The Goods: Shooting stars
On Thomas Gradin night at Rogers Arena, it’s only fitting Daniel and Henrik Sedin led the charge.
The Sedins, recruited by Gradin prior to the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, put on a show for the Canucks scout recording a combined five points to lead Vancouver to a 7-1 win over the Dallas Stars on a night when Gradin was placed into the team’s Ring of Honour.
Gradin, one of the first European and Swedish-born players in franchise history, paved the way for future Swedes in Vancouver and two of those Swedes paved the way to the first Canucks win in five games.
Henrik Sedin scored and had two assists and Daniel Sedin also had a pair of helpers as both extended point streaks to four games, while Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Christian Ehrhoff, Mikael Samuelsson, Mason Raymond and Dan Hamhuis rounded out the Vancouver scoring. In total 14 Canucks had at least a point in the 30th Canucks win of the season and second versus the Stars this year.
Roberto Luongo was also strong in net with 25 saves to win his seventh straight game over Dallas and extend his streak without a regulation loss to 16 starts (11-0-5).
It was that kind of night for the Canucks. Everything went their way.
“We wanted to come out and play a full 60 minutes and we did that tonight,” said Kesler, who scored the game-winner, his career-high 27th goal. “I thought our start was very good, our power play was up to the challenge, our PK was really good tonight and we had four lines and six D and they were going tonight. When you have all those guys going, you see what can happen.”
Vancouver's special teams was dynamite, led by a 3-for-7 showing on the power play and 0-for-4 domination on the penalty kill.
With the exception of a first period score by Brad Richards, the result of a costly turnover by Henrik Sedin, it was as good a game as the Canucks have played this season.
“We came out strong and a bad play by me there ended up in a tie game and our power play got us back into the game and that was huge for us,” said Henrik, adding that the Canucks didn’t deviate from the same game-plan they used over their recent 0-1-3 stretch, they simply had the benefit of some puck luck against the Stars.
“Not a big difference from the games before, we just scored a few on the power play and got a few bounces and that’s the difference.”
To round out a solid night for the Canucks and a great night for Swedes, Alex Edler had two assists in his sixth multi-point game this year and third in the last four games, and Samuelsson finished with a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game since December 20th, 2010.
Two down, four to go.
Six Canucks forwards entered Monday night’s action entrenched in goalless droughts of at least 10 games, with Mikael Samuelsson’s 14 games without a score leading the pack.
Nearly four minutes into the second period with the Canucks leading the Stars 3-1, Samuelsson flew down the left wing before letting a shot fly that beat Kari Lehtonen top shelf. As the water bottle flew to the sky, so too did Samuelsson’s arms for the first time since December 26th, 2010 in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
“It was a long time ago,” said Samuelsson, when asked if the look on his face after scoring was one of shock. “Shock, I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but it felt good to see it go in.”
Although it was Samuelsson’s first goal in 15 games, he said the slump wasn’t keeping him up at night and he won’t be reading too much into his sudden hot streak.
“I don’t know what to say, it’s another game and it’s good to score…Obviously it’s always a little frustrating to not score, but I like I said this morning, the team is still winning so it makes it so much easier.”
Mason Raymond was credited with Vancouver’s sixth goal, an Alex Edler point shot that appeared to hit Loui Eriksson’s stick and deflect past Lehtonen, to break his 11-game famine.
The goal will likely be changed and credited to Edler, but for now, in the words of Raymond: “I’ll take it for sure.”
Defenceman Chris Tanev assisted on Dan Hamhuis’ goal for the first point of his NHL career; blueliner Lee Sweatt was recalled from Manitoba Sunday, in 41 games this season with the Moose the 25-year-old has 14 points (5-9-14) alongside a plus-15 rating; it is with great sadness that the Canucks say goodbye to Peter Milakovich, who passed away recently. Peter was a valuable member of Vancouver’s event security team for eight years and will be greatly missed.