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Canucks wrangle Rangers

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 4-1 win over New York.

…Michael Samuelsson scored his second goal of the game, this time on the power play, with 5:47 remaining in the final frame to give the Canucks a commanding 3-1 lead over the Rangers.

Samuelsson opened the scoring in the first period by converting a fat rebound off a Ryan Kesler shot and the Canucks carried that lead into the third period. It stood as the game-winner until the Rangers were awarded a power play following a bizarre melee in front of the New York bench involving roughly 15 players. Five misconducts were handed out as well as one minor penalty; on the man advantage the Rangers pulled even at 1-1.

Two-minutes and 24 seconds after Chris Higgins put the Rangers on the board, Rick Rypien snapped a nice goal up and over Henrik Lundqvist; this game-winner was so pretty that Samuelsson told Rypien afterwards he thought only six players in the league were skilled enough to score it.

Leading 3-1 late in the third, Henrik Sedin scored an empty netter to secure Vancouver’s seventh win in its past eight home games.

Ryan Kesler was both a playmaker and a troublemaker on this night as the feisty forward picked up three assists and was also in the middle of the line brawl that played out early in the third period.

Kesler’s best helper was a heads up cross-ice pass he sent to Rick Rypien, who had floated in from the point during a line change. A quick shot later and the Canucks led 2-1.

Kesler was second to only Mason Raymond in ice time at 20:27 and he did a lot of damage during that time as in addition to his three assists, Kesler was a plus-1 alongside one minor penalty, two shots, one hit, one blocked shot and a 14-for-23 performance at the dot.

Calm, poised and confident, the real Andrew Raycroft appears to have stood up.

Following an up and down play over his last two starts, Raycroft was dominant once against holding the Rangers to one goal on 23 shots. He saw the puck well, played his angles right and didn’t give out many rebounds.

Raycroft has now won three of four starts and is sporting a godly 1.52 goals against average and an equally stunning .937 save percentage – and those numbers include him giving up four goals on 22 shots in Anaheim last week.

Kevin Bieksa led all Canucks in shots on goal against New York with four, but not as a defenceman, as a forward.

Strutting his stuff up front for the first time since he was 15-years-old, Bieksa showed flashes of sniper in his debut as a forward. Despite not collecting any points, Bieksa received great praise from his teammates, who were not only impressed with his offensive skills, but also that he still dished out three hits, proving that he didn’t overlook getting to the body.

Ryan Kesler and Andrew Raycroft on their different vantage points of the crazy scrum that had both teams at each other’s throat in the third period:

“All I saw was right crosses and uppercuts. I have no idea what happened, I got jumped and somehow we were on the penalty kill.” - Kesler

“Honest to God I missed how all of it started, I just saw 30 guys on the ice and it looked like the 1970s out there at one point. I don’t know what happened, I didn’t talk to any of the guys out there, not that they’d be telling exactly the right stories anyways.” - Raycroft

A pair of impressive home wins and Vancouver skedaddles out of town to try its hand on the road once again.

Playing away from GM Place hasn’t been a nightmare for the Canucks this season as the team sports a 2-5-0 record as the visiting team, but things could certainly be going better.

Vancouver is in Minnesota Thursday before visiting Dallas on Friday to close out the week.

NUMBERS

2 – Goals for Mikael Samuelsson, he has a team-high eight on the season.

3 – Assists for Ryan Kesler, he's now at 11.

3 – Wins for the Canucks this season versus the Eastern Conference (3-0-0).

22 – Saves by Andrew Raycroft in this third win of the year.

82 – Man-games lost for Vancouver through 16 games.

QUOTABLE
"He crosschecked me so I gave him a little shot and next thing you know I’ve got six guys on top of me. "


-
Ryan Kesler

"It’s a battle each night right now but it is what it is right now and it’s a strong group and we have to play our best to win every game and that’s what we do."

-Mikael Samuelsson

"Forwards a lot easiser to play than defence, we all know that. I kept it pretty simple out there, Tanner set me up with a few nice passes for good chances and it was fun."

-Kevin Bieksa
OFFENCE

Something is clicking for the Canucks on offence right now as unlike a week ago when scoring that soul-crushing third goal proved too tough a task, Vancouver has padded its lead in two straight games.

The Canucks outshot the Rangers 30-23, led by unlikely forward Kevin Bieksa, who made his debut up front leaving the blueline for the first time since he was 15-years-old.

DEFENCE

The Canucks talked about taking away time and space from the Rangers prior to the game and they accomplished just that. 

New York didn't have many scoring chances thanks to sound defensive positioning and communication by Vancouver, and even when the Rangers had a chance to score, Andrew Raycroft shut the door. He had 22 saves.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vancouver was effective both on the man advantage and on the penalty kill. Mikael Samuelsson scored his second goal of the game on the power play to help the Canucks finish 1-for-6, while New York was stumped at 0-for-6.

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