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Canucks Report - Daniel earns NHL star

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

D. Sedin
DANIEL NAMED NHL’S SECOND STAR OF THE WEEK

Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin has been named the National Hockey League’s second star for the week ending Sunday, March 29.

Sedin is joined by goaltenders, Chris Mason (first star) of the St. Louis Blues and Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes (third star) as the NHL 'Three Stars' of the week.

Sedin scored four goals and four assists, for a total of eight points, over the span of four games this week. He scored game-winners in consecutive games (March 27 at Colorado and March 29 at Chicago) to help the Canucks win three of their last four games. Daniel leads the Canucks and ranks tied for 14th in scoring with 76 points (30-46-76) this season.

SETTING THE TONE

The top line combined for nine points and a plus-nine rating last night as the Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 4-0 in Chicago.

"We approached this as our biggest game of the season," said Kevin Bieksa. "Going into it, we wanted to win it for a lot of reasons. One was, if we play them in the first round of the playoffs, we wanted to set the tone. I think we did that.

"It gives us confidence on the road. We hadn't been playing our best hockey on the road lately. But to come into a game like this and beat a good hockey team definitely boosts our confidence.”

The Sedins silenced their critics with their impressive performance, proving they can be the difference in crunch time. Daniel reached the 30-goal mark with a pair of goals, and added an assist.

Alex Burrows had a goal and two helpers, while Henrik registered three assists. The trio have 18 goals and 39 points in the last 10 games.

Down 3-0 in the third, the frustrated Blackhawks tried their hand at intimidating the opposition, taking a shot at captain and goaltender Roberto Luongo.

The Canucks responded and an all-line brawl ensued. Once the penalties were assigned, the visiting Vancouver squad made the Blackhawks pay, when Ryan Kesler found the back of the net.

Luongo for his part, although he didn’t crack the three stars, was in top form, turning away 26 shots for his seventh shutout of the season, tying his career high. The star netminder is 18-4-1 in 23 games.

"I think it was maybe our most complete game of the season," said Luongo. "It had a playoff feel, no doubt. There was a lot of intensity and these are the type of games when it's a lot of fun to be a part of it all."

Winning their 11th game in the last 15, the Canucks are even with Chicago, who have a game in hand, and within one point of Calgary and the Northwest Division lead.

“We’ve been playing good hockey for quite some time so this was an important game for both teams,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “There’s a playoff spot that you’ve got to assure yourself and then there might be home ice advantage that’s right there so again we’re going to continue to go on a game-to-game basis, and we’ve got a big one coming up here in Minnesota.”

The team rolled into Minnesota last night following their win in Chicago and held an optional skate today in preparation for Tuesday's game against the Wild.

CANUCKS FAN BALLOTING: It's nearing that time again and it's all up to you to decide. Every year, players are chosen to win team awards and are honored at the last regular season home game. Want to recognize your favourite player for an outstanding season? Like cool prizes? Then, make sure you vote!
 
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