LUONGO OUTSTANDING IN WIN
The atmosphere was electric and the energy level high at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas last night as the Canucks, lead by captain Roberto Luongo
, battled to a 5-2 win over the Stars.
Luongo kept his team in the game as they got off to a slow start and remained solid throughout the game, turning away 35 shots. The win didn’t come without sacrifices, but the Vancouver squad matched the Star’s intensity.
"It definitely felt like a playoff game," said Luongo. "Lots of intensity in a gritty game that was getting chippy and we found a way to get goals."
The game had it all, hits, fights, goals, and highlight reel saves.
"That was the type of game we needed to get over that loss in Phoenix," said Kevin Bieksa
. "A hard, physical and emotional game. Guys [were] getting sticks in the face and skates in the head and there's blood everywhere. It was one of those old-time hockey games. Not a lot of fighting, but everybody was finishing their hits."
"They really woke us up with how physical they were and we pushed back," said Ryan Kesler
. “It was one of those games where we really needed everybody and everybody showed up.”
Capitalizing on undisciplined play by the Stars, the Canucks’ power play went on a tear, scoring their first three goals. The players paid a physical price, but battled to take advantage of Dallas' penalties.
After taking a high stick to the mouth, Daniel Sedin
lost some blood and a tooth, but the winger didn’t miss a shift and deflected Sami Salo
’s point shot on the ensuing power play to put the Canucks ahead 2-1.
"It's not easy to get a stick in the mouth and then come right back out and score a goal by going to the front of the net, sacrificing yourself," said Luongo. "He's the toughest Swede in the league."Ryan Kesler
also got bloody, after being cut on the side of his head by a skate. After the medical staff stitched up the gash, Kesler returned to score his second goal of the game.
"I got lucky," said Kesler. "It could have been way worse. Obviously, I was pretty worried walking into the locker room but they were able to fix it up so I could go back out."
With the win the Canucks improved to 87 points, tying them with Chicago, who have a game in hand, and bringing them within three points of third placed Calgary.
"The intensity on the ice was at a really high pace and you've got to be able to manage that and control that," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "And I thought we managed it and controlled it better than them. Their indiscipline tonight, in my mind, cost them the game. We were able to make them pay."
The Canucks head to St. Louis next for a game Thursday night, before a match up in Colorado on Friday.HODGSON CONTINUES TO SHINE
Cody Hodgson, the Canucks' first round draft pick, 10th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, continues to impress in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Brampton Battalion captain finished first in a league-leading four categories in the OHL's 2008-09 Coaches Poll
. The league's coaches voted for players in their conference and were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.
Hodgson was recognized as the leader in four Eastern Conference categories including smartest player, for the second straight year, hardest worker, best on face-offs, and best penalty killer.
The 18 year old centre finished the regular season with 92 points (43-49-92) in 53 games, and is dominating in the playoffs, registering 10 points (3-7-10) in Brampton's first three games.