What a comeback!
Seemingly dead and buried after staking the Blues a three-goal lead, the Vancouver Canucks scored four unanswered goals to record an amazing 4-3 overtime victory in St. Louis on Thursday night.
Blues winger Brad Boyes picked up a high-sticking double-minor penalty in the extra frame, and Canucks defenceman Christian Ehrhoff made him pay by scoring at 2:24 of overtime to complete the Vancouver comeback.
Mikael Samuelsson and the Sedin twins also scored for Vancouver, which has earned a point in five straight games.
"Anybody knows how tough it is to come back in this league," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "I know that St. Louis right now is going through a challenging period, but they're still an excellent hockey team.
"To be where we were and come back from a three-goal deficit and win in OT for our confidence and believing in ourselves is real good."
The Blues have clearly been motivated against a Canucks team that swept them in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, pushing around Vancouver in all three games between the clubs this season. In addition to a 3-1 win in Vancouver on Dec. 20, David Perron scored a hat trick as St. Louis had a rare easy home win, thumping the Canucks 6-1 on Nov. 10.
The Canucks and Blues will face off one last time on Jan. 27 in Vancouver.
Canucks winger Rick Rypien received a match penalty in the first period after a fight with Cam Janssen. Rypien received the automatic ejection for having tape on his hands below the wrist that cuts or injures an opponent during an altercation. Janssen was bleeding from the nose.
"In my mind, we got put in a very tough position in the first period when we were assessed that five-minute major penalty," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "In my opinion, it was not the right call. The call clearly states that there has to be a cut. There was no cut. It was a broken nose.
"The tape is on (Rypien's) right hand and he threw punches with his left, got him good a couples times and broke his nose. That's not a cut. So I thought the interpretation of that call was wrong."
- Associated Press
The first period was a physical and chippy affair, with several Blues players taking runs at Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, and St. Louis's Cam Janssen and Vancouver's Rick Rypien exchanging fisticuffs midway through the frame.
With Rypien serving a match penalty, Blues forward Alex Steen scored on the power play at 16:55 when he blasted a slap shot off the post and past Luongo.
Keith Tkachuk padded the Blues lead early in the second, scoring from the side of the net to bag his ninth goal of the season.
After Andy McDonald made it 3-0 for the Blues, the Canucks finally got on the scoreboard with 3:51 left in the period when Daniel Sedin's pass from behind the net deflected off the skate of Blues defenceman Roman Polak and in.
Samuelsson scored a short-handed goal on a wrist shot early in the third period to cut the Vancouver deficit to a single goal, and Daniel Sedin set up brother Henrik, who scored his 19th goal of the season with 1:56 left in regulation to tie the game.
Boyes was called for a high-sticking offence a mere 19 seconds into the extra frame and after working the puck inside the Blues' zone, the Canucks scored when Ehrhoff blasted a slapshot by St. Louis goalie Chris Mason.
"It was a great pass by (Kyle Wellwood) through the seam," Ehrhoff said. "(Ryan Kesler) was making a great screen there (in front) and the goalie couldn't see it. I just had to put it in the corner."
Vancouver was without defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who was cut in the left leg near the ankle by a skate during a 3-2 shootout loss to Phoenix on Tuesday. He missed 47 games two seasons ago in a similar incident, getting cut in his calf.
The Canucks haven't yet said how long Kevin Bieksa will be out. Aaron Rome took his place in Vancouver's lineup on Thursday.
The Canucks conclude their four-game road trip with a Saturday matinee in Dallas before returning home and opening a four-game homestand against Columbus.