DENVER – In game No. 667, Henrik Sedin had a first.
The centre – an all-star last season – notched his first NHL hat trick, helping the Vancouver Canucks halt a three-game losing streak with an 8-2 rout of the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
Sedin’s three-goal spurt was part of Vancouver’s biggest offensive outburst of the season, and broke the Canucks out of a scoring funk.
“It was huge for us, especially after the last few games where we haven’t scored a whole lot of goals,” said Sedin, whose team had found the net three times in three games. “So we got some easy ones tonight. That’s what happens when you put pucks to the net.”
There were plenty of Vancouver players joining in on the scoring parade. Steve Bernier netted two goals and Mathieu Schneider, Jannik Hansen, and Tanner Glass also scored as the Canucks wrapped up a five-game road swing (2-3).
Nearly a dozen Canucks had assists, including three each by Ryan Johnson and Mason Raymond.
“It’s something to build on,” Sedin said. “It gives the guys confidence.”
As for his hat trick, better late than never.
“I’ve played almost 700 games, but of course it’s nice to get a hat trick,” Sedin shrugged.
Roberto Luongo was solid in net all night, stopping 32 shots.
Marek Svatos broke up Luongo’s shutout bid early in the third period when he knocked in a rebound for a power-play goal.
Luongo was making his third appearance since coming back from a broken rib that sidelined him for about two weeks. He wasn’t tested much until the third period when Colorado turned up the pressure.
Colorado forward Matt Hendricks scored a goal in the third to cut the lead to 4-2. But any thoughts of a comeback were quickly ended by Bernier’s goal.
Sedin, Bernier and Glass then scored in about a seven-minute window to decisively pull away.
“They made a strong push, they had a few chances,” Luongo said. “Unfortunately, they got a couple goals but we bounced right back and answered right away.”
Neither Avalanche goalie was immune from the barrage. Craig Anderson was replaced by Peter Budaj to start the third period after he allowed four goals on 22 shots.
Budaj fared even worse, allowing four more on eight shots.
“They outworked us in all aspects of the game,” forward Paul Stastny said. “We have to be ready to play and we weren’t and it showed. From top to bottom, we have to be better.”
The Avalanche unveiled a new look Saturday, donning royal blue sweaters. It was a departure from their predominantly burgundy outfits.
They needed to try something new. Since a sizzling 10-1-2 start, the Avalanche have struggled. They are 2-4-1 over their last seven games.
Sedin sparked Vancouver early as he scored two of the team’s three goals in the opening period. He poked in a puck that had trickled behind Anderson 1:57 in.
Later, Sedin lofted a shot over a sprawled-out Anderson on a goal made possible by the hustle and thievery of Raymond.
Just out of the penalty box, Raymond flew after a puck deep in the Avalanche zone. He stole it off the stick of a surprised Anderson, then hit Sedin with a pass in front. Anderson couldn’t scramble back in time as Sedin scored his 11th goal.
Hansen scored midway through the first period when Glass found him wide open in front.
“Sometimes, it’s a mental game,” Stastny said. “You can make mental mistakes when you don’t know where you’re going and boom, boom, boom, it’s one, two, three to nothing and that’s tough to come back from.”
Luongo had a great view of the offensive fireworks in the first period. From his vantage point, he saw a team generating traffic in front.
“We weren’t giving (Anderson) that room to come out and challenge the shooter,” Luongo said. “We did a great job in the first period, a lot of pucks went to the net – and then away we went. It was a good effort all the way around.”
Notes: Avalanche F Milan Hejduk returned to the lineup after missing two games because of an aching back. … Avs D Tom Preissing made his season debut, returning from a right knee injury. He played just over 13 minutes and had one blocked shot.