The Goods: Oil spill
Sunday Bloody Sunday, indeed.
The last song played prior to puck drop at Rexall Place Sunday night in Edmonton was that track, the opening song from U2's 1983 album War, and it was foreshadowing as the Vancouver Canucks took care of the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 to open a six-game road trip.
Henrik Sedin, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins and Daniel Sedin scored, and Cory Schneider stopped 26 of 28 shots, including 15 in the third period, as the Canucks, road warriors to say the least, won their NHL-best 20th road game of the season.
The Canucks were hoping to carry over some momentum from their win over the Toronto Maple Leafs into Sunday’s contest, the fifth of six between the Northwest Division rivals, and early on it was no contest.
As in 53 seconds into the game.
Henrik Sedin opened the scoring on the game’s first shift and Salo scored on the power play at the 6:34 mark to make it 2-0 Canucks.
The rout looked to be on.
Manny Malhotra put Vancouver ahead 3-0 – No, hold up, no goal – it remained 2-0 Canucks after 20 minutes, and early in the second the Oilers came to life scoring 1:08 in.
From 3-0 to 2-1: game on.
Edmonton controlled the opening half of the period before Vancouver answered the challenge with Bieksa’s favourite line, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots. Fittingly, it was one of his that found the back of the net to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead. His goal counted as the game-winner, the first of the year for the defenceman.
Higgins scored 1:39 after that and the rout was finally on.
In the third the team’s traded goals and for the fifth time in five games between these two this season, the team opening the scoring gets the win.
Scoring first has been a key component to Vancouver’s success as the Canucks are tops in the NHL with a record of 33-6-1 when being their opponent to the scoreboard.
“We’ve been having some good starts, our first shift has been very good lately and it’s no secret that it’s a lot easier when you start with the lead, especially that close into the game,” said Bieksa. “It puts the other team on their heels and it’s a strength of ours lately.”
Balanced scoring belongs in that category as well. The Canucks had 10 players register at least a point and 14 had at least one shot.
“You see the teams that are at the top of the standings, they have balanced scoring,” said Chris Higgins. “All four lines are chipping in at key times and it certainly worked for
us the last couple of games.”
It’ll have to be there the next couple of games as well with Vancouver travelling to Nashville, Detroit and New Jersey in the next five days.
In hindsight, maybe they should have saved some of the 14 goals-for from the last three games for the road ahead…nahhh.
300 POINTS FOR SLAMMIN'
It wasn’t a patented rip-roaring, rubber twisting, goalie frightening, net abusing slap shot from the point, but it counts all the same.
Sami Salo scored his second goal in as many games and eighth of the season on the power play 6:34 into first period Sunday to put the Canucks ahead 2-0; the goal was the 92nd of his career and it counted as his 300th career point.
When asked about it, Salo responded as you’d expect, “Really?” Allow me to translate: wins are all that matter.
Of Salo’s 300 points, 231 have been with Vancouver to rank him sixth in team history for defensive scoring, three points behind Ed Jovanovski for fifth all-time. Mattias Ohlund is the all-time leader with 325 points (92-232-325) in 770 games.
Alex Burrows has his Toronto Maple Leafs, while Salo prefers the Oilers. He’s lit them up for eight goals and 11 assists in 41 career games.
On Vancouver’s start to the game…
“That was the key to this game. After playing last night and coming in here, we wanted to obviously get a real strong start and we did. We went north/south real quick, we forced their Ds to turn and we really carried the play for that whole first period.”
On Malhotra’s disallowed goal…
“Distinct kicking motion? We’ll leave it at that.”
On the balanced scoring the Canucks are getting…
“If we were going to win with the twins off the scoresheet the way they were for some time, we needed contributions from everybody. We had great goaltending and we got goals from our defence and we got goals from our other lines and that’s obviously a key to winning consistently in this league.”
poking fun at the Oilers. Let's enjoy the ride now before those youngsters take over the league.
goals with his second goal against Toronto. Undrafted and unstoppable.
treats, but also popcorn, glorious popcorn, with a butter dispenser AND cheddar seasoning.
I followed him through the concourse during intermission and heard at least 50 people say his name.