Hamhuis own goal sinks Canucks’ ship
Amazingly ugly play turns out to be the winner as Montreal wins 4-1 in Vancouver
Dan Hamhuis needed to play brilliantly the first few months of this season to have any chance at playing for Team Canada in Sochi.
He’s falling a little short. So are the Canucks, who followed a 4-1 whipping at the hands of the Sharks with a collapse on Hockey Night in Canada against Montreal.
The Canucks may have driven play and dominated puck possession for two periods, but when it was over, it was another 4-1 pasting for the visitors.
It all seemed to go back to Hamhuis.
He’s had some bad luck, sure. He’s had fewer minutes, definitely. But he’s also had whatever happened on a second-period power-play Saturday, which was a play you’d expect to see only if hockey was played in a dense fog.
Hamhuis worked with Jason Garrison and Roberto Luongo to produce one of the most fascinatingly ugly own goals in franchise history.
Tied at one in a great game with the Montreal Canadiens, one the Canucks were dominating, Luongo hesitated with his breakout behind the net.
As a Canadien whizzed toward him, Luongo got the puck to Garrison in the corner, who dished it into the Hamhuis fog. Before it came out, the puck slipped off of Hamhuis’s stick and onto one Luongo skate, which passed it to the other, before the puck dipped into the net.
You could almost feel the pit in the stomach of every Canucks fan in Rogers Arena.
It was the type of goal you don’t recover from. And the Canucks did not. Hamhuis made sure of that when Lars Eller ran into him in the third, and Hamhuis was assessed an interference penalty.
Hamhuis cannot seem to catch a break this season, though he’s sure to get a long one during the Olympics. If he felt any pressure with the possibility of playing for Team Canada, he can let that go.
Tomas Plekanec scored on the ensuing power play, to put the Habs up 3-1.
Eller got credit for the shorthanded fog goal with 3:48 left in the second. What followed was a Vancouver collapse.
Kevin Bieksa tapped Max Pacioretty while he was on a breakaway, which knocked the forward to the ice, and got him a questionable penalty shot
Luongo, who was matching Carey Price save-for-save, made the stop, but the Canucks laboured through the first 11 minutes of the third period without a shot on net.
With 7:35 left in the game, a Josh Gorges floater inside the blueline soared over Luongo’s right shoulder. It was not a great goal. It was an October goal.
It’s another year, and another uneven start for Luongo. Saturday’s game was a wonderful microcosm for his start. He looks fantastic on the Pacioretty penalty shot. He’s brilliant on a Brendan Gallagher one-timer in close midway through the second. Then, an air ball swishes into his net to give the Habs a 4-1 lead.
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Vancouver Canucks’ Dan Hamhuis, right, and goalie Roberto Luongo watch as the puck bounces off Luongo’s skate and into their own net for a Montreal Canadiens goal during the second period Saturday’s game at Rogers Arena.
Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS