The Goods: Sedins rattle the Sabres
Lukowich scores game-winner
You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 3-2 win over Buffalo.
…Daniel Sedin sent a blind between-the-legs pass to Brad Lukowich, who put the puck top shelf on Ryan Miller early in the third period for his first goal of the season giving the Canucks a 3-2 win over the Sabres.
A slow first period, highlighted by a Ryan Kesler breakaway chance on Miller, paved the way for an exciting final 40 minutes that had Vancouver and Buffalo exchange five goals and Roberto Luongo and Miller put on a show.
The Sabres were first on the board with Adam Mair recording goal number one of the season 3:13 into the second. The Canucks responded exactly five minutes later with Mikael Samuelsson scoring his flashiest goal of the season as he deked Henrik Tallinder out of his skates before putting a smooth backhander through Miller’s legs.
Vancouver took the lead a little over three minutes later thanks to a heads-up pass from Alex Burrows that sprung Henrik Sedin alone on a breakaway. Hank faked backhand and froze Miller before switching to his forehand and burying the puck into the yawning cage.
The Canucks took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but just 1:49 in, on the power play, the Sabres evened the score when a Thomas Vanek shot squeaked past Luongo and he was unable to snag it before crossing the line.
Fans had visions of overtime and a shootout with this contest pinning Team Canada’s Luongo against Team USA’s Miller, but someone had to give up the winner and the Buffalo netminder was unable to contend with the did-they-just-do-that ability of the Sedins on the game-winner.
The Canucks win for the fifth consecutive game; they move into a tie with the Colorado Avalanche for first in the Northwest Division with 66 points.
Words can’t do Lukowich’s goal, his first since November 5, 2007 as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, justice as it was yet another example of the razzle dazzle the Sedins are bringing to the rink every night.
The rush down the ice started innocently enough with Alex Burrows hitting Henrik Sedin with a pass near the blueline in front of the Buffalo bench, things went sour for the Sabres when he dumped the puck off to a streaking Daniel just inside the paint.
Going in one-on-one with Steve Montador, Daniel faked a shot and ignored a surging Burrows and the step he had on Paul Gaustad, instead opting to send a blind between-the-legs pass to Lukowich, who had jumped up into the play.
Three Miller’s wouldn’t have been able to stop Lukowich’s shot. Clutch.
The tender duel between Luongo and Miller never fully materialized, yet both netminders held their own and gave their team a chance to win.
Luongo stopped 23 pucks, including a period-high 13 in the third, for his fifth consecutive win. In his last 10 outings, Luongo has allowed two goals or less in six contests.
The Canucks captain is now third in the NHL with 28 wins on the season, he’s 10th in goals against and 11th in save percentage.
Vancouver came into this contest as the 28th ranked team in the NHL averaging over 16 minutes a game in the sin bin and although the Canucks leave it as the 27th ranked squad, they were a completely different team on this night.
Ryan Kesler was the only Canucks player to sit for two minutes and even his penalty was iffy.
The last time the Canucks were called for only a single foul was on January 7 in a win over Phoenix, a streak of seven games with at least two power plays against.
Brad Lukowich on his goal and why he joined the rush with the Sedins:
”I just kind of remembered a goal from a week ago where they did the same thing, so I just put my stick down, screamed like crazy and he laid it right out for me and it was a nice goal. It’s been almost two years now, so it’s been a while. That’s why I looked to the heavens.
“I saw that they had some guys down and the guy kind of looked to his left and basically I had open ice in front of me and with those guys, they’re so crafty with it, I figured if they got it on net there would be a rebound and fortunately it worked out for us.“
The Canucks close out their current four game home stand on Wednesday when the St. Louis Blues, fresh off beating the Calgary Flames on Monday, visit GM Place.
Vancouver is 1-2-0 against St. Louis this season having been outscored 12-5.
1 – Goal for Brad Lukowich, his first since November 2007.
1 – Penalty against the disciplined Canucks.
2 – Points for Henrik Sedin, he leads Alex Ovechkin by six points for tops in the NHL.
9 – Wins for Vancouver versus the Eastern Conference. (9-1-0)
23 – Saves for Roberto Luongo.
32 –Wins for the Canucks this season, sixth best in the league.
-Daniel Sedin (on his sick pass)
"Probably the Memorial Cup in ’94 or something, it’s been a while."
-Brad Lukowich (on the last time he scored such a big goal)
"It was obviously a challenging game, that’s a real strong hockey team that we just played against that we don’t get to see very much."
-Alain Vigneault (on the win)
"If it was four years ago I’d probably go for the rebound there, but it was a nice move and he’s playing with a lot of confidence."
-Daniel Sedin (on Hank's goal)
A little slow out of the gates, the Canucks saved their best for the final 40 minutes and it paid off with three goals against Ryan Miller.
The Sedins continue to dizzy defenders; Henrik Sedin is now on pace for 1,000 points or something.
Vancouver was outshot by Buffalo 32-25.
Still missing regulars Kevin Bieksa, Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo, the blueliners came together again for the Canucks and limited the chances for the Sabres.
Big plus to Lukowich for the timely scoring; Christian Ehrhoff also collected a point.
The Canucks were 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Sabres went 1-for-1.