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t save percentage in the last
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VANCOUVER - A better effort produced the same the result for the Vancouver Canucks. Martin St. Louis scored his first goal with the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves Tuesday as New York defeated Vancouver 3-1. It was another frustrating night for the Canucks, who are all but assured of missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. Coming off a demoralizing 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, the Vancouver players showed the fight they have been preaching in the locker-room, but were unable to translate that effort into a result on the scoreboard. "I thought we should have won this game but it doesnt matter right now," said Canucks forward Daniel Sedin. "We are where we are because weve been on the wrong side of these kind of games throughout the season." Where the Canucks are is 10th in the Western Conference, six points back of the final wild-card berth with just five games left on their schedule. While the team has not been mathematically eliminated, the website sportsclubstats.com currently pegs Vancouvers chances of making the playoffs at zero. "Its always difficult. You battle all year to play in the playoffs and work to get a chance to play in the playoffs. Thats what its all about," said Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows. "When youre on the outside looking in youve got to keep playing and be a pro and work for each other." Daniel Carcillo and Benoit Pouliot had the other goals for New York (43-30-4), which has won seven of its last eight games and sits comfortably in an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Ryan Kesler replied for Vancouver (34-32-11), while Eddie Lack finished with 28 saves. "I think good teams find a way to win and right now were not finding that way," said Kesler. "Im not saying that were not a good team, were just not getting the job done." The game marked the regular-season return of Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault to Rogers Arena. Vigneault coached in Vancouver for seven seasons, winning six division titles and leading the Canucks to within a victory of the 2011 Stanley Cup. The Canucks fired Vigneault last summer after the clubs first-round playoff exit and replaced him with John Tortorella after the latter was axed by the Rangers. The flip flop of coaches has worked out much better for New York, with Vancouver limping towards an uncertain off-season. The Rangers led 2-1 after two periods and St. Louis, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning, put the game out of reach while killing a penalty at 10:15 of the third. Vancouver defenceman Yannick Weber dove trying to keep the puck in at New Yorks blue-line but failed to do so, allowing Rick Nash and St. Louis to race the other way on a 2-on-1. Nash fed a perfect pass to St. Louis, who ripped his 30th of the season and first in 15 games since joining the Rangers. "I love to score goals, everyone loves to score goals, and 15 games plus the two prior to coming here, thats as long a drought as I have had in a while," said St. Louis. "There is a lot of things playing against you a little bit with a new team and new environment, but you try to stay the course, play the right way and find that fine line of anticipating and not cheating. "I feel like I am getting more comfortable finding that line." Vigneault said the commitment to defence shown by star players like St. Louis and Nash allows him to put them on a penalty kill that has 10 short-handed goals this season, and three in the last two games. "Those guys are willing to do that it takes to kill penalties, which is get in lanes and block shots and have good sticks and its paid off," said Vigneault. The Canucks trailed 2-0 after the first period but showed fight in the second for the embattled Tortorella, with Kesler cutting the Rangers lead in half at 6:21. Sedin grabbed the puck off an offensive zone faceoff and found Kesler in the slot, who snapped his 24th of the season through a surprised Lundqvist. "I thought it was a good hockey game. I thought we played better through the game than the other night (against Anaheim)," said Tortorella. "I thought our team played hard. We dont score. They score three, we score one." The Rangers grabbed a 1-0 lead at 4:59 of the first when Carcillo banged home his fourth of the season on a play that had the Canucks fuming. Lack appeared to have the puck covered but Rangers forward Brian Boyle jarred it loose moments before the goal. "I felt like I had it under my glove and then I get a pitchfork and I lost it and they scored," said Lack. "(The ref) said that he was going to look at it after." New York stretched the lead to 2-0 at 14:43 on the power play. Lack made a great blocker save on Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello, but the puck bounced to Derick Brassard, who in turn fed a wide open Pouliot for his 13th. "No whining. We lost. Were losing," said Tortorella. "Weve just got to keep on trying to get better." NOTES: Burrows was assessed a five-minute penalty for elbowing on Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh late in the third period. McDonagh appeared to be in some discomfort as he left the ice, but Vigneault did not provide an update after the game. ... New York set a franchise record with its 25th road victory of the season. ... The Rangers and Canucks played during the pre-season at Rogers Arena in September. The Canucks honoured Vigneault on the videoboard during that game, but did not pay tribute to their former coach on Tuesday. Matthew Slater Jersey . Bale has had a successful debut season in Spain, and Ancelotti appears ready to reward him with a starting role on Saturday. Ancelotti says "Gareth had some problems at the beginning (of the season) but when he found good physical condition he scored a lot of goals, he had a good impact on the team. Derek Rivers Jersey .Y. - The New York Yankees made it official Saturday, announcing the completion of a seven-year deal with free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and a one-year contract for returning starter Hiroki Kuroda. http://www.cheappatriotsjerseyssale.com/...ersey-sale. Former two-time Olympic gold medallist Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine in both her "A" and "B" samples, the German Olympic Committee said. Eric Rowe Jersey . LaQuinton Ross scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half, hitting his first four 3-pointers, to send No. Jacob Hollister Jersey . Vinci also beat Dulgheru last week in Bucharest en route to her first WTA final in a year. Vinci next faces sixth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan, who beat Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-2. No.Just past the midway portion of the 2013-2014 NHL schedule, Scott Cullen has his picks for first half award winners. There are surprises among the Vezina candidates, but most of the others are standard top-tier performers, even if the two Hart Trophy runners-ups have never been quite as good as they have been through