Canucks fall 4-1 to Habs as blooper own-goal leads to second straight loss
Huge contingent of Canadiens’ fans at Rogers Arena had much to celebrate
A huge mixup caused this strange goal against Roberto Luongo during second period action with the Vancouver Canucks taking on the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at Rogers Arena. The Montreal player who scored the goal Lars Eller was sitting on the bench when this slow motion puck slid between Luongo’s legs.
Photograph by: Kim Stallknecht, PNG
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks’ power play served up a blooper-plate special Saturday that cost them a goal and a hockey game.
With the Canucks and Montreal Canadiens locked in a second-period 1-1 tie and Vancouver coming on, Roberto Luongo, Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison combined to score on themselves in a comedy of errors that restored the Habs’ one-goal margin late in the second period.
It was a goal that will make the misplay of the day, week, month and, likely, the season. Lars Eller was awarded the goal as he was the one who had iced the puck on Montreal’s penalty kill. It was also the decisive goal in a 4-1 Montreal victory.
Canuck captain Henrik Sedin had pulled his team even just three minutes earlier, finally getting one past Habs netminder Carey Price, who had stopped the first 24 Vancouver shots, some of them in spectacular fashion.
The huge contingent of Canadiens’ fans at Rogers Arena couldn’t believe their team’s good fortune and they had even more reason to celebrate in the third as Tomas Plekanec buried the Canucks with a power-play goal, Montreal’s second of the night. The Plekanec tally, at 6:46 of the third, came with the luckless Hamhuis sitting in the box for an iffy interference call on Eller. It also came five minutes after Luongo has stopped Max Pacioretty on a penalty shot after he was hooked to the ice by Kevin Bieksa.
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The Canucks had not surrendered a power play goal all season, killing 18 straight, until Saturday night’s dismal performance.
Montreal added another third-period goal by Josh Gorges to rub further salt in the Canuck wounds.
The Habs struck first Saturday when Pacioretty, on the power play, sifted one through Luongo at 5:43 of the first period while Chris Tanev sat in the box for hooking on Pacioretty.
In a sidebar to the main event, the Habs’ Price out-played Luongo in a battle to see who might emerge as Team Canada’s No. 1 goalie at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Price stopped 39 of 40 Canuck shots while Luongo finished with 34 saves.
The Canucks played without top defenceman Alex Edler, who was serving the first game in his three-game ban for a check to the head of San Jose rookie Tomas Hertl. Hamhuis took his spot on the first-unit power play.
Zack Kassian returned to the Canuck lineup after serving his eight-game suspension but was not a factor in the game.
The Canucks, losers of two straight at home and now 3-3-0 on the season, hit the road for a daunting seven-game road trip that will see them play seven games in 11 nights. It starts Tuesday in Philadelphia. The team flies out Sunday and has a practice scheduled for Monday in the city of Brotherly Love.
ICE CHIP: Habs’ captain Brian Gionta missed Saturday’s game due to a family illness that required him to return to Montreal ... The Canucks new American League farm team, the Utica Comets, fell to 0-2-0 Saturday when they were edged 3-2 by the Albany Devils. Alex Grenier and Benn Ferriero scored for Utica. Joachim Eriksson took the loss as the Comets were out-shot 29-25.
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