Sitting five points back of a bitter Northwest rival with a reputation for playing dirt-dry defensive hockey, the Canucks offense exploded.
Six different players scored as in a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild that bumped
“We all know
“Tonight, finally, we got rewarded a little offensively for all our hard work, so hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”
Averaging a league-low 1.67 goals a game on home ice and coming off a 1-0 shootout loss to
Taylor Pyatt and Mattias Ohlund scored at even strength, and Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin added power-play goals in the first period as Vancouver won for just the third time in 10 games at GM Place this season.
Trevor Linden added his first goal of the season early in the second period, and Luc Bourdon scored his first NHL goal on a power play with 2:03 left as the Canucks improved to 4-0-1 since top defensemen Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa both suffered serious injuries in the same game.
“It was great, you know, to get the first one out of the way,” said Bourdon. “It’s always huge. Anywhere you play in a league, it’s always a good memory for your first goal.”
Aaron Voros and Brent Burns tallied for the Wild, who were playing their third game in four nights.
Roberto Luongo made 20 saves for
“We expected to play a smart game and knew that we couldn’t just look at
“The power play was good and again we had a good number of chances,” said Alain Vigneault, who watched his team go 3-for-12 on the power play after being shut out by the Oilers Wednesday. “But tonight we were able to put some past their goaltender and everybody knows how stingy
Scored one goal and had one assist. Led the team in total time on ice at 21:51.
Had two assists and was +1. Finished 55 percent in the face-off circle.
Finished a +1 and was the main reason Gaborik finished -1 with 0 points.
As much as the suddenly potent offense surprised a sell-out General Motors Place crowd, the defense was equally impressive as the Canucks held Marian Gaborik off the scoreboard.
The new checking line of Pyatt, Ryan Kesler, and Brad Isbister smothered the life out of the Wild’s offense and got under the skin of the opposing forwards.
Gaborik was whistled for throwing an elbow at Kesler late in the second, which led to heated third period that saw Ohlund tossed for a retaliatory slash on Mikko Koivu after eating taking an elbow to the jaw.
“In my mind there were three incidents in that game,” said Vigneault. “There were three elbows to the head - two on Ryan Kesler. You know that’s exactly what the league is supposed to look at. There was one there, and another one on Kesler behind out net - I don’t remember the player from
Pyatt was alone in the slot to open the scoring 2:46 in after a Voros turnover, and Naslund knocked in a power-play rebound at 9:16, ending a slump that had seen the Canucks go without a goal on their past 19 power-play chances at home.
Ohlund, alone in the slot on another rebound after pinching in from the point, made it 3-0 - and ended Josh Harding's night - less than three minutes later.
Beaten three times on 11 shots, Harding was replaced by Niklas Backstrom, who had been pulled after two periods in
Voros scored late in the first period after the Canucks jumped out to a quick 4-0 and all but ran a sword through a Wild team that fought hard to best the Oilers 4-2 just 24 hours earlier.
Luongo stopped Gaborik on a third-period breakaway and Koivu hit the post on another before Burns rounded out the scoring with a power-play one-timer.
Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard finished the game by attacking former teammate Willie Mitchell after getting run over by Alex Edler. He had a few choice words for the Canucks, who play in
“It’s too bad as I was saying before, a two-handed baseball swing is never good on a player. They were asking if there would be retribution on Wednesday when we play them next. I’ll just see how things play out.”
“Ohlund’s not going to do a thing, so I’m not too worried about him. Maybe I can go, you know, check Naslund or those Pinky and the Brain twins.”
Notes: Gaborik played both ends of the back-to-back games after missing three games with a groin injury, the second time this season he's been out with the recurring problem. Vancouver LW Jeff Cowan returned after missing 12 games with a hip flexor injury. RW Jannik Hansen was a healthy scratch. Canucks RW Brad Isbister set up Pyatt's goal while playing his 500th career NHL game. Wild D Keith Carney was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in