the first half of the season. While there is much room for movement over the second half of the year, the Calder Trophy race might be the most volatile because no one has run away from the pack and when there are so many candidates close together, it gets easy to see big changes. Anyway, here are my picks for awards through first first half of this season: HART TROPHY Winner: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Runners-up: Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim; Patrick Kane, Chicago Comment: After what counted as a slump for him knocked Crosby to runner-up status through the first quarter, hes pulled away from the pack, leading the scoring race by nine points over Kane and 15 points ahead of Getzlaf who fit second and third, respectively. Scoring isnt everything, but all three have been on a roll through the first half of the season. Getzlafs shooting percentage (17.9%) and on-ice shooting percentage (12.0%) are a tad higher than his norm, but hes also shooting more than he has in the past and the results are there -- his 20 goals already counts as his most since 2008-2009 and has him in easy range of surpassing his career-best of 25 goals. Kane has a strong supporting cast, of course, but hes on pace for a career-high in points and shots per game. Hes slumped in his last four games, but Kane has done enough to deserve consideration. If not Kane, Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin is worthy of consideration. His 31 goals is six more than anyone else, and while Ovechkin has an unsightly minus-17, his possession stats are solid and basically has bad puck luck when it comes to percentages. NORRIS TROPHY Winner: Duncan Keith, Chicago Runners-up: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa; P.K. Subban, Montreal Comment: Keith is having a season very similar to his 2009-2010 season, when he won the Norris Trophy, putting up dominant possession stats, but also contributing more offensively -- his 42 points in 45 games (0.93 per game) represents the best per-game scoring rate of his career. Karlsson continues to be a game-changer offensively, and his possession numbers are more favourable than his minus-12 rating would suggest, but the percentages have not been playing in his favour through the first half of the season. Subban had a fantastic start to the year, but his play dipped some in December. Not enough to knock him from contention, but enough that hes closer to other contenders, like Nashvilles Shea Weber and St. Louis Alex Pietrangelo, than he is to Keith at this point. VEZINA TROPHY Winner: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Runners-up: Josh Harding, Minnesota; Tuukka Rask, Boston Comment: The 32 games that Bishop has played this season already counts as a career-high, so who knows where this is going (especially considering his injury on the weekend), but he leads in even-strength save percentage (.945) and has been an anchor for a team that has been playing without their top offensive threat for more than a quarter of the season. Harding was the early front-runner, but has only played two games in the past three weeks as he took time to adjust MS medication. That hes usurped Niklas Backstrom in net for the Wild is a story in itself, but Hardings numbers still have him right there with Bishop through the first half of the year. Rask is the more predictable option, the one goaltender that would have been considered a contender in the preseason because Rask is always turning in excellent wwork -- his worst save percentage in the last five seasons was .dddddddddddd918 and this years .934 currently ranks as a career-high. There is plenty of time for other goaltenders to make their move. Montreals Carey Price, Torontos Jonathan Bernier and Colorados Semyon Varlamov are among those closest to the contenders. CALDER TROPHY Winner: Torey Krug, D, Boston Runners-up: Tomas Hertl, LW, San Jose; Seth Jones, D, Nashville Comment: With 23 points in 42 games, defenceman Krug is only three points behind Colorados Nathan MacKinnon, who leads the rookie scoring race. More than half of Krugs points have come on the power play, where hes running the point on the Bruins number one unit, but without any breakout forwards, Krug is the pick at the midpoint of the season. Hertl was the leading candidate, even if he slowed down from his tremendous start, but hes already missed more than two weeks since taking a knee-on-knee hit from the Kings Dustin Brown and hes still going to be on the shelf for the forseeable future. Jones had a strong case early in the year, then his game fell off and his ice time was reduced dramatically. Hes working his way back up lately, enough to get a runner-up nod, though not far ahead of the competition. MacKinnon is starting to pick up offensively, and injuries in Colorado are opening up more opportunities. Others of note include Rangers LW Chris Kreider, Jets D Jacob Trouba, Kings RW Tyler Toffoli, Panthers C Aleksander Barkov and Stars RW Valeri Nichushkin, who could be in the best position of all if he can stick on the wing with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on the Stars number one line. SELKE AWARD Winner: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Runners-up: Patrice Bergeron, Boston; David Backes, St. Louis Comment: Its a familiar group, with Toews and Bergeron the last two winners. They simply excel as two-way players, typically dominating possession even when they face elite competition. Backes isnt far behind, either. Hes a beast to play against, handles tough assignments like Bergeron and Backes is probably getting a little more notice this season because hes been running alongside Alexander Steen for most of the year. Steen would be a candidate too, but thats because hes always a sound two-way player, not because of his goal-scoring explosion, and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has such a strong two-way game that he has a chance to work his way into consideration, which isnt easy for a winger. JACK ADAMS AWARD Winner: Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Runners-up: Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis; Todd McLellan, San Jose Comment: Its always difficult to narrow down the best coaching jobs, but the Ducks have been so good that some credit should go to Boudreau, who is not only getting the most out of his superstars, but also the supporting cast. The St. Louis Blues play such a grind-it-out style of game that its a testament to the coaching of Ken Hitchcock that they stick with it, and they have one of the leagues best records despite what has been merely decent goaltending. Same goes for San Jose and coach Todd McLellan, who is succeeding without great numbers from his tenders and has done some line juggling to incorporate younger options. A couple of other viable candidates -- Colorados Patrick Roy and Tampa Bays Jon Cooper -- have had such strong goaltending that I have a hard time separating that from the team success. Theyre worthy, but would they be worthy if their goalies werent great? Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. 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