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Canucks topple Wild

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 5-2 win over Minnesota.

…Matt Pettinger put the puck in from a brutal angle to restore a two-goal Canucks lead with 5:08 remaining in the second period.

The goal, Pettinger’s first of the season, was the second goal produced by the fourth-line on this night as the trio of Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Johnson and Pettinger combined for two goals and three points.

Hordichuk opened the scoring with his first of the campaign, Mason Raymond then gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead with a power play goal early in the second. Minnesota made it a 2-1 game before Henrik Sedin wired a shot past Niklas Backstrom while shorthanded. The Wild were once again quick to respond making it a 3-2 game, but after Pettinger found the back of the net, Minnesota rolled over.

Alex Burrows, who hadn’t scored in 11 games, bumped his scoring slump with an empty-net goal to give Vancouver a 5-2 win, its 10th victory of the season and seventh in nine games.

The fourth-line earns top billing on this night after producing a pair of goals, three points and countless other intangible stats that made this win possible for the Canucks.

In addition to producing 40 per cent of Vancouver’s scoring, Matt Pettinger, Darcy Hordichuk and Ryan Johnson, playing for the first time since returning from suffering a concussion four games ago against Detroit, combined for a plus-6 rating, three shots, six hits, six blocked shots and seven faceoff wins.

When Andrew Raycroft signed with the Canucks this off-season, he wasn’t expecting to play much, if at all. Back-to-back starts? No chance. An injury to Roberto Luongo later and Raycroft has been more than a rag wrapped around a leaky pipe, he’s fused himself into a reliable goaltender.

Raycroft, or Everyday as the kids are calling him, made 28 saves in his fourth win in five starts, that includes stopping 15 pucks in the third period alone. His best save came seven minutes into the final frame when he kicked his right pad out to make a kick save on a Mikko Koivu one-timer in front.

Four stats jumped off the page from this game as both Darcy Hordichuk and Matt Pettinger scored, Ryan Johnson had five blocked shots in his first game back from a concussion and Sami Salo led the Canucks in hits with four.

The fact that all those stats came together on the same night is like the perfect storm. Throw in the multi-point game for Alex Burrows, his first of the season, and it’s clear things just came together for the Canucks against the Wild.

Darcy Hordichuk on his first goal of the season, a blistering slap shot from the left hash marks, and Matt Pettinger on the play of the fourth line:

“It’s nice to actually get a shot on net. It’s one of those things where you try to get in on the forecheck and we did a good job turning the puck over there and I just tried to shoot far corner and it ended up going in so it was nice.” – Hordichuk

”We felt good. I played with Hordi there last game and Johnson is such a smart player, good on faceoffs and defensively sound, that we got the puck moving a bit on the cycle and found some opportunities.” – Pettinger

The Canucks packed up and headed off to Dallas following this game and they’ll have little time to rest up before facing the Stars tomorrow night in the first of two back-to-back contests this season.

Vancouver upended Dallas in the only meeting between the two teams so far this season with Ryan Kesler and Kyle Wellwood scoring in the shootout to give the Canucks a 4-3 win.

NUMBERS

2 – Canucks who scored their first goals of the season: Matt Pettinger and Darcy Hordichuk.

2 – Points for Alex Burrows, is first multi-point game of the season.

4 – Hits, yes hits, for Sami Salo, who led all Canucks in the category.

28 – Saves by Andrew Raycroft in this fourth win in five starts.

143 – Wins as coach of the Canucks for Alain Vigneault; he moved past Harry Neale's 142 with this victory.

OFFENCE

The Canucks scored even strength, on the power play, shorthanded and into an empty net, all that was missing from a perfect game was a penalty shot tally.

Vancouver had 22 shots overall and 11 of those came in the second frame when the Canucks scored three times to seal this game.

Can't say enough about the play of the fourth line in this win.

DEFENCE

Vancouver's defence bent, but it didn't break as the unit twice gave up quick goals to give Minnesota life, yet in the end the Canucks held on for the win.

Andrew Raycroft was stellar between the pipes making 28 saves, including 15 in the third period alone.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Canucks were 1-for-4 on the power play with Raymond scoring on the man advantage, they also held the Wild off the scoresheet on the power play at 0-for-5. Vancouver also netted a shorthanded goal to round out an impressive special teams effort.

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