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Canucks triumph

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 3-1 win over Toronto.

Mason Raymond snapped his second goal of the game into an empty Toronto net with eight seconds to play in the third period to seal Vancouver’s 3-1 win.

The Canucks led 2-0 after the first period off power play goals from Ryan Kesler and Raymond, and 2-1 following 40 minutes of play with Niklas Hagman cutting the lead in half in the second frame.

The Maple Leafs, hungry for their first win of the season, poured on the pressure over the final 20 minutes outshooting the Canucks 10-4, but Roberto Luongo held his ground and the home side got some much needed puck luck.

Bingo bango bongo, did Roberto Luongo ever show up to play against Toronto.

The Vancouver captain stood on his head for 60 minutes and it started less than five minutes in when he robbed Viktor Stalberg with a sick toe save at the left side of the goal.

Luongo is now 5-5-0 on the season with a save percentage of .894 and a goals against average of 2.85. He’s certainly not content with those numbers yet, but this perennial slow-starter is definitely getting his mojo back.

It was unsung heroes on this night as both Mason Raymond and Michael Grabner were dizzying on offence leading the charge for the Canucks.

Raymond netted a pair of goals for just the second time in his young career; he last accomplished the feat in a 6-3 win over Edmonton on Oct. 25, 2008. My guess is that this will become more than an annual event with how well Raymond has been playing of late.

Grabner was originally credited with Vancouver’s opening goal before it was given to Raymond, but he still had an assist on the play. He added a second on Vancouver’s second goal for his first multi-point game in the NHL. Grabner led the Canucks with six shots on goal.

Coming into this contest the Canucks had only six first period goals in nine games played and that includes scoring three in the opening period in a 7-1 win over Montreal.

Getting off to a hot start is a must for Vancouver and with a pair of power play strikes in the first against the Maple Leafs, the Canucks were off to the races.

Coach Alain Vigneault on Roberto Luongo’s 35-save performance:

“I thought obviously this was one of Roberto’s best games if not his best game of the year. From start to finish he made key saves at the key time and he’s the one that permitted us to win tonight. They came out real strong, they played a real complete game and he played real well.”


Last season when Toronto came to town Leafs Nation showed its support in waves heavily out cheering the Vancouver faithful. While Leafs fans had their moments on Saturday, those backing the Canucks ruled out and were a lot louder. They also came up with a lot more chants and had better signs overall.

Until next season Maple Leafs fans…

No rest for the wicked as the Canucks are back at it on Sunday with Vancouver hosting Edmonton in the first of three back-to-back home contests this season.

Vancouver and Edmonton have met once this season on Oct. 19 with the Oilers narrowly holding on for a 2-1 win. These division rivals will meet six times this season.

NUMBERS

2 – Power play goals by the Canucks, both in the first period.

2 – Points each for Mason Raymond and Michael Grabner; goals for Raymond, assists for Grabner.

4 – Face-off wins for Henrik Sedin on 15 attempts. Not a great outing at the dot for Hank.

6 – Shots for Grabner, a team-high.

35 – Saves by Roberto Luongo in his best game of the season.

QUOTABLE
"The important thing is we’re generating chances. We’d like to finish them a bit more of them, but we are getting chances."

-Ryan Kesler

"Hard game in a sense that there were a lot of bouncing pucks, a lot of slapping and a lot of running around, a bit of a fire drill for both teams."

-Wllie Mitchell

"We knew they were going to be a hungry team, obviously because they hadn’t won and because they were sitting at home for a week just waiting to play us. "

-Roberto Luongo
OFFENCE

After a slow start to the game, Vancouver's offence came alive and the Canucks scored twice in the opening frame. 

Vancouver struggled to finish plays the rest of the way, but chances were generated and that's a good sign.

DEFENCE

Roberto Luongo was almost perfect and it's safe to say he's found his form after a slow start. He made 35 saves.

Vancouver's blueliners came up huge when they had to. There were numerous loose pucks that were swept away at the last second by defenders to keep the Leafs at bay. They also took a lot of shots from the point on the power play, which led to many scoring chances.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vancouver went 2-for-7 on the man advantage scoring the game-winner with less than three minutes left in the first period.

The Maple Leafs finished 1-for-3 on the power play.

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