Prior to the start of this game both teams new that earning 2 points was imperative. For the Phoenix Coyotes winning this game meant more than gaining points, a win for the Coyotes would have set a franchise record for the most wins at home. Vancouver made sure that achieving this record would be very hard as this game was finally won by Phoenix in the shootout.
The first period was quite uneventful; Vancouver looked very sluggish and failed to create many scoring chances in the Coyotes zone, although neither team was able to score. Phoenix dominated this period and played with more intensity than Vancouver.
The middle frame started very much like the first, until Jovanovski decided to turn up the momentum an opened up the scoring for the Coyotes, Doan and Upshall got the assist’s. Approximately 49 seconds later Samuelsson tied the game for Vancouver with help from fellow Swede Henrik Sedin. Phoenix regained the lead late in the second when Prucha fired a shot past Luongo into the open net.
Phoenix were physical throughout the third playing a very good defensive game that kept the Canucks from tying things up. Luongo helped to keep his team in the game especially when he made a great save on a shot from the Coyotes leading scorer Shane Doan. With just over 6 minuets left in regulation Kyle Wellwood silenced the now raucous Coyotes fans when he rifled the puck into the net, forcing the game into overtime.
During overtime Phoenix threw everything they had at Luongo but he made things very difficult for the Coyotes. LaBarbera also made some great saves that ensured that this game could only be won with a shootout. This would be the second consecutive shootout for Phoenix who lost to San Jose the night before. The shootout went to the third round when Vrbata, Wellwood and Raymond all failed to score for their respective teams. Korpikoski sealed the win for Phoenix and helped to extend his teams home win streak by scoring the only goal of the shootout. This helped to set the franchise record of ten wins at home.
Vancouver’s next game will be on New Years Eve, when they face The St Louis Blues. The Blues are currently sat in 12th place in the Western Conference and have lost their last three games. After the defeat to Phoenix Vancouver are still placed in the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Unfortunately Vancouver maybe without defenseman Kevin Beiksa for the next game as he suffered a bad skate cut to his left leg during the second period. Bieksa will not be with the team for the next game, he will travel back to Vancouver. The injury could possibly mean he is out of the line up for a few weeks.
On a final note as expected Team Canada have announced today that Canucks goalkeeper Roberto Luongo will play for his country in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
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