VANCOUVER, B.C. – Christian Ehrhoff scored twice to spark the Vancouver Canucks’ comeback from a two-goal deficit Friday, but he says he’d just as soon prevent scoring chances as create them.
“It’s fun to contribute offensively but I don’t want to be seen as just a one-way guy,” the Vancouver blue-liner said after the Canucks defeated Colorado 5-2. “I want to be out there in tough situations when we are up by one goal in the last minute or killing penalties. I want to be that kind of guy, too, and take pride in that.”
But Ehrhoff can also feel pretty good about his first career two-goal game as he jumped into the play in key situations and didn’t get burned by Avalanche defenders going the other way.
His defence isn’t bad, either, as he’s a team-leading plus-11 in even-strength situations.
Colorado led 2-0 on four shots early in the first period on consecutive power-play goals by David Jones and Matt Duchene.
Then Ehrhoff, obtained from San Jose in an off-season trade, started a five-goal Canuck explosion.
He stepped into an Alex Edler pass and blew the puck behind Colorado netminder Craig Anderson with Steve Bernier screening on Vancouver’s first power play early in the second period.
Twenty minutes later Mason Raymond dug the puck out from behind the Colorado goal and the six-foot-two, 205-pound native of Moers, Germany snapped home his fifth goal of the season.
“There were a lot of situations for me where I was able to jump in,” said the 27-year-old Ehrhoff who had 10 goals in his best season with the Sharks.
“I felt good and I had good legs so I tried to be up there every shift and help the forwards out a little bit.”
Henrik Sedin gave Vancouver the lead, completing a three-way passing play by firing the puck over the prone Anderson for his club-leading 13th goal of the season and sixth in six games.
Then Ehrhoff showed more offensive wizardry on Bernier’s 4-2 goal that ensured Vancouver’s third straight win over the Northwest Division leaders.
He was deep in the Colorado zone when he faked a shot three times before centring the puck to the Vancouver winger.
“He’s got a great shot and he’s been playing like this since the beginning of the season,” said Bernier, who tipped the puck on net.
“He’s also got very good vision. He’s going to make those plays. You just need to be ready and try to score.”
Mikael Samuelsson completed the Canuck rally with his ninth goal of the season.
Ehrhoff narrowly missed a third goal late in the game when his shot during a long shift hit the post with a lot of net exposed.
“I’m still breathing heavy from it right now,” Ehrhoff said. “The guys tried to get me the hat trick and I came pretty close.”
Vancouver, which hadn’t played since beating Colorado 8-2 in Denver on Saturday, improved to 12-10 to close within five points of Colorado, which gave up a two-goal lead for the second time in as many games.
The Avalanche, who had a sparkling 10-1-2 start to the season, lost for the fifth time in six starts and slipped to 13-7-3.
“We’ve got to figure out what’s going on, and figure out how to play with the lead,” said Anderson, who had a cut lip and a stitch over one eye after taking a stick in the mask. “Once we figure out how to play with the lead, we’ll be all right.”
One key for the Canucks was heavy traffic in front of the Colorado net as the Avs were playing their third game in four nights.
“We made it tough on them,” Ehrhoff said. “Our forwards worked their defence all night down low. They didn’t have enough left in the tank and we put it to them.”
Coach Joe Sacco said his Colorado club had a poor third period for the second straight game.
“You can’t play in this league if you’re going to sit back and let the other team dictate how the game’s going to be played,” Sacco said.
“We still had good jump after two periods. It’s a mindset right now. It’s just getting the guys to believe that, when you have a one-goal lead, you can’t back down.”