Curtis McElhinney’s misfortune was just the opening the Vancouver Canucks needed.
In the midst of a stellar performance, McElhinney was knocked out when he was struck in the head by Christian Ehrhoff’s shot in the third period. Adding insult to injury, Daniel Sedin scored when the puck bounced right to him off McElhinney’s mask, Ryan Kesler scored on Jonas Hiller in the final minute to tie the game at 4, and Jeff Tambellini potted the game-winner in the shootout.
The surprising turn of events left the Ducks with a tough shootout loss in a game they led 4-2 with eight minutes left in the third period. It also left them without their backup goaltender, at least temporarily, heading into Friday’s game in Anaheim against the Calgary Flames.
McElhinney stopped 24 of 27 and was in line for his third win of the season after goals by Corey Perry, Joffrey Lupul, Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler.
Kesler’s third-effort goal, with Vancouver skating 6-on-5 with 22 seconds left in the third period, was the only goal Hiller allowed on 13 shots in 12:18 of relief. Tambellini scored the only goal for either side in the shootout.
Lupul’s goal was his first of the season in his third game back. It came one year to the day after his last NHL goal on Dec. 8, 2009, in what proved to be Lupul’s last game of the season.
Todd Marchant had a pair of assists, and Selanne, Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky and Paul Mara had one helper each.