VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks turned to their top line to break out of a two-game funk.
Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows combined for five points—including the winning goal from Daniel—and at times made the Los Angeles defence look silly as the Canucks defeated the red-hot Kings 5-2 in NHL action on Saturday.
On multiple occasions the Sedins and Burrows had not only the Rogers Arena crowd riled up with their prolonged shifts in the Los Angeles zone, but their teammates as well.
“You feed off it, right? It’s huge,” said teammate Mason Raymond, who had plus-3 rating on the night. “It’s fun to watch, I think the crowd gets into it, you can hear the ‘wows’ in the crowd and as a team and a player you feed off it. Those are the momentum swings we like to use.”
Daniel Sedin converted a pretty feed from brother Henrik on a two-on-one late in the second period, and Jannik Hansen scored 2:44 later to give Vancouver (11-5-4) full control.
Dan Hamhuis, Mason Raymond and Chris Higgins, into an empty net, also tallied.
Justin Williams and Jordan Nolan replied for Los Angeles (10-7-2), which saw its five-game win streak come to an end.
“Our second period was a bit sloppy and with the team they have over there, they can capitalize on their chances,” said Kings centre Anze Kopitar. “We gave them way too many odd-man rushes and that resulted in a couple of goals which ended up costing us the game.”
Following disappointing 8-3 and 4-2 losses to Detroit and Phoenix, and without the services of centre Ryan Kesler (fractured foot), the Canucks were in need of a strong outing to maintain their place atop the Northwest Division.
Vancouver rolled up its sleeves and played a gritty, tight-checking game.
Defenceman Andrew Alberts drew into the line-up in favour of Keith Ballard (healthy scratch) to provide a physical presence in front of Vancouver’s goal, and newcomer Tom Sestito—picked up off waivers from Philadelphia on Friday—adhered himself to Canucks faithful by hammering Colin Fraser with a clean check, and then getting the better of Nolan in an ensuing first-period fight. The six-foot-five Sestito drew an extended applause from the crowd.
“That’s what I’m here for,” said Sestito. “Get the crowd into it, get the guys into it and make sure the other guys know what is going to happen if they hit somebody.”
The largest cheers, however, were reserved for Vancouver’s top unit.
Henrik Sedin embarrassed defenceman Jake Muzzin on one play, eluding him twice, and later in the game he slipped the puck between Kopitar’s legs to create another scoring chance.
The top unit combined for the Canucks’ first goal, with Henrik Sedin and Burrows setting up Hamhuis for a tap-in, and then Burrows and Henrik Sedin set up Daniel Sedin for the winner.
“That was our best game in a long time,” said Henrik Sedin. “It felt good. We got the puck down low. We were matched up against Kopitar, which is an offensive line also, so it makes it a little bit easier to generate chances.”
Hansen gave the Canucks a two-goal cushion just under three minutes later, scooping up a loose puck in the slot and ripping a wrist shot past Quick’s glove to snap an eight-game goalless drought.
At the time, the Canucks had four goals on 16 shots as Quick had an uncharacteristic off night. It is just the third time this season the Kings have allowed more than three goals.
Cory Schneider, making his second straight start, rebounded from a puck-handling mishap on Nolan’s goal to make some strong third-period stops. He made 28 saves overall.
After Raymond gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead midway through the second period with a pretty wrist shot past Quick, Schneider gift-wrapped the 2-2 goal for L.A.
The Canucks goale miscommunicated with Alberts behind the net, and Nolan took advantage for his second goal of the season.
“He (Alberts) hollered for it,” said Schneider. “I don’t think he ever saw the second guy coming down. It was just a misread on our part. Those things happen, and you try to eliminate them. But we responded really well, and that’s the important part.”
With the Kings pressing late, Schneider made big pad saves off Dustin Penner and Slava Voynov.
“I thought overall we played much better in front of our net and helped out Schneids,” said Burrows.
The Canucks led 1-0 after the first period on Hamhuis’ first goal since opening night.
Williams tied the game on a power play early in the second period, ripping a one-time slap shot past Schneider for his second of the season.
Kopitar drew an assist to extend his point streak (2-7-9) to five games.
NOTES: Canucks forward David Booth scored his first point in five games this season, assisting on Raymond’s goal. Booth missed the start of the campaign with a groin injury… Kings forward Jeff Carter failed to extend his five-game goal-scoring streak, and Mike Richards had his four-game point streak snapped.