EDMONTON – Collecting points in 13 straight games is something that seems to have taken even the Vancouver Canucks by surprise.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin both had a goal and an assist as Vancouver continues to be one of the hottest teams in the NHL, coming away with a dominating 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Higgins also scored for the Canucks (38-15-6), who won their fourth in a row and made it 13 consecutive games with at least one point, going 10-0-3 in that span.
“It doesn’t even seem like the run has gone on that long because we weren’t playing our best in the first half of that streak. We were just finding a way to scratch out points,” said Canucks goalie Cory Schneider, who stopped 26 shots for the win.
“We’ve really been playing good hockey for the last six or seven games though. I feel like we are hitting our stride right now and have a little more energy than we did. Hopefully we can keep this going.”
Vancouver is just two points back of Detroit for first place overall as they started a six-game road trip that will see them play the Red Wings on Thursday.
“This was a good start to our trip,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “From the first face-off, we started well in the game and we were never really in any trouble. This is a long and tough road trip for us and it was nice to start it off with a win like this one.”
Shawn Horcoff and Magnus Paajarvi responded for the Oilers (22-30-6), who have lost three in a row and five of their last six to sit second last in the league.
Edmonton trailed 2-0 early and never recovered in the contest.
“We have to be really disappointed with the start tonight,” said Edmonton associate coach Ralph Krueger. “Digging out of a hole against a team as strong as Vancouver is a difficult task. The game was almost out of reach right off the bat.”
The Canucks came flying out of the gate and were rewarded just 53 seconds into the game. Daniel Sedin sent the puck cross-ice to Henrik Sedin, who had all the time in the world to put it into the net with Edmonton starter Nikolai Khabibulin unable to get across in time.
Less than five minutes later Vancouver took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play. Salo slammed home a one-timer from all alone in front of the net for his 300th career NHL point.
“You can’t play catch-up hockey in today’s game,” said Oilers veteran Ryan Smyth. “You have to play with pride, play for your jersey and for your job. That team went to the Stanley Cup final last year. It was an opportunity to show everyone that you are a good team.”
Edmonton caught a badly-needed break with 46 seconds left in the first as a rebound shot caromed off of Manny Malhotra’s skate and through Khabibulin’s legs. But the goal was called back after it was determined Malhotra had directed the puck in, keeping it a 2-0 game after 20 minutes.
The Oilers had only five first-period shots on Schneider against 17 by Vancouver.
Devan Dubnyk came in to start the second period in the Edmonton net with the Oilers reporting Khabibulin had suffered a groin injury.
It was Edmonton’s turn to score an early goal to start the second period. Smyth saw Horcoff streaking in and hit him with a pass from the side of the net. Horcoff scored his 11th of the season just 1:08 into the second to make it a 2-1 game.
Vancouver restored its two-goal cushion with five minutes to play in the second when Bieksa kept a puck in at the point and then scored on a long shot through traffic.
Two minutes later it was 4-1 for the Canucks when Higgins took a feed in the slot from Jannik Hansen and beat Dubnyk with a quick shot to the glove side.
Edmonton responded with 1:37 left to go in the second after Hemsky sent a pass cross-ice to Paajarvi, who scored just his second of the season on a quick snap shot.
The third period also saw an early goal when Horcoff lost the puck to Alexandre Burrows in the Oilers’ zone. Burrows dished it to Daniel Sedin, who scored his 26th goal of the season.
Both teams return to the ice Tuesday as the Canucks play the second game of a six-game trip in Nashville while the Oilers visit Calgary.
Notes: It was the fifth of six meetings between the two teams with Vancouver taking three of the first four. The Northwest Division rivals don’t wrap their season series until the final day of the regular season on April 7.…For the second game in a row Krueger took Tom Renney’s place behind the bench for the Oilers. Renney, the Edmonton head coach, continues to have troubles with a concussion following taking a puck to the head in practice earlier this month.…Edmonton was without defenceman Corey Potter, who has now missed the last three games with a groin injury and rookie standout Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who has yet to practice with contact since suffering a shoulder injury that has kept him out the last five games.…Vancouver’s Bieksa played through a sore foot for the second game in a row while Dale Weise returned from a one-game absence with both a facial laceration and bruised right foot. Keith Ballard (neck/headaches), Andrew Ebbett (collarbone) and Aaron Volpatti (shoulder) are all on the injured reserve for the Canucks.