Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Canucks Bounce Back With Win In Big D

A combination of strong goaltending and execution on the power play helped the Canucks snap out of a four-game road losing streak. Tuesday night, the Canucks walked into Dallas and skated away with a well-deserved 5-2 win over the Stars at American Airlines Center.

The Stars came out flying and were determined to jump into the lead with a great start. Brendan Morrison had the first best chance of the game with the home team on the power play, but his snap shot from close quarters wound up being denied on a great stick save by Roberto Luongo. Eventually Morrison did open the scoring as he jumped on a loose puck that had rebounded off the end boards and capitalized on a back handed chance. Mark Fistric and Steven Begin collect the assists on Morrison’s 13th of the year. It was also his 500th NHL point and it came 4:44 into the action.

The Canucks were able to respond while working on a power play as Ryan Kesler’s spin-o-rama shot from between the hash marks beat Marty Turco. Mats Sundin and Pavol Demitra chip in to help Kesler net his 22nd of the year. It was also his 8th power play tally of the season and at 11:06, it established a career-high for goals in a season.

With just over three minutes to go in the period, Fistric caught Daniel Sedin with a high stick in the mouth, cutting open the Canucks leading scorer. The Canucks made the Stars d-man pay and it would be Daniel getting revenge. Sami Salo’s point shot took a deflection of Daniel’s skate and past Turco. Henrik Sedin collects the other assist on Daniel’s team-leading 27th of the campaign at 18:27.

Henrik made it a 3-1 Vancouver lead early on in the middle frame and it came on another Vancouver power play. Daniel found Kevin Bieksa at the right point and his slap pass found the stick of Henrik in the slot. The easy re-direct gave Turco no chance as Henrik scored his 16th of the season. It was also his 4th power play goal of the year and 6th game winner at 1:38.

There would be no more scoring in the 2nd period, but there would be plenty of rough stuff. Steve Ott commited a low hit at the knees of Taylor Pyatt in front of the penalty box just after he had served his second penalty of the night. Then a short time later, Darcy Hordichuk ran over Turco who had come well out of his net to play the puck on the side boards. Nobody was injured in either incident and both teams went to the locker room seeing the visitors up by a pair.

Vancouver came out buzzing in the final period and were well-deserving to get the next goal. Ossi Vaananen, making his Canucks debut on the blue line, was able to move the puck up the right wing for Demitra. His quick touch pass found Kesler on the fly. After busting around a Stars d-man, Kesler slid the puck underneath Turco. Kesler’s 23rd deflated the home crowd at 2:27.

James Neal made things a bit interesting nine minutes into the period as his nice individual effort resulted in a shot that beat Luongo through the pads. Nicklas Grossman and Matt Niskanen help Neal score his 24th goal of this rookie season.

Turco was able to get to the bench for the extra attacker in the late stages of the game. However the Canucks put the final nail in the coffin with Henrik finding the empty net from centre ice. Salo and Alex Burrows hit the score sheet as Henrik’s 2nd of the game proved to be his 17th of the year at 19:43.

Final shots on net favoured the Stars 37-22. The Canucks wrapped up the game going 3-for-7 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Now having improved their overall record to 39-24-9, the Canucks sit with 87 points. Vancouver will have the day off Wednesday to prepare for their next game on their current six-game road trip. Thursday night, the Canucks will take on the St. Louis Blues. Game time at the Scott Trade Center will be 5:00pm PST.

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