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Phoenix Coyotes @ Vancouver Canucks recap: vanquished in Vancouver despite valiant Vermette effort

Antoine Vermette's third career hat trick wasn't enough to secure a win as the Coyotes drop one in overtime to the Canucks on Sunday night.

Ben Nelms

After the Phoenix Coyotes most recent tilt with the Vancouver Canucks featured Martin Hanzal coming in like a wrecking ball and hitting everything in sight, everyone was expecting fireworks on the ice for round two.

There ended up being fireworks, all right -- of the goal-scoring variety.

Vancouver opened the scoring with a pair of goals only 44 seconds apart with Kevin Bieksa and Jannik Hansen putting the Canucks up 2-0 just past halfway in the first period. The Coyotes would respond just 18 seconds later as Antoine Vermette fanned on a slapshot that still managed to dribble past Roberto Luongo making it 2-1, which is how the teams would begin the second period.

Early in the second the Coyotes appeared to tie the game after a redirect by Kyle Chipchura snuck past Luongo, however the original on-ice ruling of a goal was quickly waved off as it appeared Chipchura kicked the puck into the net. After the video review clearly indicated everyone’s favorite phrase -- the distinct kicking motion -- the goal was overturned and the score would remain 2-1 until the halfway point.

After a tripping call on Chipchura put the Yotes down a man at the eight minute mark, the Canucks turned the puck over on the Coyotes blue line resulting in Vermette bouncing a shot off of Ryan Kesler and past Luongo to tie the game at two. The goal was Vermette’s second of the game and third shorthanded goal in the last four games.

The score would stay tied till late in the period as Vancouver once again struck twice in less than a minute to blow the scoring wide open with Chris Higgins sending a bouncing puck past Mike Smith to make it 3-2, followed by Zac Dalpe putting a backhander in the back of the net a mere 42 seconds later to put the Canucks up 4-2 with just over two minutes to play in the second.

The Coyotes would respond in a big way with under a minute to go in the period, however. With Kellan Lain in the box for holding, Vermette posted his third career hat trick after wristing a slick feed from Shane Doan past Luongo to bring the Desert Dogs within one goal, heading into the second intermission down 4-3.

After the second period goal explosion, the third would see just a single tally, but an important one. Just past the 5 minute mark Doan would take a quick feed from Mike Ribeiro on a partial breakaway to notch his 15th goal of the season, tying the game at 4-4. The period would play out without any additional scoring, though both teams would continue to have chances.

The Coyotes would start the extra stanza on the penalty kill after Derek Morris was whistled for cross checking with 11 seconds remaining in the third, though the Canucks were unable to capitalize on the 4-on-3. Unfortunately the comeback and Vermette’s offensive outburst would go for naught. After being stopped on his first attempt, Bieksa would score his second of the game and the game winner by elevating the puck past Smith as he fell to the ice at 2:15 into overtime.

Our Three Stars of the Game

3rd Star - Zbynek Michalek - Z had 11 -- yes, that’s eleven blocked shots. The man has to be a walking skating bruise at this point.

2nd Star - Kevin Bieksa - The always dangerous Vancouver d-man notched the first and last goals of the game, winning it for the ‘Nucks in OT.

1st Star - Antoine Vermette - Do I need to explain this one? Third career hat trick (his second in just over a month) and a 70% win rate in the face off circle for the game. Just give him the team MVP award now.

Paw Prints

  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson led both teams (and possibly all of North America) in ice time with 34:57.
  • The expected Hanzal brouhaha never developed, bar a pair of coincidental minor roughing penalties when Marty and Dan Hamhuis got into a shoving match in the third.
  • That doesn’t mean the Coyotes weren’t prepared for it, based on the dust-up between Vancouver and Calgary last week. Coach Dave Tippett sent Paul Bissonnette out with Hanzal and Radim Vrbata on the first shift of the game.
  • Fans of Team Canada might be slightly concerned about their goaltending situation after two of their star goalies finished the night under .900 in the save percentage department.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes return to Arena on Tuesday night, January 28 to take on the Los Angeles Kings. The puck drops at 7 PM Arizona time and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and KTAR FM.