Sunday, February 15, 2009

Canucks Dump Habs Sunday Night

On a night where the home team didn't take a single minor penalty through 60 minutes of play, the Canucks made it five-straight wins with Roberto Luongo in net as they cruised to 4-2 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

Vancouver had a fantastic opening period and were well-deserving to be up by a pair just past the midway point of the frame. Daniel Sedin was able to release a wrist shot from low in the right face off circle. The puck wound up deflecting off the stick of Habs defenceman Josh Gorges and past netminder Jaroslav Halak. Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows collect the assists on Daniel's 24th of the season at 10:28. It was also his 171st as a Canuck, moving him into 10th place on the all-time franchise lead for goals.

48 seconds later, the Canucks built on their lead and it came with a penalty about to be called against Montreal. Mattias Ohlund got the puck to the left point for Alexander Edler who wasted no time letting a slap shot go. His attempt along the ice found its way through traffic and into the Canadiens net. Jannik Hansen gets the other assist on the 6th of the season for Edler.

Before the period was over, the Habs got on the scoreboard as their captain Saku Koivu converted a shot from low in right face off circle. Patrice Brisebois and Tom Kostopoulos help Koivu tally his 10th of the year at 18:14.

There would be no more scoring until nearly the same point in the second period and it came on a beautiful rush up the ice. Burrows fed Daniel down the right side. He fed a great pass across the Canadiens zone for Henrik who burried home a one-timer. Henrik now has 11 goals on the season and the line capped off a combined six-point performance with what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 19:12.

Ryan Kesler finished off the scoring for the home team early on in the third period on a nice 2-on-1 finish started by Mats Sundin. Pavol Demitra gets credit for the other assist on the 16th of the year for Kesler at 5:54. That would be the last goal allowed by Halak, as Williams Lake, BC product Carey Price came on in relief duty after the Montreal starter faced 33 shots.

Andrei Kostitsyn got one more goal for the Habs before the night was out as his long range bullet was able to get past the Canucks captain. Francois Bouillon and Chris Higgins register the assists on the 20th of the year for Kostitsyn at 17:33. It wouldn't be enough the propel the Habs to a comeback though as the Canucks hung on for their 11th consectutive win against the 100 year-old franchise.

Final shots on goal did favour the Canucks 34-27. The Canucks went 0-for-2 on the power play and as mentioned off the top didn't take a single trip to the penalty box. That's now four straight periods of penalty-free hockey for Vancouver. It's just the fourth time in franchise history that a Vancouver team has not put an opponent on the man advantage.

With the victory, the Canucks jump from 9th to 5th in the Western Conference standings. Now with an overall record of 27-21-8, the Canucks get set to embark on a four-game Canada-wide road trip which begins Tuesday in Calgary against the Flames. Game time from the Pengrowth Saddledome will 6:30pm PST.

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