|Craig Rivet assisted on both Canadiens goals, bringing his season total to 17, tying a career high set back in 2001-02. |
VANCOUVER - The Canadiens will have to wait a little while longer before snapping their Vancouver dry spell. The Canucks exploded with six first period goals and never looked back in a 6-2 victory over the Canadiens Saturday night at GM Place in Vancouver.
The Canadiens (21-18-6), whose last win in Vancouver dates back to Nov. 30, 2000, dropped their sixth straight game on the road. The Canucks (28-15-5) won their fourth consecutive game to remain deadlocked with Calgary atop the Northwest Division.
Vancouver's six-goal opening period outburst came courtesy of six different scorers as Brendan Morrsion opened the scoring only :57 into the game for the West Conference's top team on home-ice this season. Also scoring for the Canucks were Alexandre Burrows, Mattias Ohlund, Markus Naslund and Henrik Sedin who all solved Jose Theodore in the opening 13:17 of play as Alex Auld had only faced one Montreal shot to that point. Former Canadien Trevor Linden scored Vancouver's final goal of the night when he beat Cristobal Huet at the 13:47 mark of the first.
Michael Ryder gave the numerous Canadiens fans in attendance at GM Place something to cheer about with his sixth two-point night of the season. With a goal and an assist, including his 20th goal of the season, Ryder became only the 11th player in franchise history to notch 20-plus goals in his first two NHL seasons, placing him on a select list that includes the likes of Maurice Richard, Guy Lafleur, Mats Naslund and Stephane Richer. The last player to so do was Gilbert Dionne, who scored 21 goals in 1991-92 as a rookie and potted 20 the following season. Ryder, who was the Calder Trophy runner-up in 2003-04, is also now well on his way to surpassing the 25 goals he scored as rookie two years ago.
Saku Koivu scored the final goal of the night with a little over a minute remaining in regulation on a play set up by Ryder and Craig Rivet, who had a pair of assists on the night. Koivu's 12th of season was also his first career goal against the Canucks in 16 career games as his list of teams he has yet to score against is now down to only two-Minnesota and Columbus.
The Canadiens have now wrapped up their matchups against Western Conference opposition for 2005-06 with a four wins and five losses and one overtime loss.
The Canadiens' season-high six-game road trip will continue Monday night in Carolina as Bob Gainey's squad takes on the Hurricanes in the third game of their current road swing.
NOTES: After suffering a groin injury during the morning skate, Chris Higgins was scratched against the Canucks. Andrei Kostitsyn took his place in the lineup... D Andrei Markov missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury... The Canucks posted a final record of 9-1-0 against Eastern Conference opponents in 2005-06, including a perfect 5-0 against the Northeast Division...Montreal was 0-for-5 on the power-play while Vancouver went 2-for-7...Canadiens legend Henri Richard received a standing ovation when he was introduced during a TV timeout ... C Mike Ribeiro saw his three-game point streak snapped but led the Canadiens with three hits on the night...
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com