Huge celebration for Tanev goal
Teammates chant defenceman's name after he scores first of NHL career
Canucks at Minnesota Wild
Thursday, 5 p.m., Xcel Energy Center Sportsnet Pacific, TEAM 1040 AM
Chris Tanev speaks softly and his shot has often been described in the same manner.
So when the Vancouver Canucks defenceman finally scored his first career NHL goal Monday to provide a 3-2 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers, the locker-room celebration was something seldom seen following a regular-season game. As Tanev held court amid a sea of microphones, his teammates gathered in a corner and while watching the winning-goal replay, kept screaming "Tan-ev, Tanev."
The hoopla was understandable. It was the likable Tanev's first goal in 63 career games and it came after Kevin Bieksa forced the extra session with his first goal of the season with 2: 17 remaining in regulation time.
After Taylor Hall was stopped on a penalty shot by Roberto Luongo after the winger was hooked by Daniel Sedin on a breakaway, it was an unlikely end to a game by Tanev with 20 seconds left as the Canucks stretched their win streak to three games and improved to 5-2-2.
"I don't think we've ever seen a team this happy after Game 9 of a season winning a game in overtime, but it was a big win for us," said Bieksa. "Chris is such a great kid and teammate. Everybody just admires the poise he has and how mature he is for a such a young guy. He doesn't have the heaviest of shots and to see him blow it by the goalie was great to see. It was a lot of fun."
That's a lot more than you'll get out of Tanev. He has worked on his shot - more to get it away quickly - and kind of shrugged his shoulders at the spectre of it all after being set up by some Sedins artistry. He was as surprised by the celebration as the goal.
"It's awesome, it took a while but I'm glad we won," he said. "The reaction was awesome and the guys are pumped up. I've got to thank them for everything. Hank and Danny did a little give-and-go and all their guys were watching them and I just came in off the blueline and shot it. I think their guy screened the goalie and it went in. I'm happy.
"My shot is definitely something I've been working on and I just tried to get that one off pretty quick."
The Canucks were in some quick trouble after managing but six shots in the first period before finishing with a season high 40. On a night when the form chart looked like something from the horse racing track across the street, a plodding start was followed by a frantic pace.
The speedy Jordan Schroeder was bumped to the Canucks' second line and the plodding Ryan Whitney was bumped to the press box by the Oilers for the first time in his career.
And amid the ongoing spectre of the goaltending drama, the bigger story played out in front of Luon-go. In making a fourth-consecutive start, his performance proved what has become a familiar story for the Canucks. Unless they play air-tight defence and get a number of spectacular saves, extending any win streak is going to be a challenge. But the Canucks did hold the Oilers to two second-period shots.
"Those are tough stretches in a game," said Luongo. "I was trying to stay sharp and couple popped out of my glove and I settled down. It kind of played out like their win in Vancouver and we stuck with it."
Coach Alain Vigneault stuck Schroeder between Mason Raymond and Alex Burrows and moved Maxim Lapierre between Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen. The results were mixed because the Canucks went 0-for-4 on the power play and are in a 1-for-23 funk. They did win 70 per cent of the draws, including Burrows going 7-0, but it was what they weren't doing with the puck that could have been costly.
It wasn't until Hansen lined up with Schroeder and Higgins in the second period that the Canucks erased a two-goal Oilers lead provided by an Ales Hemsky power-play effort and a Ryan Smyth short-handed goal that bounced off the skate of Alex Edler and trickled past a prone Luongo.
On his first goal of the season, Hansen outworked Lennart Petrell behind the net, and as goalie Devan Dubnyk went to play the puck, Hansen spun out of the corner and found the short side at 12: 41.
After a first period when Luongo had to make tough saves off Eberle, Taylor Hall and Petrell, it was an unlikely opening goal. Known more for his flash and finish, Nail Yakupov hit Hemsky with a long lead pass between Jason Garrison and Burrows on what looked like a clearing attempt. Hemsky corralled the puck and went to the backhand deke on Luongo at 18: 38. It came after the Oilers couldn't muster a shot on their first power play and were headed for the same result with the second advantage before the long Yakupov bomb.
Then came the short-handed goal. Luongo left his net to play the puck but Bieksa couldn't clear the zone. Anton Lander's pass found Smyth and his shot went off Edler and to the right of Luongo, who made a hard move from the left post.
"Both goals were kind of fluky," said Bieksa. "The first, he (Yakupov) dumps the puck and fans on it and it just goes perfectly to Hemsky. On the second one, it bounces off the boards and through my skates and off Edler and trickles. You can't fault us too much on those."
Or the sprint to the finish.
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