VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) — The Montreal Canadiens
struggles persisted when Jaroslav Halak was seeing double.
Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin each scored a goal and set up
another as the Vancouver Canucks posted a 4-2 victory over the
reeling Canadiens on Sunday.
Ryan Kesler and defenseman Alex Edler each tallied and Alexandre
Burrows notched two assists for Vancouver, which has won five of
six following a season-high eight-game losing streak.
“I thought we were real solid tonight at both ends of the rink,”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “We didn’t give up a lot of
chances except maybe in the last seven or eight minutes, where
obviously they picked it up.
“But in the first almost 15 minutes there, they only had the
handful of chances and we really dominated that game in all
areas. It was a good team win.”
All-Star Roberto Luongo made 25 saves in his 10th start in 11
contests since returning from a groin injury that kept him out
for nearly seven weeks.
“It feels real good,” Luongo said. “We played a solid 60
minutes. That’s the type of hockey we want to be playing. We
got two goals right away in the first, set a good tempo for the
rest of the match.”
Captain Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn netted goals for the
Canadiens, who have dropped five of their last six contests.
“It’s obviously a lot different to play when you have the lead
than when you’re chasing from behind, especially when our
confidence is not where it could be and obviously where it
should be,” Koivu said. “Like tonight, Vancouver played a
really smart game. They didn’t give us any odd-man rushes.
“They played a patient, defensive-minded game. We made a few
mistakes, gave a couple of too many 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 (rushes)
and that was the difference tonight.”
Montreal ended a seven-game losing streak on the road and got
its first win on the current six-game road trip with Saturday’s
4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. However, Halak and the
Canadiens fizzled in this one and sparked frustrations once
“We were trying everything,” Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said.
“We’re trying to find solutions. Obviously there’s nowhere to
hide if your best players are not your best players most of the
nights. We need not just them but we need everybody to push
“We just can’t find that spark that gets us going. Every time
we make a mistake, whether it’s a big mistake or small mistake,
the puck ends up in our net.”
Starting for the second straight game in place of All-Star Carey
Price, Halak was exposed early in the first, when Daniel Sedin
and Edler tallied in a 48-second span midway through the
But Koivu fired a wrist shot from below the right faceoff circle
to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 1:46 remaining in the session.
“It’s definitely not easy when you get behind,” Canadiens
All-Star Alexei Kovalev said. “In the past it seems to be we’re
actually better when we fall behind, but right now we have such
a hard time getting back into the game when we’re one or two
goals down. Again, nothing we can do. We just have to keep
playing and keep working on our game.”
Henrik Sedin registered his 11th goal of the season with 49
seconds left in the second, wristing the puck past Halak from
the low slot.
“The way we’re playing right now, as fragile as we are, it was a
bad timing for a goal,” Carbonneau said.
The Canucks ballooned their advantage to 4-1 at 5:54 of the
third, when Kesler took a pass from Mats Sundin and unleashed a
wrister into the vacant net from the slot.
“That’s what we will need down the stretch,” Burrows said. “One
of the biggest reasons why is we’re skating, we’re moving our
feet, we’re not reacting off what they’re doing. We’re getting
in there first and if we do that we’ll get the power plays and
that’s what we need.”
Kostitsyn beat Luongo to notch his 100th career point with 2:27
Halak finished with 29 saves but was relieved after playing 50
minutes, 51 seconds for Price, who turned aside one shot.
“I’m really disappointed,” Carbonneau said. “We talked about a
lot before the trip that we needed to get away from
distractions. We’ve been on the road for a week now without
distractions and we’re not playing better.”