Friday, February 20, 2009

Sedins & Burrows Put On Clinic In Ottawa

Instead of playing the roll of "Comeback Kids", the Vancouver Canucks got off to a blistering start Thursday night and were full value for a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. The line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alex Burrows led the offense for the Canucks, as they combined for nine points and were a collective +7.

Burrows opened the scoring early in the first period. Henrik wound up blocking a clearing attempt by Ottawa d-man Filip Kuba on the right boards. He quickly fed the puck to Burrows in the slot, who wound up whistling a wrist shot past goaltender Brian Elliott. For Burrows, it was his 14th goal of the year and it put the visitors up by one at 3:14.

The Canucks made it a 2-0 contest just past the midway point of the period on a beautiful passing play between the twins. Burrows was able to pick off an errant pass by the Sens inside the blue line and quickly found Daniel between the circles. Instead of shooting, he fed an unreal pass to Henrik who was left all alone beside the net. No troubles for Henrik who cashed in with his 12th of the season at 10:49.

Kevin Bieksa put the Canucks in the driver's seat when skating on a power play. After Henrik and Kyle Wellwood worked the puck back to the point, Bieksa's shot wound up deflecting off the stick of Jason Smith and behind Elliott. Bieksa now has 10 goals, four of which have come on the power play, and this one gave the Canucks a three-goal lead 15:23.

Henrik capped off a four-point performance by helping set up Vancouver's lone goal in the middle frame. After blocking another clearing attempt from the Ottawa defence, he saw the puck deflect down to Burrows. Just as we made his way across the slot, Burrows dished a back-handed drop pass to Daniel into the slot. He made no mistake driving it home to the back of the Sens net. Daniel's team-leading 25th came at 8:35.

The shut-out bid of Roberto Luongo wound up being broken a few minutes later while Ottawa worked on a power play. Dany Heatley got free in the right face off circle and snapped home a bullet to the top corner. Antoine Vermette and Ryan Shannon collect the helpers on Heatley's team-leading 27th at 12:37.

Before the period was over, the Sens got to within a pair on a lucky break in the Vancouver crease. Mike Fisher dropped a pass inside the Vancouver line for Chris Phillips. Fisher then knocked down Mattias Ohlund, who wound up knocking Luongo into the net. Phillips let a shot go that Fisher deflected in. Vermette tallies the other assist on Fisher's 8th at 16:18.

Luongo did his part in the third period to keep his team in the lead. His best save on the nine shots he faced came off of Heatley on a breakaway. Heatley's move to the back-handed looked surely to have the Canucks captain beat. But a quick kick of the left leg allowed the netminder to make the save and help preserve his seventh straight win.

Pavol Demitra iced the Canucks third straight win with an empty net tally. Mats Sundin hits the score sheet for Demitra's 16th of the campaign and it came with just 12 seconds left on the clock.

The Canucks wound up being out-shot 27-24. Vancouver finished the night going 1-for-2 with the power play while the Sens went 1-for-5.

Vancouver did a solid job of shutting down Ottawa's top line of Heatley, Jason Spezza, and Chris Kelly. Combined, the trio was held to just one point and was a collective -8.

Now having won seven of their last eight, the Canucks overall record improves to 29-21-8. Next up will be the long-awaited match-up between the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The circus for Sundin's return at the Air Canada Centre should be an interesting one to say the least. Game time Saturday afternoon will be 4:00pm PST.

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