sealed the deal.

"We knew what to expect and they played exactly the way we knew they would," Henrik said. "We knew once they scored the first goal, it's going to be this type of game. It's tough to come by chances and when we did, their goalie played great."

Smith stopped 29 of 31 shots for his seventh win of the year.

The Canucks, who were without injured defenceman Kevin Bieksa, will get a much-needed break before hosting the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday — the reigning Stanley Cup champs first visit to Rogers Arena since eliminating Vancouver from the playoffs last year.

Note: Captain Henrik Sedin was playing his 600th consecutive game as he remains the second-longest active ironman in the league, behind Calgary Flames' Jay Bouwmeester.

 

CANOE.CA SLAM!