ALSO ON SLAM!
Thursday, April 6, 2000
CANUCKS 1, Kings 1
Canucks remain alive in playoff hunt
VANCOUVER (CP) -- The Vancouver Canucks threw everything at the Los Angeles Kings but still couldn't come away with two desperately-need points. Vancouver, battling for their playoff lives in the final few games of the season, could get only one puck past a hot Stephane Fiset, who stopped 36 shots in a 1-1 tie on Wednesday.
"We played probably our best game in a while for the entire game," said Canucks captain Mark Messier, who scored Vancouver's only goal. "We held them well defensively and got all kinds of offensive chances but Fiset played a big game for them. That was probably the difference."
The Canucks, who outshot Los Angeles 37-20, spent almost the entire overtime in the Kings zone, but Fiset stopped all three shots that got through the defence.
With less than 10 seconds left in overtime and a faceoff in the Los Angeles end, Vancouver risked its regulation-tie point by pulling the goaltender but failed to get a shot on goal.
"We played with a lot of desperation and played with a lot of heart," said Canucks head coach Marc Crawford. "It was arguably our best game in the last four games so that bodes well for us. We look like we're on an upswing. We're playing with the type of passion and commitment that you'd expect this time of year."
The Canucks, who outshot the Kings 37-20, are three points behind the Edmonton Oilers, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Jarsoslav Modry scored a power-play goal Los Angeles, which has just three wins in its last 11 games.
The single point gives fifth-place Los Angeles 90 points, one ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Fiset said that, despite clinching a playoff spot last week, the final two games are important for his team, which has won only three times in its past 11 games.
"We've got two games left and it's going to be two big games no matter what," said Fiset, who has allowed only one goal in each of his last four starts. "If we lose those two games and we don't play good when we're going to go into the playoffs . . . it's not a switch you can turn on anytime. You have to play well before the playoffs start."
The Kings were playing without Ziggy Palffy (shoulder sprain), Rob Blake (bruised knee), Nelson Emerson (broken finger) and Bryan Smolinksi (torn MCL, right knee).
Messier gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead 52 seconds into the second period when he was left unchecked beside the net and banged in a pass from Markus Naslund.
The Kings tied the game on a power play when Modry sent a slapshot from the point through a screen and past Felix Potvin.
The Canucks killed off a two-man L.A. advantage late in the second period.
"It was one of those nights where we played a tremendous games but ran into a hot goaltender," said Canucks goalie Felix Potvin, who stopped 19 shots. "Fiset played an outstanding game on the other end. But we still have a chance to catch one team and that's what we're striving for."
Notes: The Kings, who clinched a playoff berth last week, are one of the most improved teams in the league this season. Going into the night, L.A. stood with 89 points after 79 games, 24 more points than the same time last season . . . Josh Holden, who had three assists in a crucial 3-2 win over Chicago on Sunday, was a healthy scratch for the Canucks . . . Vancouver plays its final home game of the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.