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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Game Recap: Canucks 3 - Penguins 1

The PhD line struck again for the Vancouver Canucks as they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Mellon Arena yesterday afternoon. Pavol Demitra had two goals, Daniel Sedin had a goal and two assists and Hendrik Sedin had three assists. Mike Zigomanis scored Pittsburgh's only goal. Vancouver's captain Roberto Luongo left the game early in the first period with what appeared to be a "lower body injury."

It was a strange game. Perhaps it was the 2pm start time, or perhaps it was the fact that these two teams hardly play each other, but the game almost immediately turned into a brawl. Following a hit by Matt Cooke the gloves dropped and by the time the dust had settled by Cooke and Vancouver's Jannik Hansen were ejected from the game and 31 minutes in penalties were handed out.

Four minutes later Luongo was down and Curtis Sanford was in net for the Canucks. A few minutes after that Sanford was down and the announcers wondered who would play goal for the Canucks now, but the goaltender ended up continuing the game.

It seemed like the loss of Matt Cooke really hurt the Penguins as they were not able to mount many serious attacks on Sanford. Cooke is a member of a very productive line with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy - the only line that usually manages to stay intact when Michel Therrien starts rotating players - and his presence on that line was definitely missed.

The end of the game was as weird as the beginning. Talbot was shoved into the board from behind and there was no penalty on the play. Talbot and Mattias Ohlund were both given roughing penalties for the action that ensued after Demitra scored on the empty net. As the game ended Zigomanis and Shane O'Brien were both given major penalties and game misconducts. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time these teams hook up... but that won't be this season unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Finals.

It will be interesting to see how the red hot Canucks respond to Luongo possibly being injured for a long period of time. Currently there is no prognosis on his injury. Vancouver has been 7-0-2 in their last nine, but Luongo is a huge part of the team and I'm not sure if the Canucks can win regularly without him.

The Penguins' next game is Wednesday on Long Island.

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