NHL Game Summary - Vancouver at Anaheim
(Friday, April 2nd)
Final Score: Vancouver 5, Anaheim 4 (SO)
Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Pavol Demitra scored the game-winner in the shootout as the Vancouver Canucks clinched a playoff spot with a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
After each skater scored in the first round, Teemu Selanne beat Andrew Raycroft with a low forehand, but the goaltender recovered quickly and used a low glove to keep the puck out.
Demitra then gave the Canucks a lead as he went to the backhand and roofed it past Curtis McElhinney. Raycroft then preserved the win by using the pads to keep Bobby Ryan's shot out of the net.
Vancouver became the fourth team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot and with 98 points, the Canucks sit in the third spot in the conference. Colorado and Calgary both sit behind Vancouver in the Northwest Division with 89 points, but Colorado is the only team that has a hope of catching the Canucks. The Avs have five games to play while the Flames have four.
Michael Grabner netted the first hat trick of his career while Jannik Hansen also scored for the Canucks, who have won two of their past three games. Raycroft finished with 30 saves.
"I liked how we played five-on-five," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "Shorthanded, we gave up three goals. One of them was a five-on- three and the other one was a six-on-four. But our guys competed really hard. It was fun to see Grabner come out and have the type of game that he had tonight. We'll take the two points. We have a check mark by our name. That was our first objective and now we're trying to close in on first in our division."
Selanne and Saku Koivu each had two goals and an assist for the Ducks, who had won three straight coming in. McElhinney made 36 saves in the loss.
"It's a tough way to lose like that in a shootout," said Selanne. "But what are you going to do? We played a pretty good game. A couple mistakes cost us a couple of goals. Overall, we had a chance to win. That is why it is a little hard to swallow this. That is how it goes."
Selanne's first goal was No. 602 of his career. It moved him into sole possession of 17th on the all-time list and for the most scored by a Finnish skater, both of which were held by Jari Kurri.
"I'd rather not pass him and get these points to give us a chance," said Selanne about his feat. "What happened earlier in the season put us behind the eight ball. That is why we are where we are. We'll just keep battling as long as we have a chance and see what happens. It's tough to lose the one point tonight."
Trailing by a goal to start the third period, the Canucks tied the game just 1:22 in on Grabner's second goal of the game.
Just 2 1/2 minutes later, Grabner redirected a Christian Ehrhoff shot into the net for the hat trick and a 3-2 lead.
However, Sami Salo took a holding call several minutes later and the Ducks tied the game when Koivu sent a pass from the right circle to the front of the net, where Selanne redirected it in at the 9:20 mark.
Vancouver, though, grabbed the lead back with 6:27 to play. Ehrhoff blasted a huge shot from the left point that McElhinney stopped, but the rebound was kicked out to the right circle and Hansen deposited it into the wide open net.
Another penalty to Vancouver allowed the Ducks to tie the game again with 1:24 to play. The puck had bounced off two players and wound up at the right circle, where Koivu slammed it home.
Vancouver spent the last 1:57 of overtime on a 4-on-3 advantage, but got some help from the posts as the Canucks rang two off the pipes and the game went to the shootout.
After a scoreless first period, the Ducks took a 1-0 lead 3:01 into the second when Koivu took a feed at the left side, slid out front and lifted a backhander over Raycroft's glove.
Grabner got his first goal of the game halfway through the middle frame, but Selanne's wrister beat Raycroft for a 5-on-3 goal and a 2-1 lead with 5:29 to play in the second.
Vancouver hosts Minnesota on Sunday...Anaheim begins a home-and-home set with the Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday...Each team won twice in the season series...Selanne is now five goals back of Dino Ciccarelli for 16th place...Anaheim went 3-for-8 on the power play while Vancouver was 0- for-4...Ryan Kesler had three assists for Vancouver.
04/03 01:36:05 ET