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Everybody Loves Raymond

by Sunny Dhillon / Vancouver Canucks
With players for the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars renewing their hated rivalry for the first time since last season’s seven-game playoff series, it was a new face that stole much of the spotlight.

Mason Raymond scored his second career NHL goal – first at General Motors Place – as Vancouver snuck past Dallas 3-2 Thursday night.

Raymond’s second period tally got the scoring started in a game the Canucks never trailed. He carried the puck along the boards into the Dallas zone and flew around the back of the net, emerging at the far post and letting loose a perfectly placed wrister – from the red line – that eluded Stars netminder Marty Turco.

“I just picked up the puck in the neutral zone there and tried to get a little bit of outside speed and get behind the net,” said Raymond. “I knew there was a good chance the goalie was going down in the butterfly so I just tried to get it up and fortunately it went in.”

  Raymond’s accuracy from such a terrible angle was no accident.

“It’s one of those things you practice and practice,” said the 22-year old Albertan. “You know, you just come around the net and you want to get it up because the goalie is going down.” Turco believes he should have made the save.

“He just came around and I knew he was firing it from the goal line and I didn’t really want to move,” said Turco. “I figured my right arm was going to be in the mix on that one, but those goals happen. You just keep pushing and playing and don’t let it bother you because there’s not much you can do.”

Perhaps Turco would have been well served by wearing some cardboard flaps on his arms.

Raymond’s goal was his second in five games since he was recalled from Manitoba on December 11. He’s also added two assists over that span.

In his October stint with Vancouver, Raymond managed just one assist in nine contests.

 Though no player wants to get sent down, Mason’s time with the Moose undoubtedly served him well. He tallied six goals and 14 points in 17 games and admits to now feeling more confident.

“Yeah, I mean, whenever I get out there I give it everything I’ve got,” said Raymond. “Every day’s a battle, come out, work hard, do what I can do and play my best.”

With Brendan Morrison gone for three months, Raymond will be counted on to add at least some secondary scoring. So far, he has.

Another dimension of Mo’s game that will sorely be missed is his speed. Fortunately for Vancouver, that’s something Raymond also provides.

“I think the way the NHL is changing, I guess speed kills,” said Raymond. “I want to use that advantage if I can. I feel that’s one of my better assets.”

In a recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” the female character from Vancouver bragged of meeting Mason Raymond in the Canucks dressing room.

None of her friends had any idea what she was talking about.

If Raymond keeps playing the way he is, that surely will change.  

2 – Regulation goals allowed at home by Roberto Luongo for the first time since November 16 and only the second time since November 1.

2 – Penalties for Taylor Pyatt in the final ten minutes, including one that negated a Jason Jaffray insurance marker.

14 – Shots on goal for Naslund and the Sedins combined. Alain Vigneault asked his top line to get more pucks to the net and they responded, generating nearly half of all Vancouver shots.

+15 – For the season is Alex Edler. That leads all rookies and all Canucks.

They scored three goals but it wasn’t a banner night for the offense. Naslund and the Sedins were the only forwards to register a shot in the first period. The other three lines combined for just ten shots the entire night, four of which came from Pyatt alone.

It wasn’t a banner night for the defense either, as Luongo had to come to its rescue on quite a few occasions. He went post-to-post to stymie Brendan Morrow in the second and made a key save on a Dallas 2-on-1 midway through the third.

It’s not how many you score on the powerplay, it’s when you score them and Daniel’s third period goal gave Vancouver a much needed cushion. The penalty kill was strong, especially late in the third when Pyatt took a hooking penalty.
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