On Sunday, the Vancouver Canucks added another chapter to a narrative that's shaping up as a sequel to its successful 2010-11 campaign.
Unfortunately for Edmonton, the struggling Oilers are also painting an all-too familiar picture.
Henrik Sedin started the scoring, his brother Daniel finished it and five Canucks scored in all as Vancouver kicked off a six-game road trip with a 5-2 win against the Oilers at Rexall Place.
The Canucks improved to 10-0-3 over its past 13 games, and are rounding into a Stanley Cup contender for the second year in a row.
"This was a good start to our trip," Henrik Sedin said. "From the first faceoff, 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."
"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," Schneider said. "We were just finding a way to scratch out points. 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."
After combining for just 12 points over the previous 12 games, Daniel and Henrik scored four points each on Saturday against Toronto. Another four points between them Sunday cemented their resurgence.
"I don't think we ever felt bad, for us it was more of a mental thing," Henrik said. "It's a lot of games, it's during the grinding part of the season. For us, we're back to feeling good and we're having a lot of fun out there."
While Vancouver is again chasing Cup glory, Edmonton appears to be headed back into the draft lottery.
Shawn Horcoff and Magnus Paajarvi scored for the Oilers (22-30-6), who have now lost five of six and finished 0-3-0 on a three-game homestand. Devan Dubnyk allowed three goals on 14 shots in relief of Nikolai Khabibulin, who allowed two on 17 in the first period before leaving with a sore groin.
"We have to be really disappointed with the start tonight," Edmonton associate coach Ralph Krueger said. "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."
Henrik Sedin gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead after just 53 seconds when his brother provided a cross-ice pass for him to bury on Khabibulin’s back post. The Canucks' captain turned provider on the second during a 5-on-3, centering a puck from behind the net to Salo, who was waiting in the low slot to smash it home at 6:34 for his eighth of the year. It was the only man-advantage goal for Vancouver's League-best power play.
"I think that was the key to this game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of his team's quick start. "After playing (Saturday night) and coming in here we wanted to get off to a really strong start and we did. We went north-south really quick, we forced their Ds to turn and really carried the play for that whole first period."
Horcoff halved the lead 1:08 into the second period. Tom Gilbert did well to keep the puck in the Canucks' zone, then fired a puck towards net. Ryan Smyth intercepted it and pushed it to the low slot for Horcoff to snipe home for his 11th of the season.
Bieksa and Higgins gave the Canucks some breathing room late in the period. Bieksa's blast from above the right circle evaded a maze of bodies and Dubnyk at 15:01, and Higgins finished off a flowing move with a well-placed shot that went past Dubnyk's left shoulder 99 seconds later.
Edmonton would get a second before the period expired when Paajarvi finished off a 3-on-2 breakaway move at 18:23. It was just Paajarvi's second goal of the season, but both of those have come in the past four games.
Thirty-three seconds into the final period, Daniel Sedin put an exclamation mark on proceedings when Burrows found him in the right circle with a drop pass and the Canucks' leading goal-scorer made no mistake with his low blast. Daniel has 26 goals this season.
"You can't play catch-up hockey in today's game," Smyth said. "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."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
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