By Dave Vest
VANCOUVER – Just when it seemed as if the Coyotes were poised to make a game of it, Phoenix gave up a momentum-shifting goal near the end of the second period en route to a 4-0 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at General Motors Place.
Playing on a line with the Sedin twins, Canucks forward Alex Burrows notched a hat trick for the second consecutive game, and Roberto Luongo stopped all 31 shots he faced to earn his 50th NHL shutout.
After being outshot 10-3 to start the game, the Coyotes dictated play in the latter stages of the first period and for most of the second period. However, they couldn’t score a goal during that time and it ultimately cost them the game. Mikael Samuelsson’s goal with four seconds left in the second period (see KEY MOMENT below) deflated the Coyotes and they couldn’t recover.
"We did play a decent second period... and to give away that goal with four seconds left is frustrating," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
Burrows’ second goal of the game at 1:01 of the third period made the score 3-0, and Vancouver then cruised to its fourth consecutive victory.
Burrows gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 11:35 of the first period when he lifted the puck over Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from a tricky angle seconds after Bryzgalov had stopped a slap shot from the left point by Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.
Bryzgalov kept the score 1-0 by making a terrific save on a penalty shot by Mason Raymond late in the second period. Raymond was awarded the breakaway after Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler dived and tripped him as he drove at Bryzgalov alone with 2:05 left.
Raymond began his penalty shot by skating wide to the left and then tried a forehand-backhand-forehand move. Bryzgalov didn’t bite and was able to block Raymond’s shot with his right pad.
The Canucks lost two defensemen during the game to bloody facial cuts. Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt delivered a hard shoulder check to Vancouver’s Aaron Rome that knocked Rome to the ice. Rome suffered a laceration near his left eye when he hit the ice at 18:35 of the first period. He was dazed by the blow and did not return. In the second period, Salo was hit in the face by the stick of teammate Willie Mitchell and had to leave the ice for treatment. He returned in the third period.
Burrows scored his third goal from in front after a slick pass from Henrik Sedin at 4:56 of the third period. Hats immediately soared from the seats onto the ice in recognition of Burrows' feat. One fan even launched a belt onto the playing surface.
Henrik Sedin assisted on all three of Burrows' goals and Daniel Sedin assisted on two of them.
"When you give a line like the Sedin line chances like that they're going to capitalize," Tippett said. "That's just sloppy play on our part and it's inexcusable."
The Canucks managed only five shots on goal in the second period, but their fourth played a huge role in deciding the outcome of the game.
With less than 10 seconds left before the second intermission, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler gained control of the puck behind the Phoenix net and slid it to Mikael Samuelsson who was cruising the slot down the right side. Samuelsson flipped Kesler’s pass past Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with four ticks left in the period.
• Forward Daniel Winnik returned to the lineup after missing the past five games because of an upper-body injury. Winnik played 14:51, took two shots on goal and was a minus-3.
• With the Canucks leading 4-0, the game turned nasty in the final 20 minutes. Enforcers Paul Bissonnette and Darcy Hordichuk started things off by swapping punches early in the period. Midway through the period, Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler and Vancouver’s Tanner Glass traded jabs. Fiddler appeared to suffer an upper-body injury during the bout. Radim Vrbata and Mason Raymond traded shoves after the ensuing shift.